Oklahoma Baptists are poised to be a part of a historic day in the life of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) as churches all across North America “fill the tank” on Easter Sunday, April 12. SBC President J.D. Greear has challenged all of our churches to strive toward having at least one baptism on Easter Sunday.
Greear isn’t the first to sound a call to churches to baptize. Jesus calls His church to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism is important to Jesus and should be to all of His followers. We know it is to Oklahoma Baptists, as we have set a goal as a convention of churches to have each church baptize 20 percent more over the next five years than they did in the previous year.
Now, let’s be really practical. Goals without a strategy are destined to fail. In the past we have had larger generic strategies designed to address the churches of our convention. However, today we know that “one size fits all” strategies don’t fit all churches.
Therefore, the Church Resource group and I are making ourselves available to sit down with individual churches of any size to help them write a customized strategy for advancing the Gospel in their context. All you need to do is contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will begin together the process of developing that customized strategy for your church.
Each baptism represents a transformed person, who once was lost but now is found. It represents a person who has had a broken relationship with God and now is reconciled with Him through Christ. It represents, in many cases, the healing of broken relationships and broken families. It may represent a life set free from addictions of all kinds and all the personal and relational pain that was a part of the addiction.
In 2 Kings 6, there is a picture of brokenness and its horrific effect on people. First, in their desperate condition, people began to eat the waste from doves in an attempt to satisfy their hunger. However, the more filth they ate in an attempt to get a temporary relief from their hunger the more diseased they became and the more filth they had to consume. It was an endless and fruitless effort to find satisfaction for their condition. Millions of people are caught in this same trap of sin and desperation to find life.
The answer to that desperation is found in chapter 7, as God makes a way where there had been no way. Elisha the prophet explains that God is going to provide for their needs. Soon we find four diseased men who decide to take a risk, and God goes before them, winning their battle and meeting their needs. One of the men realizes that God didn’t give them the victory to hoard but rather to share. He said, “We are not doing right. This is the day of good news. We must not be silent.” They knew that, since God was their Deliverer, they had an obligation to share that deliverance with others.
Oklahoma Baptists, because we have been delivered from our sin, let’s take the Good News to the broken and hurting!