At the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware’s (BCM/D) Annual Meeting on Monday, I shared a goal set by youth leaders in our convention: baptize 2,022 youth under the age of 18 in 2022. Here are three things to keep in mind as we process what that might look like and how we might reach that goal:
- It’s doable.
- It’s not about the number.
- Celebrate and share each one.
There are just over 500 churches in the BCM/D. Divide 2,022 by 500, and you’ll get 4.044. If every church in our convention baptized just four young people under the age of 18 in 2022, that would be 2,000 baptisms! That is doable! In 2020, there were just under 300 youth baptisms (as reported by those who completed the ACP). We have our work cut out for us! Start thinking of who you may be able to pour into and lead into the water as we move towards 2022. Some churches may baptize more than that, and that’s great!
It’s not about the number
Yes, we’ve set a goal attached to a number, but it’s more about keeping the mindset in front of us and the options on the table. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a children’s or youth ministry, the scheduling, the supplies, the games, the media, and more. Even in planning, preparing, and presenting lessons, we can lose the big picture.
What is our ultimate goal? To make solid disciples for Christ! Are we giving youth the opportunities to make that commitment? Are we talking about The Great Commission? Is every lesson pointing them in the direction of Jesus and His salvation through faith? For those that are believers, are we offering baptism as a first or next step? Are we creating spaces that answer youth and parents’ questions about the process? Are we putting specific dates on the calendar so that they know baptism is an opportunity on that day? Are we encouraging parents to have spiritual conversations with their kids at home? Are we providing resources to parents to help them determine if their child is ready for a commitment or to follow through with baptism? Do our volunteers know how to confidently lead a child to Christ? Do they talk about baptism and its meaning? Do they share their testimonies of becoming a Christian or getting baptized? Setting a goal with a number keeps the conversations in front of us, as leaders, focusing on our ultimate purpose: to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It’s not about the number.
Celebrate and share each one
Sharing baptisms among churches is powerfully motivating! When we witness fruitful ministries, it stirs our hearts to examine our own ministries. It reignites the passion that led us to the ministry in the first place. There are several ways you can share your baptism stories with other churches. Post them to your church’s social media pages, using the hashtag #2022in2022. Share it on your personal pages. Post it in the BCM/D Youth Facebook group, and most definitely keep track of them to share in the Annual Church Profile. We want to celebrate each and every decision! Subscribe to BaptistLIFE! Get email updates and a quarterly print edition so you can celebrate with other churches! Share your story with our communications team! Let us know how God is working in your ministry so we can get the word out to encourage and motivate other churches.
I sense 2022 will be an energetic, Spirit-led year where decisions are made, and baptismals are filled over and over again to bring new life to the next generation!
Kris Buckman serves as the Children’s and Youth Ministry Consultant at the BCM/D.
Cover photo: Justin Rose is baptized at LifeHouse Church, Smyrna in Delaware (photo submitted).