This week I attended my first Northern Kentucky Baptist Association (NKBA) meeting and we talked a lot about reaching the lost and baptismal goals. Even though the population of northern Kentucky is increasing significantly, the number of baptisms (which represents reaching of the lost) have been declining. Sadly, that trend is common throughout Kentucky, throughout the Southern Baptist Convention and churches in general. With nearly 70 churches in the NKBA, we only had 402 total baptisms last year.
Jim Woolums has challenged the churches of NKBA to reach/baptize 10,000 people in the next 10 years. Obviously, that means that we need to baptize 1,000 a year each year (which is significantly more than the 402 that we baptized last year). In order to meet that goal, each church was challenged with a goal. Burlington Baptist was challenged with reaching/baptizing 50 this year. Last year (July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019) we baptized 28. I think we should set our goal at 52 next year and ask the Lord to save somebody every week.
How can we reach 52 people for Christ next year? I think we must start with prayer. We come to the Lord with desperation acknowledging that salvation is a gift from Him. We also come to Him with the recognition that the fields are white unto harvest and He desires for everybody to come to Him and be saved. In Luke 10:2, Jesus tells us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest. Will you join me in praying for gospel laborers?
If we are going to reach that many people, not only must we pray, we must share Christ with our community. As we talked about last Sunday, we need to ask the Lord for open doors to share the Gospel. We need to be prepared to share the gospel and ask the Lord to soften the hearts of those to which we are able to share. As a church, we will plan on starting “Who’s Your One” in January. We will be asking every person to identify one person for whom they will pray and seek opportunities to share the Gospel with. Do you realize that if everybody got serious about reaching one person with the gospel next year, we could reach 100 instead of 52. So be thinking about who you want to pray for and reach next year. I’m going to be pretty pushy about this.
I want us to have a culture of evangelism which means we are always looking for opportunities to share our faith. Whether we are distributing food, coaching Upward, or having a block party, our greatest desire is to share the Gospel with our community. God calls us to tell the good news. We know that He must save. I’ve said many times, if we share the Gospel, God will save sinners. Not only do we want to reach our goal of 52 next year, we want to pray and encourage other churches to reach their goals as well. We will pray for our sister churches and celebrate when they have baptisms. Some churches haven’t baptized anybody in several years. We can pray for them and encourage them in their efforts to reach the lost. Let’s start now. Put 52 on your prayer list and start praying and sowing gospel seeds. We have lots of work (and hopefully lots of celebrating) to do next year.