Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are abuzz with pictures of Kentucky Baptist Pastors baptizing new believers in Christ. Just this past week I saw snapshots—some on social media and others provided by friends—of a lady in Hopkinsville robed up, standing next to her pastor, and ready to enter the baptistry.
I also saw a man in the western part of the state standing alongside a Kentucky Baptist Church Planter about to be immersed in a water hole—possibly a creek—in a wooded area. I saw several pictures of men and women in Murray, Kentucky, being immersed in a water trough by a Campus Pastor who is also a student at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College.
There were several pictures from a south-central Kentucky church with multiple lake baptisms and several school-aged children with wet hair and bright smiles holding signs that read, “I Got Baptized Today.” Another was a collage including pictures of six teenagers, three college-age students, a man battling liver cancer, an 80-year-old man, and several others saying “yes” to this most important first step of faith in Christ.
My favorite photo was from a pastor standing in front of a church building where the church was holding an outdoor baptism. This church had not baptized a single person in four years. These stories are exciting as they depict new life in Christ being represented through biblical baptism.
God’s people need times of declaration and celebration. There is no greater reality to celebrate than when a new believer has crossed over from death to life through Christian conversion. When that new believer is baptized, it is a time for the church to celebrate.
Here are five ways to celebrate baptism:
1. Invite lots of people: Churches can help baptismal candidates invite their friends to attend this significant life event. Some churches send out invitations on behalf of the one being baptized. People will come to see their friend, student, grandchild, niece, or nephew be baptized. This invitation may result in others hearing the Gospel and trusting Jesus as Savior and Lord.
2. Include a testimony: Many pastors ask the baptismal candidate to write out their salvation testimony and have a friend read their story just before baptism. When I hear these testimonies, I’m moved by the way God brought the baptism candidate to faith in Jesus.
3. Give a special gift: Many churches give a new Bible, a significant book, or a framed certificate commemorating the baptism. Consider giving a gift to help the person remember the special day.
4. Explain the significance of baptism: Some pastors use the occasion to explain biblical baptism as an act of obedience following conversion, by immersion, as a public identification with our Lord Jesus. For church members and children growing up in church, this is a helpful message. For the guests in attendance, it may be the first time they have heard a biblical understanding of baptism.
5. Give celebratory praise to God: Baptism declares that the old person is gone and a new one is alive in Christ. This is one of the greatest celebrations for the local church. Let your joy be known during this time of celebration.
Please keep sharing those pictures on social media. They are a way to honor the Lord, encourage the church and bring some good news to social media.
I pray each day for Kentucky Baptist churches and pastors. My prayer today is that Kentucky Baptist churches all across the Commonwealth will celebrate baptisms in the coming weeks and that we will celebrate exuberantly!