This past year’s Annual Church Profile was just tallied, and Kentucky Baptists have reason to rejoice! With 77 percent of convention churches reporting, Kentucky Baptist churches baptized 7,128 professing followers of the Lord Jesus Christ this past year.
That number is much lower than years past, but higher than the previous year. As churches continue to recover from COVID, we must each look for reasons to celebrate. While we work and pray for the day when the total number baptized in our churches doubles or triples, Kentucky Baptists can praise God for each of these baptized believers finding new life in Christ and a church home with a Kentucky Baptist congregation.
What can Kentucky Baptists do to become even more faithful in evangelistic engagement in hopes of seeing more fruitfulness in Kentucky Baptist churches? Here are five suggestions:
1. Pray for lost people by name in small groups and Sunday school classes: While you may not wish to share the names of lost people in larger worship services, it is important that we do so – and pray for them faithfully and earnestly – in smaller, more intimate settings. I remember a young wife who was saved and added to a church I was pastoring immediately began praying out loud for her unsaved husband by name. We joined her in that prayer. When he returned home from a military deployment, I had the honor of sharing Jesus with him and seeing him repent and trust Christ. That couple continues to serve faithfully today in a Kentucky Baptist church.
2. Take personal responsibility for the Great Commission and attempt to share Jesus daily: The KBC mission board staff has an annual personal evangelism goal. This year we tweaked our goal. Instead of having a certain number of gospel conversations, we set a goal for a certain number of attempts to have a gospel conversation. We decided that faithfulness is most important and waking each day with a goal of trying to share Jesus produces a caring and compassionate witness for Christ.
3. Baptize new believers and help them grow in Christ: Every Kentucky Baptist church member must rejoice when one new believer in Jesus follows Him in believer’s baptism. Then we must commit to helping that believer grow in Christ by encouraging that person to live out his or her faith in everyday life. I was recently talking to one of our Kentucky Baptist pastors as we discussed being discipled as a new believer. While many may look to one person who discipled them, he was able to say that as a child, teenager and young adult the entire church discipled him and raised him in the faith.
4. Equip the saints for personal evangelism: Every follower of Jesus must be equipped to share the gospel on a regular basis if we expect personal evangelism to become the norm in our congregations. Witnessing for Jesus involves spiritual warfare and believers must be trained for the battle that ensues when one attempts to become faithful in evangelism.
5. Work to reach the lost until Jesus returns: Proverbs 6 shows the ant working to gather food in the harvest time because the time will come when he will not be able to gather. The time will come when no more souls will be won to Jesus. We must work and pray until that time comes.
Praise God for 7,128 new believers in Jesus in Kentucky! May we see many more in years to come. Thank you, Kentucky Baptists, for loving lost souls and working to see more come to faith in Christ.