RENO, Nev. (BP)–I was sitting in an airport recently and happened to overhear the conversation of a man that was returning from his son’s bar mitzvah.
He had flown all the way to Canada to be a part of this occasion in a young Jewish boy’s life. I thought of how Jewish people celebrate special events as do people in many other cultures. I was wondering why we, as Christians, don’t celebrate things a little better than we do.
As an example, I wish to discuss the event of baptism in the believer’s life.
Baptism does not save anybody; only a personal relationship with Jesus can do that. However, baptism is very important in the Christian faith for many reasons.
It symbolizes that an old life is gone and buried and a new life with Jesus has begun.
It represents the fact that we are now going to follow God’s ways and not our own.
Believer’s baptism screams out that I am a different person and I am not afraid to show that fact.
If baptism is a major spiritual marker in someone’s life, why not make a bigger deal out of it? Baptism is not only a significant event in the life of the participant, but what an evangelistic tool!
If I ever have the opportunity to pastor a local church again, I will do better on baptisms. Here are a few ideas for our consideration:
— The church could supply 25 invitations for inviting family and friends.
— A verbal testimony always could be shared.
— Anniversary celebrations of one’s baptism could be a natural.
— How about a baptismal certificate that looks as good as any diploma?
— A framed picture suitable for an office, dormitory room or home could be a great conversation starter.
— What about a day or night of baptisms?
— Why not make it a high moment of worship instead of a prelude to the announcements?
Let me restate the obvious mathematical formula for salvation: Salvation = faith in Jesus + 0.
Believer’s baptism, as many have said, is thus an outward sign of an inward change. It doesn’t get any easier to understand than that.
Thane Barnes is the executive director-treasurer of the Nevada Baptist Convention. This column first appeared in the June edition of The Nevada Baptist.