Five Missouri churches honored LifeWay cites them for baptism numbers
SAN ANTONIO – LifeWay Christian Resources honored five Missouri churches during the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting as being among the top in the nation in baptisms.
Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty with 265 baptisms and First Baptist Church in Raytown with 234 were both in the top 100. Three more churches were ranked in the top 100 among churches with attendance below 400. They are: Cornerstone, Sedalia (61); Cedar Grove, Warsaw (51) and New Salem, Marble Hill (51).
New Salem Pastor Randel Poole said the God-sized spike in baptisms was due to an increased focus on the small town’s youth and young marrieds.
“We’ve got some soul-winning teenagers,” he said. “They’ve experienced God’s power on mission trips like Global Encounter in St. Louis and they’re bringing that passion home. Now we’re in the process of discipling these new believers so they can go back out and win more people to the Lord.”
John Shepherd, director of pastoral ministries for LifeWay said they were just recognizing churches that are doing their jobs.
“Overall baptisms are at their lowest level since 1993,” he said. “That news isn’t good, but we don’t want to minimize and forget those that really got it right. These five Missouri churches kept the main thing the main thing: to seek and serve the lost. We’d love for other churches to follow their lead and win boys, girls, men and women for Jesus.”
Shepherd said that while great things are being done in large churches, he is especially excited about what God in doing in smaller churches. For example, New Salem runs only 150 on any given Sunday. Fifty-one new believers is a 33 percent increase.
“We tend to focus our attention on larger megachurches, but God still works in smaller churches. Ninety percent of our churches run less than 300.”