By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY—Baptisms in the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) rose for the second consecutive year.
With 84.2 percent of churches and missions reporting as of Jan. 6, the number of baptisms for 2009 was reported as 11,390. The 2008 total was 11,105, and the number for 2007 was 11,071.
“I want to give all credit, glory, and praise for baptisms being up this year to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” MBC Evangelism Director Gary Taylor said. “It is His task to build His church, according to Matthew 16:18, and that’s what He is doing when people are born again and begin as disciples by being baptized.”
Taylor also credited the work of Bob Loggins, MBC prayer and spiritual awakening specialist for helping Missouri Baptists be a people of prayer, and The Pathway for frequently allowing the message of reaching Missouri for Christ to be publicized.
Baptism statistics are measured over the span of a 12-month church year, which roughly correlates from July 2008 to June 2009. The percentage of churches and missions reporting in the two previous years was around 85.
Meanwhile, the MBC has announced this year’s “Pacesetter” churches, or those that have led the MBC in baptisms for the past year. The complete list of Pacesetter churches with associational affiliation and baptisms is as follows, broken down into the average Sunday School attendance categories:
Over 1,001: First Arnold, 180, Jefferson; The Journey Fellowship, 163, St. Louis Metro; Pleasant Valley, Liberty, 147, Clay Platte; First Raytown, 124, Blue River Kansas City; Forest Park, Joplin, 106, Spring River.
751-1,000: First Warrensburg, 66, West Central; First O’Fallon, 51, Twin Rivers; Concord, St. Louis, 36, St. Louis Metro.
501-750: Broadway, Springfield, 65, Greene County; First Troy, 64, Twin Rivers; Concord, Jefferson City, 55, Concord; First Ellisville, 44, St. Louis Metro; South Haven, Springfield, 37, Greene County.
401-500: First Blue Springs, 84, Blue River Kansas City; Heart of Life, 63, Blue River Kansas City; First Oak Grove, 61, Blue River Kansas City; Lynwood, Cape Girardeau, 55, Cape Girardeau; First Lebanon, 50, Laclede; First Wentzville, 50, Twin Rivers.
301-400: First Forsyth, 128, Tri County; First Macon, 85, Macon; First Kearney, 29, Clay Platte; First Marshfield, 28, Webster County; Plaza Heights, 28, Blue River Kansas City.
201-300: Meadow Heights, 89, Non Associated; First Odessa, 71, West Central; West County Community, 70, St. Louis Metro; Strasburg, 38, Blue River Kansas City; Cross Bridge, 34, Webster County.
151-200: Cornerstone, Sedalia, 60, Harmony; Hopedale, 43, Tri County; Summit, O’Fallon, 38, St. Louis Metro; First Richmond, 24, Heartland; First Mt. Vernon, 23, Lawrence; Wildwood, Joplin, 23, Spring River; Bayless, 23, St. Louis Metro.
101-150: First Dixon, 42, Pulaski; First Diamond, 39, Spring River; Cedar Grove, Warsaw, 32, Fellowship; Splitlog, 31, Shoal Creek; Oak Grove, Salem, 27, Dent County.
51-100: Fellowship, Kirksville, 50, Thousand Hills; First Wyatt, 46, Charleston; Ashland, 43, Little Bonne Femme; First Stover, 34, Lamine; West Finley, 34, Webster County.
26-50: New Harmony, Salem, 39, Dent County; Round Pond, 29, Dent County; College Street, 27, Greene County; Carrington, 25, Grand Crossings; Filipino-American, Springfield, 22, Glenstone.
1-25: Smithton, 44, Harmony; First Bogard, 23, Carroll; Hispanic, O’Fallon, 19, Twin Rivers; Blue Springs, Eldon, 15, Miller; Harmony, Sedalia, 12, Harmony; Emmet Avenue, 12, Harmony.