Comments from Pastors’ Baptism Task Force members

 A group of pastors from across the Southern Baptist Convention served on the Pastors’ Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact and Declining Baptisms. The group also included three denominational workers. The Task Force began work on September 18, 2013, and issued their report on May 12, 2014. Below are comments from several members about the focus and implications of the group’s work:   

“Of all the things churches measure, baptism has to be of paramount importance. And, when we see the declining trends that are clearly visible in Southern Baptist Churches, our first response should not be despair, frustration or fear. Our first response should be repentance for not keeping the Great Commandment here at home, followed closely by a second response to go and make disciples! 

“We need pastors broken by the Spirit of the Lord for lost communities, mothers and fathers sharing Jesus with their children everyday, friends reaching and friends risking everything for the sake of the Gospel. We need personal and corporate revival, to create a Kingdom culture—a Jesus DNA infusion, whatever you want to call it—we need to make sharing Jesus ‘the thing we do’ as churches and as a people.

“This task force report is a first and second step to spiritual recovery. It’s an honest and painful look at where we are, and it’s a spiritually dependent plan to re-fire our passion for sharing Christ.”

Andy Addis
CrossPoint Church
Hutchinson, Kan.

“I have learned to take this report seriously as if the life of my church depends on it!”

Benny Wong
First Chinese Baptist Church
Los Angeles, Calif.

“Working with this study group has been a humbling experience. I found the pastors motivated by brokenness and a burden for the next generation.”

Wayne Jenkins
State Director of Evangelism
Louisiana Baptist Convention

“I am grateful for this endeavor’s commitment to renew the passion for evangelism that ultimately begs the question, ‘How then should we proceed?’ The need of the hour is an evangelistic tool that is simple enough to train all church members, effective enough to ignite believers’ passion for evangelism and engaging enough to captivate the hearts of the present generation.”

Manpoong “Dennis” Kim
Global Mission Church
Silver Spring, Md.

“Revival means change; a return to God, a renewed passion for God and a refocusing on God’s mission. The task force offers a call to seek the Lord afresh from representative pastors across the SBC. The Gospel does not change; but we must change to reach this increasingly lost world. My prayer is that the task force report will bring together pastors across North America to seek the Lord in revival and to serve the Lord in effective ministry to a changing land. I especially pray God will awaken Southern Baptists to reach the next generation.”

Alvin L. Reid, PhD
Evangelism Professor
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Southern Baptists downward spiral in baptisms is the fruit of our spiritual lukewarmness. I am greatly encouraged by the stirring I see among us toward spiritual awakening and the need for a resurgence of the Great Commission. This task force work and report gives me hope!”

Ted Traylor
Olive Baptist Church
Pensacola, Fla.

“We confessed our sin of not being broken with tears over lostness and we trust the Holy Spirit, to help us manifest fruits of repentance which is a divine imperative for spiritual transformation and revival in our day! What an honor to serve on this task force pertaining to Kingdom business!”

K. Marshall Williams Sr.
Nazarene Baptist Church
Philadelphia, Pa.

“I think all Southern Baptists were aware that our baptisms were declining, but seeing the actual stats was both shocking and heartbreaking. Continuing as we are yet expecting a different result is not an option. We must address this issue now.”

Roger Spradlin
Valley Baptist Church
Bakersfield, Calif.

“I was pleased to learn that the majority of this task force consists of local church pastors. They acknowledged our desperate need for a fresh spiritual awakening and a return to holiness within our churches that will result in repentance, a renewed passion for the lost and a genuine commitment to evangelism. They believe this must occur if Southern Baptists are to be used of God in impacting lostness and reversing the downward trend in baptisms.”

Milton Hollifield
Executive Director
Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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Published May 16, 2014