ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Southern Baptist churches across the nation recognized Student Baptism Sunday this past Sunday, Oct. 29, by baptizing teenagers and college students during morning services.
“We keep seeing evidence that the overwhelming majority of born-again Christians surrendered their lives to Jesus before the age of 18,” said Shane Pruitt, national next gen director for the North American Mission Board (NAMB). “The percentages are even higher when we ask how many gave their lives to Christ before age 30. These numbers indicate just how important student outreach and evangelism are.”
First Baptist Church in Leesburg, Fla., shared on their Instagram that they baptized five students during their Sunday morning worship service. Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Cross Plains, Tenn., also posted about baptizing two students through their social media.
Compass View Church, a Send Network church plant in Mountain View, Ark., baptized six students; Covenant Church of Houma, La., baptized two students; and Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, baptized three students.
Reaching the next generation effectively requires sending the next generation, Pruitt said.
“I honestly believe the most effective person at reaching a college student or teenager with the Gospel is another college student or teenager that has a heart that beats with passion for Jesus, and that same heart is broken over the spiritual lostness of their own generation,” Pruitt said.
The need to reach students extends onto the college campus, said Paul Worcester, NAMB’s national collegiate director.
“Most college campuses are filled with thousands of young lost people, broken and searching for direction with only a few under-resourced ministries seeking to reach them,” wrote Worcester. “From personal experience and observation, the average campus in the U.S. is less than 5 percent Christian (in terms of true gospel believers), and many are less than 2 percent—missiologists would qualify them as unreached.”
Pruitt also pointed out that churches need to see students as an important mission field, an opportunity to proclaim the hope of the gospel in an increasingly confusing and broken world. Mobilizing students must be a key part of that effort.
“If students are Christians with the Holy Spirit, they are not the future of the church, they are the church right now,” said Pruitt. “So, we must ‘equip the saints for ministry’ to know Jesus and make Jesus known. Sometimes, those saints are teenagers and college students. Students sharing the Gospel is often just as much for the believer as it is for the unbeliever. Students being diligent to evangelize their friends is an extremely effective form of discipleship.”
Pruitt and Worcester will host a webinar called “Every Student Sent” on November 2 where they and other student ministry leaders will discuss student evangelism. To learn more about resources offered by the North American Mission Board, visit gensend.org.
Published October 31, 2023