Springfield | One thousand baptisms on a single Sunday. That’s the challenge behind One GRAND Sunday, an initiative designed to help IBSA churches train church members in evangelism, share the gospel, and follow-up with believer’s baptism.
One GRAND Sunday is scheduled for April 8, one week after Easter.
“Easter is normally a high attendance day, and the strategy of scheduling April 8 as One GRAND Sunday is to encourage people to return the following week to witness an historic event—their church being a part of 1,000 people being baptized on one day!” said Pat Pajak, IBSA’s associate executive director of evangelism.
The baptism-focused Sunday is part of a series of “Pioneering Spirit” challenges put before IBSA churches at the 2017 Annual Meeting. The evangelism challenge is for 200 or more IBSA churches to baptize 12 or more people each year, or to baptize more than the church’s previous three-year average. In other words, the commitment is for IBSA churches to become “frequently baptizing churches.” So far, 57 churches have accepted the challenge to engage new people with the gospel.
“Unfortunately, baptisms across our state have been declining over the past several years, and I would like to see One GRAND Sunday serve as a reminder that the church exists to evangelize and baptize those in the communities where God has planted them,” Pajak said.
The One GRAND Sunday emphasis coincides with a North American Mission Board-sponsored effort to promote gospel conversations, or opportunities to share the gospel. NAMB is urging Southern Baptists to have one million gospel conversations by next summer’s Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. At gcchallenge.com, people can upload videos of themselves sharing about gospel conversations they’ve had, and get more information about gospel-sharing resources, like the “3 Circles” guide.
With just under three months left until April 8, Pajak suggested this timeline for churches preparing for One GRAND Sunday:
January: Collect your church’s baptism numbers for the past three years. Prayerfully set a new goal for this year.
February: Announce the baptism event and launch gospel conversations. Register your goal at IBSA.org/Evangelism. Conduct the training for church members. Consider teaching the “3 Circles” method.
March: Promote One GRAND Sunday. Personally follow-up with prospects and new believers. Teach about baptism, either personally or in a group setting.
April 8: Baptize!
April 9: Start over again.
One thousand is a large number, but Pajak put the goal in perspective. “What may look like a very lofty goal can easily be accomplished if every one of our 1,000 churches simply committed to baptizing one person.”
For more information about One GRAND Sunday and evangelism resources, or to register to participate in the April 8 emphasis, go to IBSA.org/Evangelism.