At the Thanksgiving table, a cousin asked me about baptizing new converts in our ministry. As missionaries, we follow the example of the Apostle Paul who rarely baptized converts himself (see 1 Corinthians 1:14-16). We want local pastors to baptize new converts so that these new disciples will be grafted into the local body of believers.
My cousin’s question reminded me about the largest baptism that we ever participated in, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa) in 1986. The churches of the greater Abidjan area gathered together at the river with eight pastors to baptize 477 new disciples!
A lot of local people were in the river that day washing their clothes:
Hundreds of others were joyfully celebrating that their sins had been washed away!
I had the privilege of preaching to that great crowd of Christian brothers and sisters along with one of our dynamic local evangelists, Pastor Apollinaire.
Water baptism is a first step in following Jesus Christ and a commitment to a lifetime of continual obedience to Him as Lord, as He commanded us: “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” And as we make disciples of all peoples everywhere, we have His promise, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Let’s do it!