Increasing Your Baptisms – Ministry Models


Mark & MinToo BaptismJoin us Wednesday October 5, 2016 at 1pm Central Time as we discuss Increasing Your Baptisms on our Ministry Models Teleconference. Call 515-604-9000; Access Code 540330

Here are 3 Ministry Models to Increase Your Baptisms I have found helpful. Feel free to use, adapt or discard them in your ministry. Remember, a MODEL can Make Our Difficulties Easy & Light!

First a little background. When I was a young pastor I really had no clue how to prepare a person for baptism. Should I take them through 28 weeks of studies, making sure they said yes to everything and then baptize them? Should I just ask them if they loved Jesus then baptize them and hope they grow? I have since learned some valuable things about baptism and baptism preparation. Here are some of the lessons –

  1. It is very important that we understand what the Bible really teaches about baptism.
  2. There are people who are not yet ready to be baptized or brought in on Profession of Faith –
    1. Unconverted & unwilling to let Jesus transform their lives and behaviors.
    2. Unclear on Bible truth. They haven’t had a chance to learn major life-changing truths such as Salvation, Sabbath, Spiritual Gifts, Stewardship, Sanctuary, Scriptures, Second Coming.
    3. Uncommitted to the Adventist mission, message & movement.
    4. Unwilling to serve Jesus and share Jesus.
    5. Have unresolved marriage, addiction and/or Sabbath work issues. These issues can be resolved rather quickly with Jesus’ power and presence.
  3. But there are people we should quickly baptize or bring in on Profession of Faith. The Book of Acts has many examples of these (Day of Pentecost – Acts 2; Ethiopian – Acts 8; Saul/Paul – Acts 9; Cornelius & household – Acts 10; Lydia & Philippian Jailer with household – Acts 16; etc.) They gave evidence that they were ripe and ready to move forward with Jesus. These people…
    1. Show they love Jesus as their Creator, re-Creator, Healer, Savior, Lord & Soon-coming King, and are willing to let Him be in charge of every part of their life
    2. Embrace all Bible truth as they learn it (e.g.Salvation, Sabbath, Spiritual Gifts, Stewardship, Sanctuary, Scriptures, Second Coming) and are eager to learn more.
    3. Are excited to unite with God’s final movement.
    4. Are experiencing victories and transformation in their lives. They are not perfect but have a total commitment to Jesus and are showing more and more of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc. Galatians 5:22-23).

Now for the three Ministry Models. (See PowerPoint presentation here.)

  1. Fill the Baptistry Sabbaths.The single most effective way I know of to focus a congregation (and the pastor!) on the harvest is to schedule a regular Fill the Baptistry Sabbath quarterly, bi-monthly or even monthly. Schedule it and announce it to the congregation by faith. Get the whole church involved. Ask them to pray for people they would like to see baptized in the near future. This brings a razor-sharp focus on who is on your interest list and what is being done to invite them to prepare for baptism (or profession of faith) and unite with God’s final movement. Of course no one should be baptized who is not ready. But you’ll be amazed how people start getting ready when we focus on the mission Jesus has given us and take this step of faith! Here are some examples –
    1. Fernando Leite, Beaumont (TX) Seventh-day Adventist Church
    2. Dustin Serns, Port Orchard (WA) Seventh-day Adventist Church
    3. Richardson (TX) Seventh-day Adventist Church
    4. Planning Monthly Baptismal Sabbaths
  2. Ask Clarifying Questions. As we study Jesus life we find that he never pressured people to follow Him and He never ignored those who were seeking. What He continually did (and does) is invite people to make decisions they can be proud of for eternity. I believe He wants us to do the same through us. He will help us learn to ask questions in such a way that it helps ripe and receptive people express their love for Jesus and desire to move forward in their relationship with Him, His Word and His final movement. Here are some examples –
    1. How has God brought you to this place in your life?
    2. What have been some of the turning points in your life where you have seen Jesus change you?
    3. Have you come to the place in your life where you can say “I have accepted Jesus as my Creator, Savior and Lord”?
    4. Do you want Jesus to be in charge of every part of your life?
    5. Have you come to the place in your life where you can say “I realize the Bible is different from every book ever written. It is God’s voice speaking to me and I want the Holy Spirit to help me follow God’s truth. And I want to learn something from God’s Word every day”?
    6. Is the Sabbath truth clear to you? Is there anything that would make it difficult for you follow Jesus and keep it holy?
    7. Have you come to the place in your life where you can say “I realize in these last days that God is raising up His final movement. Just like the early church it keeps all the commandments of God, arose as a result of prophecy, teaches and preaches prophecy and has a prophet in it. And I want to be a part of God’s final movement”?
    8. Is there anything that would make it difficult for you to be baptized and unite with God’s final movement?
  3. Use the 8 Week Plan with Baptism Coaches for Baptismal Preparation. For this plan to work you need to have regularly scheduled Fill the Baptistry Sabbaths and Baptismal Study Guides in bulk in the lobby of the church. Here’s how it works –
    1. When someone indicates they would like to follow Jesus totally we ask them “Are you serious? If you are we will help you.”
    2. We ask “Who would you like to be your Baptism Coach?” Then we take them and their Baptism Coach to the Baptismal Study Guides in the lobby (we use the 14 Basic Amazing Facts Study Guides found here because they are visual, Biblical, clear, decisive and short. We use the 13 Advanced Amazing Facts Study Guides for a follow up Sabbath School class for the new members when they are tested most!).
    3. We give them lesson 1 & 2 and tell them “When you go home today find a quiet time and place and look toward heaven and say ‘Lord, please show me your truth and help me follow it.’ Then study the lesson guides. They are very simple – question, Bible verses with the answer then comments. Be sure to complete the Summary Sheet Quiz at the back.”
    4. Then we give lesson 1 & 2 to their Baptism Coach and say “You will need to study the lessons and do the quiz, too! Then once a week, perhaps right here on Sabbath, the two of you get together and only review the quiz. If there are any questions then look back in the lesson for the answer. If you need additional help then call one of the Church Board Mentors who are here to help.”
    5. Then we give another lesson 1 & 2 to the person preparing for baptism. We tell them “Whenever God starts working in one person’s heart He is often working on the heart of someone close to him/her. Take these extra lessons each week to them and invite them to take the journey with you.”
    6. Then we continue “If you are faithful and focuses and let Jesus keep working in your heart and life then it is realistic that you will complete the lessons and be baptized in about two months. Our next baptism Sabbath after that is [date of next Fill the Baptistry Sabbath 2-3 months in future]. So you should start inviting your family and friends to your baptism and be serious about studying the lessons. Whoever Jesus impresses you to give the extra lessons to might even be baptized with you! 
    7. This information is added to the Interest/Prayer List of the church – Who is preparing for baptism, the tentative date (occasionally it might need to be moved a month later) and who is the Baptism Coach.
    8. Ultimately the Pastor Clears each person for baptism, covering briefly topics not included in the basic 14 lessons (Stewardship, Spiritual Gifts, Sanctuary). When a person is in love with Jesus and His Bible truth this additional information doesn’t take long and is not a problem.
    9. We have adapted this plan for Individual Baptism Preparation with a Baptism Coach, Group Baptism Preparation in a Class (including Baptismal Classes at Church School), Bible Study Interest Follow Up and Phase I of Marriage Preparation to get both people on the same page spiritually, which usually resulted in a baptism and re-baptism.
    10. Here’s more –
      1. “How I got started giving Bible Studies” – Jacob Serns
      2. “The 8-week Baptismal Bible Study Plan” – Jacob Serns

Inspired Insights on Increasing Your Baptisms

  1. God calls for self-denying, self-sacrificing workers. Those who devote their God-given time to hunting for souls, travailing for souls, watching for souls as they that must give an account, will obtain a rich experience. As they communicate the precious truths of God’s word to others, their own hearts will be opened for the entrance of the word. They will be instructed by the Great Teacher. Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 86.1

  2. If men in humble life were encouraged to do all the good they could do, if restraining hands were not laid upon them to repress their zeal, there would be a hundred workers for Christ where now there is one. {Desire of Ages 250.4}
  3. He [the follower of Christ] is to regard the Bible as the voice of God speaking directly to him. {Acts of the Apostles 474.2}
  4. Bible readings [studies] should be given, and believers and unbelievers should have an opportunity to ask questions on points not fully understood. Those who profess to be advocates of truth, should ask questions that will bring forth answers that will shed light upon the present truth. If any ask questions that serve to confuse the mind, and to sow doubt and questioning, they should be advised to abstain from such questioning, that others may be brought to Christ. We must learn when to speak and when to keep silent, and learn to sow seeds of faith, to reflect light and not darkness. Special meetings should be appointed for those who are interested in the truth, and who need instruction.—The Review and Herald, June 23, 1891. {Pastoral Ministry 127.3}
  5. When once the confidence of the people is gained, then it is time enough to introduce publicly the Sabbath and immortality questions.—Evangelism, 246. {Pastoral Ministry 135.2}
  6. Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, “the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star.”—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 118. {Pastoral Ministry 136.3}
  7. Neither Conference officer nor minister has a call from God to indulge distrust of God’s power to use every individual who is considered a worthy member of the church. This cautiousness, so-called, is retarding almost every line of the Lord’s work. God can and will use those who have not had a thorough education in the schools of men. A doubt of His power to do this is manifest unbelief; it is limiting the Omnipotent power of the One with whom nothing is impossible. O for less of this unsanctified, distrustful caution! It leaves so many forces of the church unused; it closes up the way so that the Holy Spirit cannot use men; it keeps in idleness those who are willing and anxious to labor in Christ’s lines; it discourages many from entering the work who would become efficient laborers together with God if they were given a fair chance. Those who would be laborers, who see the great necessity for consecrated workers in the church and in the world, should seek strength in the secret places of prayer. They should go forth to labor, and God will bless them, and make them a blessing to others. Such members would give strength and stability to the church. It is the lack of spiritual exercise that makes church-members so weak and inefficient; but again I would ask, Who is to blame for the state of things that now exists?—The Review and Herald, July 9, 1895. {Pastoral Ministry 153.1}
  8. It is fatal mistake to suppose that the work of soul-saving depends alone upon the ministry. The humble, consecrated believer upon whom the Master of the vineyard places a burden for souls is to be given encouragement by the men upon whom the Lord has laid larger responsibilities. Those who stand as leaders in the church of God are to realize that the Saviour’s commission is given to all who believe in His name. God will send forth into His vineyard many who have not been dedicated to the ministry by the laying on of hands. {Acts of the Apostles 110.2}
  9. The best help that ministers can give the members of our churches is not sermonizing, but planning work for them. Give each one something to do for others. Help all to see that as receivers of the grace of Christ they are under obligation to work for Him. And let all be taught how to Especially should those who are newly come to the faith be educated to become laborers together with God. If set to work, the despondent will soon forget their despondency; the weak will become strong, the ignorant intelligent, and all will be prepared to present the truth as it is in Jesus. They will find an unfailing helper in Him who has promised to save all that come unto Him.—Testimonies for the Church 6:49.” {Pastoral Ministry 155.2}
  10. Those who profess to believe the truth, but feel no burden for the souls of others, will be continually backsliding, and it will require time and strength on the part of the minister to keep them from making shipwreck of faith, when they should be laboring with all their might to present the way of life and salvation to their friends and neighbors. Hundreds of men and women who at the present time are professedly engaged in the work of God, are not doing one-tenth that they might do if they would only improve all the powers God has given them. Some are doing literally nothing for the truth, and by their example of indifference are bringing others into the same position of uselessness, and thus are scattering from Christ. This latter class includes by far the greater number. They are thinking and planning only for themselves. Fathers and mothers with their little ones around them make their little circle their world. Every power of their being is centered on “me and mine,” and they are becoming narrower and more circumscribed every year of their lives. They do not open their hearts to the grace and love of Christ, and liberalize their nature and ennoble their being by placing themselves in sympathy with their fellow-men.—The Review and Herald, June 10, 1880. {Pastoral Ministry 146.3}
  11. By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, margin…” Desire of Ages p. 633.3
  12. Bring the people to the point to decide. Show them the importance of the truth–it is life or death. With becoming zeal, pull souls out of the fire… {Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1: 152.1}
  13. Earnestly and untiringly he [every true minister] seeks to inspire the believers with a desire to win souls for Christ, remembering that every addition to the church should be one more agency for the carrying out of the plan of redemption. {Acts of the Apostles 207.1}
  14. Ministers frequently neglect these important branches of the work,—health reform, spiritual gifts, systematic benevolence, and the great branches of the missionary work. Under their labors large numbers may embrace the theory of the truth, but in time it is found that there are many who will not bear the proving of God… Another minister follows the first, and in the fear of God presents the practical duties, the claims of God upon His people. Some draw back, saying, “Our minister who brought us the truth did not mention these things. We have been deceived. These things were kept back.” And they become offended because of the Word. Some will not accept the tithing system; they reject systematic benevolence, and become offended, turn away, and no longer walk with those who believe and love the truth. When the tract and missionary field is opened before them, inviting them to work in it, they answer, “It was not so taught us,” and they hesitate to engage in the work. How much better it would be for the cause, if the messenger of truth had faithfully and thoroughly educated these converts in regard to all these essential matters, even if there were less whom he could number as being added to the church under his labors.—The Review and Herald, December 12, 1878. {Pastoral Ministry 207.1}
  15. For years light has been given upon this point, showing the necessity of following up an interest that has been raised, and in no case leaving it until all have decided that lean toward the truth and have experienced the conversion necessary for baptism and united with some church or formed one themselves. There are no circumstances of sufficient importance to call a minister from an interest created by the presentation of truth. Even sickness and death are of less consequence than the salvation of souls for whom Christ made so immense a sacrifice.—Testimonies for the Church 2:540. {Pastoral Ministry 128.2}
  16. It is not enough for us to read the Scriptures merely. We are to ask the Lord to fill our wayward hearts with His Spirit, that we may understand the meaning of His words. In order to be benefited by the reading of the words of Christ, we must make a right application of them to our individual cases. {Medical Ministry 37.3}
  17. Never allow your children to suppose that they are not children of God until they are old enough to be baptized. Baptism does not make children Christians; neither does it convert them; it is but an outward sign, showing that they are sensible that they should be children of God by acknowledging that they believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and will henceforth live for Christ. {Child Guidance p. 499}
  18. Christ made baptism the entrance to His spiritual kingdom. He made this a positive condition with which all must comply who wish to be acknowledged as under the authority of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Those who receive the ordinance of baptism thereby make a public declaration that they have renounced the world, and have become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. {God’s Amazing Grace p. 143}
  19. The dear children of Brother D should plead with Jesus to reveal to them their sinfulness, and then ask Him to reveal Himself as their sin-pardoning Saviour. These precious children must not be deceived and miss eternal life. Except they are converted they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. They must wash their robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. Jesus invites them to take the steps that sinners must take in order to become His children. He has given them an example in life in submitting to the ordinance of baptism. He is our example in all things. {Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 42}

Future Topics

The topics for our Ministry Models teleconference listed below will rotate between these general categories – Personal/Family, Soul Winning and Pastoring. We will post notes for each topic/teleconference.


  • September – Time Management
  • October – Increasing Your Baptisms
  • November – Planning Your Church Calendar
  • December – Goal Setting & Accomplishment


  • January – Baptism Preparation
  • February – Nominating Committee
  • March – Family Time
  • April – Finding Interests
  • May – Church Board Meetings
  • June – New District – Starting Well
  • July – New Member Orientation
  • August – Mobilizing Members in Ministry

Please join us by phone (whether walking, driving, eating or studying) and let’s see what the Lord does to help us each succeed in our daily walk with Him, all our relationships including our families, and in our ministry and mission.


About danserns

Happily married and father of three great kids. Seventh-day Adventist pastor who invites everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embrace all the teachings of the Bible and join a vibrant Adventist group.
This entry was posted in Bible Study, Changed Lives, Church School, Ministry Models, Pastoring, Soul Winning, Why Not Try This...? and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Increasing Your Baptisms – Ministry Models

  1. Pingback: Goal Setting & Accomplishment – Ministry Models | Dan Serns

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