Celebrations of the Lord’s Supper and believer’s baptism have always been among the most basic practices of Baptist churches. Yet it’s possible for these to become occasional, even rare, ceremonies, rather than foundational ordinances.
The Lord’s Supper was given to us to be a time of frequent, intimate church fellowship and worship, one that draws each participant to introspection and confession of sin and to a carefully considered reminder of the price Jesus paid for that sin.
The Lord’s Supper is, in itself, a symbol-rich proclamation of the gospel message, one that should, each time, lead us to humble worship and gratitude and fresh motivation to live out our salvation and to share Jesus with others.
What if we got that right, every one of us, in every church, every time we celebrated the Lord’s Supper?
If we did, I think it would have a dramatic effect on our other foundational practice – baptism.
Think of it this way: What if a church were to schedule baptism celebrations as often as it scheduled Lord’s Supper celebrations? More importantly, what if that church adjusted all its other priorities with the goal of seeing at least one person baptized by that time?
In fact, what if the church filled its baptistery on that date, no matter what? If no one was ready to be baptized, the church would simply pray in lament over the unstirred waters and ask the Lord to guide them to a different result next time.
If the core tasks of the church are to remember the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus and continue His mission of seeking and saving the lost, then maybe we need to let the basics of the Lord’s Supper and baptism drive our churches’ priorities and resources and schedules more than the things that drive them now.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. This column first appeared at the Illinois Baptist news journal, illinoisbaptist.org.)