Kentucky Church Disciples New Converts After Prosperous Harvest of Baptisms

Hillvue Heights Church leads the state in baptisms by a large margin but the work doesn’t stop there.

They do everything they can to begin discipling new Christians on next steps.

More than 600 have come in and out of the baptismal waters in the last fiscal year alone, a record for the church that has baptized nearly 11,000 since 1991 when Steve Ayers came aboard as pastor. The baptismal pool is never empty.

Baptisms are important to Hillvue. That’s obvious. So what comes next?

The church emphasizes to the baptism candidates that this is the beginning, not the end, of the Christian walk, said Jeff Crabtree, the pastor of faith development at Hillvue. Let’s put it this way: They don’t just hand them a towel and wave goodbye.

“It’s our work to follow up,” said co-lead pastor Jamie Ward. “Baptism is part of the discipleship process, not salvation. Our goal is to walk alongside people.”

They also make sure before anyone is baptized, they understand by being able to answer these four questions:

1)What is salvation?

2)Why do I need to be saved?

3)What is baptism?

4)Why do I need to be baptized?

So before they ever step into the water, Crabtree said, they are educated on the baptism process and exactly what it means. Classes are offered for children and adults and nobody gets baptized unless they understand, he said.

“We have classes (for childen and adults) before baptism and classes post-baptism,” Crabtree said. “We have a six-week small group session (after being baptized). People have that option to walk through and we begin discipling them. The next step (after being baptized) is to be in the Bible and begin studying scripture.”

So it’s never about getting them into the baptismal pool but also helping them as they begin the new walk as a Christian. Crabtree said some who come forward to accept salvation don’t immediately agree to be baptized. But Hillvue doesn’t forget about them.

“Our Christian walk is a process and not everybody is in the same place,” Crabtree said.

Hillvue’s baptism team is charged with getting the candidate ready and making the experience memorable and pleasant, from providing clothes to taking photographs that come to the person being baptized before the next Sunday.

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Source: Kentucky Today