Grace Fellowship weaves baptism in church life to create evangelistic culture

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WEST PALM BEACH — Jeff Robinson is an evangelism catalyst, having led Grace Fellowship in West Palm Beach to stir baptismal waters 125 times with new believers in 2019.

“Evangelism catalyst” is how Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, describes the 2,861 pastors in the state. “These local pastors lead the way day by day across our state in evangelism.” In 2019, Florida Baptist churches baptized 25,338 people, more than any other state in the Southern Baptist Convention.

According to Robinson, weaving baptism into everything the church does is essential to creating a culture of baptism within.

Our strategy is to reach people with the gospel and baptism is just a natural byproduct of that work,” he continued. “Highlighting baptism not just as an act, but as a response to an obedient heart toward God.”

Grace Fellowship is a diverse, multicultural, multigenerational, Bible-believing, and teaching church that has a mission to reach South Florida with the gospel of Jesus and see the church family grow in their faith in Christ.

“Even though we are considered to be a large church, we strive to create a small church feel through connections with our church family through small groups, serving and outreach,” said Robinson.

The pastor said he and church leadership consistently remind staff “to constantly ask three questions at every possible turn in talking with people: 1) Have you become a follower of Jesus? 2) Have you been baptized by immersion since you became a follower of Jesus? 3) Have you been to Starting Point,” the congregation’s one-time class for people interested in learning more about the church.

Grace Fellowship makes baptism a big deal. Baptism is highlighted from the pulpit, weekly live baptisms are held during worship and a deeper explanation following the gospel presentation is shared in the Starting Point class. Follow-up correspondence by staff is sent to all new guests whether they have accepted Christ in the past or if this is a new concept to them.

“Emphasizing baptism as the first step of obedience after becoming a Christian is huge for us. Baptism is preaching a sermon with no words,” he said.

The church seeks to follow up with each new guest that fills out a connect card or attends Starting Point “to share the gospel and ensure they have placed their faith in Christ and been baptized by immersion since they made that decision,” said Robinson. Much of that follow-up is done by the pastors and directors via phone call, email or text but also by the church members themselves when they bring a friend of family member to faith in Christ.

“Beach baptisms are vital at Grace “as they give us an opportunity to celebrate baptism in a public setting outside the walls of the building” said the pastor. 
The commitment of Florida Baptist churches to the Gospel was evident earlier this summer when the Southern Baptist Convention reported the Sunshine State led the entire SBC in baptisms for 2019 with 25,338 baptisms—more than any other state convention.

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