Brandon Moore serves as the Conway Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) director where he loves to help students explore their faith and lead them to obedience.
“Listen carefully, Israel. Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them!” – Moses in Deuteronomy 5:1
“If you love me, obey my commands.” – Jesus in John 14:15
If God has always been focused on something, it is simply this: that His people would obey Him and Him alone. No matter the culture, no matter the expectations on God’s people from the government – whether it was Babylon or Geneva – God has been asking the same thing from every person for all time, “obey me.”
In light of this, the driving question for our staff her at Conway BCM is forced to reflect God’s heart. How do we help these students learn to be obedient to God? How do we move beyond simply telling them what to do? How do we help them read God’s Word, listen to the Holy Spirit, and be obedient to Him themselves? How do we help them realize obedience is not a random occurrence but a lifestyle of following Jesus?
This question will drive our ministry efforts for the next several years, but on way we have already started these conversations with students is around the reality of baptism.
As soon as someone comes to faith in Christ, we begin asking them when and where they will be baptized. The “when and where” is usually dictated by the local church they have been or will be attending. We go on to explain baptism in three main ways:
- An outward profession of an inward faith.
- A declaration to a body of believers that you are with them and in return they are with you.
- A step of obedience that will impact your life of obedience.
For the sake of this article, we will discuss the third point above. We will look students in the eye and tell them plainly that God tells us in His Word to be baptized so this is a matter of obedience, not preference or convenience.
As humans we learn patterns pretty easily. If you grew up in a family that cleaned up from dinner immediately after you finished eating, you will likely carry that habit into adulthood. The same is true in the opposite direction. If your family put the dishes in the sink and hopped straight onto the couch for movie night, you will more than likely carry that pattern into your adult life.
We explain patterns like this in regard to baptism as well. If, after a person come to Christ, they are quick to be obedient in baptism, which also gets them connected to a local church, and they are loved by that church, they are learning a pattern. They are learning that what it means to be a Christ follower is to be obedient and connected to a local church.
As quickly as possible, we are trying to help these students learn to be obedient. In fact, the question we ask after their baptism is simple: “What’s next? What is the next step of obedience God is calling you to?”
Obedience is learned and for these college students, especially the new Christians, we need to teach them how to learn to be obedient. We are teaching them how to read the Bible, how to pray, how to know when God is telling you to do something, and how to do that within a community of people. In regard to baptism, the message is simple. If you are unwilling to be baptized you are probably unwilling to be obedient in other areas as well. However, if you drop everything to be obedient to God in baptism, you are setting yourself up to carry your cross daily for the rest of your life.
Join us in prayer as we ask the Lord to give these students a burning desire to be obedient to Him and that fire stays lit for the rest of their lives. Pray that their obedience is noticed by the people around them and pray that they never grow weary of following the Lord!