Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
Blog Number 30
July 27, 2020
NY Mets, Baptisms and Confirmation
On Friday it finally happened. The New York Mets began their season. In this crazy time of Covid we all had to wait four months longer than usual to begin the baseball season. It was hard for some of us. The outcome was quite predictable: the Mets won. No, I am not being snobby now. Statistics bear me out. With 39 opening day wins and 29 opening day loses, their opening day winning percentage is .661. Every opening day we fans know that we have a good chance of watching a win. It is the rest of the season that is frequently a problem.
In their history the Mets have won six national league east titles, five national league championships and appeared in five World Series contests. Of these five they have only won two. I appreciate the Mets wonderful starting record but would trade it to have the Mets get into more post season games and win more of these games. It is good to start in first but it is far better to finish in first.
I find my frustration with the NY Mets to be similar to my frustration the mainline church that I have known all my life. We are extremely good at Baptisms, fairly good at Confirmations, but not so good at creating disciples who sustain. Since I can remember, parents have come to have their children baptized, promised the elders that they will be participating Christians, but quickly fade away. Likewise, young people promise the church at confirmation that they will be active in the congregation but they leave the moment they are confirmed. Even families leave left after their children are no longer in Sunday School.
Somehow we have not learned how to make disciples of our young people to retain them throughout their lives. We have good starts but in the long run, little results. I have prayed and thought about how to change this but have never found a way to reverse this trend. Perhaps we have been too quick to baptize and confirm. Maybe we need to require more and do more adult mentoring and discipleship building.
I don’t have the answer but many baptisms and few disciples is about as satisfying as a great opening day record with few World Series appearances to show for it. I hope that all of us who are disciples of Jesus can prayerfully consider how we can reverse this trend, it does not do the church of Christ any good to continue doing things as we have always done them.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/