By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD — Roc Collins joined the staff of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board as director of evangelism in January with one purpose in mind — to see more Tennesseans come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Collins, director of evangelism for the TBMB, also had a strong desire to see the convention meet the evangelism/discipleship goal of seeing at least 50,000 Tennesseans annually saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship by 2024 (the first of 5 Objectives, a strategic 10-year plan, adopted by convention messengers in 2014).
“Our goal of 50,000 baptisms is an achievable goal,” he said. “It is a God-sized goal, but all things are possible with our Lord,” he added.
Collins soon discovered that it is hard to track exactly how many people are making salvation decisions.
For years the state convention has relied on the Annual Church Profile, but about 20 percent of the churches rarely complete those reports.
Also the ACP provides information only once a year, he noted.
“We need a more ‘real time’ update. We will not replace the ACP but we want to enhance our ability to track how we are progressing toward our goal,” Collins said.
In late March, Collins mailed a letter to every pastor in the state detailing a new plan on how to track the number of baptisms. William Maxwell, administrative director for the TBMB, mailed a similar letter to church treasurers.
The remittance form that is sent to churches will have a space for treasurers to report the number of baptisms the church has had since its last CP remittance, Collins noted.
Collins encouraged pastors and churches to submit their baptisms each month.
“This will give us an opportunity to keep Tennessee Baptists informed on how we are progressing toward our goal each month,” Collins said.
He stressed that “it is not just about the numbers. It is about souls and we want to celebrate each soul that accepts Christ each month,” Collins said.
“We are going to win Tennessee for Jesus and see 50,000 baptisms annually by 2024, if not before,” he said.