AZTEC (BNM) - During the 2019 calendar year, First Baptist Church, Aztec baptized 93 men, women, and children. Pastor Mike Napier credits God’s faithfulness to answer prayer as the primary catalyst for the church’s growth.
In a phone interview with the Baptist New Mexican, Napier explained the church’s evangelism and discipleship strategy, with one word: “prayer.”
Each Tuesday from 5:30 am to 5:30 pm, First Baptist opens the church building for “Tuesday Time of Prayer,” a time when church members gather to repent of their sins and pray for revival and spiritual awakening in Aztec and the broader Four Corners region. According to Napier, the ministry averages 20 people each week. “Those times of prayer have been the catalyst for what God is doing in this area. We are seeking Him and He is being faithful as the almighty God to pour out His Spirit and answer prayer. It’s really amazing,” Napier said.
In addition to weekly prayer time, 13 members of First Baptist, known as “worship center intercessors,” each take responsibility for two or three rows of seating the church sanctuary. According to Napier, each intercessor commits to praying over their rows once per week and again on Sunday morning. The intercessors ask God to fill the seats of their rows with people who have never been to First Baptist, and who need to hear the Gospel. On Sunday mornings, intercessors and their families sit in the same rows to interact with and pray for guests.
First Baptist also hosts a time of visitation with Napier and his wife Cindy after each service. The church provides guests with welcome gifts - soda, candy, and a church mug. They are also encouraged to visit with Napiers and set up a time during the next week to meet with pastor Napier, where he presents the Gospel.
New believers receive immediate follow-up and intentional discipleship. Napier walks each individual through John 10:27-30, before presenting them with a New Believer’s Bible. Then, Napier encourages the new believer to attend a Sunday School class and weekly worship services, and join the church’s New Believer’s class. Finally, Napier schedules a time for the individual to be baptized. Before baptism, he walks each person through a detailed tour of the baptistry and explains the process and purpose of the sacrament.
During baptisms, Napier said he also looks out over the church body and asks, “Who will be next? Is it you sitting here today? … Is it someone you need to go share Jesus with? Is it a co-worker, a neighbor, a family member, or a stranger that God is going to bring into your life this week? Will they be next to stand in these baptismal waters and follow Christ in believer’s baptism? Let’s take that question to the Father right now; who will be next to follow Him in baptism?”
Napier told BNM that he is “putting to work very basic biblical principles,” that he learned while leading an evangelism seminar called “Beginning with the End in Mind.” Napier said that when Christians begin with the end in mind, they must ask, “what is the end? [It is] souls being saved [and] lives being changed. That is the end result we want … if that’s our end result, what are the steps leading up to that, which we need to take? That’s what we’re doing as a church,” Napier said.
Before becoming the pastor of First Baptist Church, Aztec, Napier served as state director of evangelism for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Before that, he was state director of evangelism and discipleship for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. Napier was called to First Baptist on Jan. 20, 2019.