How To Tell If You Are A Baptist — (You might be one and not know it!)

1. When you go to Las Vegas, Times Square, or New Orleans’ French Quarter, it’s to minister to people in the name of Jesus.

2. When you hear about a church fight, you say, “So, where’s the news?”

3. When you hear of a foreigner thrilled at getting his first Bible, you feel guilty. You own 33 of them.

4. When someone tells you that old joke about the sinking ship and the captain asking someone to do something religious and so the Baptist took up an offering, you say, “So, what’s the joke?”

5. You know at least a dozen funny things that happened during baptismal services.

6. You complain about the pastor’s long sermons, but you would feel cheated by one under 20 minutes.

7. You have at times envied the Episcopalians because their adults don’t have to go to Sunday School.

8. You have sometimes felt superior to the Episcopalians because you know more of your Bible than they do.

9. You think a church building ought to look like a church building.

10. You’d like a little more dignity in your preacher but you suspect he’s getting a little uppity when he wears a robe for weddings.

11. You laugh at jokes about “where you have two Baptists, you have three opinions,” but it touches a nerve and hurts a little.

12. You side with those who believe the Bible just exactly the way it’s written, but you’d like to see them act more like Jesus Christ in the process.

13. You don’t like fancy, written-out public prayers, but somebody ought to help your preacher and the deacons put a little more life and freshness and thought into theirs!

14. You believe every Christian ought to be a witness and even a soul-winner, and feel guilty because you aren’t.

15. You’d do anything to help build church attendance, except actually knock on the door of a newcomer and invite them to Sunday School.

16. When you do knock on their door and invite them, it floods your heart with joy. So much so, in fact, that it lasts for months.

17. You do not believe in little white lies, unless it’s at the church door and you’re telling the pastor what you thought of today’s sermon.

18. You wish they wouldn’t make all those announcements in the church service, but the times when they don’t, you get angry because you didn’t know about an important meeting.

19. You thnk people ought to be tolerant of other denominations and other religions, but how in the world anyone with a lick of sense could be a (fill in the blank here) is beyond you!

20. You treasure the independence of each church, but it does appear the denominational big-shots could straighten out those two churches in our town that have gone (charismatic, independent, liberal, whatever).

21. You hold the hymnal nearly up to the Bible in importance, but it sure is nice when the ministers put the words to the hymns on big screens so everyone can hold their heads up and sing with gusto.

22. You are perfectly willing to adjust your worship style to reach young people today, but you are offended when the preacher decides to deliver the sermon wearing denims and sneakers.

23. You like an occasional ‘amen’ or applause in a worship service, but it must be in moderation. Church should be neither a pep rally nor a funeral.

24. You do not feel like you’ve been to church if they don’t talk about Jesus, read the Scripture, or offer an invitation at the end.

25. You wish some people wouldn’t make you feel guilty about standing around and talking with other members, because fellowship is one of the main reasons you come to church.

A confession here: I grew up Free Will Baptist, the church of my parents; I went to the Methodist church as a child and graduated from a Methodist college; I joined a Southern Baptist church while in college, the denomination in which I’ve served ever since.

All of the above is offered in fun, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Much of it is the type of kidding we Baptists do with one another. I am well aware that much of it would apply in other denominations. You will notice that I avoided all the old lines about bringing casseroles to church. Those are funny, but I tried to find some fresh lines. If at any point, a light of recognition went on in your mind and you said, “Yes! I’m that way,” then I’m amply rewarded.

Feel free to go to the end of this article on our website and leave your comments and suggestions, as well as “fun” ways to tell if “you are a Baptist” or whatever group you are in.

8 thoughts on “How To Tell If You Are A Baptist — (You might be one and not know it!)

  1. You may be a Baptist if you are just SURE you read the verse in the Bible that said “When two or more meet in His name, you shall eat”!

    We Baptist have a meal for every occasion.

  2. Well, I scored a perfect 25 on this one. Now let’s have some real fun and put the name and or place with each one. Once again, “Thanks for the Memories!”

  3. If you are a Baptist you know all 300 verses to “Just as I Am”

    Baptist don’t like it when someone jumps up an shouts, could lead to dancing!

  4. Having been both, a major difference I see between Baptist and Methodist is that Methodists never ask the pastor to leave. They get the Bishop to do that.

    There are other stories, but I am a teetotaler and do not play golf, so can’t say one way or the other about those. . .

  5. Joe, as with your cartoons, your caricatures do well to capture us. As a Baptist, pastoring a Methodist Church, married to a Catholic, serving people of many denominational backgrounds in Western New York, I have had wonderful opportunities to see that your descriptions are indeed part of

  6. After those astute comments from my longtime friend Ken Watkins (who served MississippiState University a career-worth as director of the Baptist Student Ministry) now serving in New York State, I am prompted to add a note or two.

    1. On the subject of denominations, after Dr. Trevis Otey left the First Baptist Church of Jackson, TN, some years back, he went to work for one of the Christian fund-raising companies in Dallas. He was in our city one day and we had lunch. He told me he was working with a Nazarene church and some other denomination, and then he said, “You know what I’ve found out, McKeever? God has some pretty special people who are not Baptists.” We both laughed at the obviousness of that, yet as people who have spent our entire lives in the Baptist labyrinth just now making the discovery.

    2. I was going to be doing a wedding with a local Catholic priest. In the rehearsal, we decided he would read a particular passage of Scripture. He said, “I’ll type that out tomorrow and include with my notes.” I said, “It would be easier to photocopy it.” He said, “I would never dishonor God’s Word by reading from a photocopied Scripture.” I’m still smarting over that.


  7. Being a life-long SBC’er myself I wonder a couple of things.

    First, why do men’s breakfast’s on Sunday mornings have to be at odd times like 7:01 and 7:24. Perhaps the uniqueness helps the memory?

    Second, I always find it interesting that many Baptist Ministers want nothing more than to strike the word ‘Baptist’ from their church name.

    Finally, no matter what time of year, there’s a series of sermons on the way…

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