Baptisms sign of church's evangelism success
LAKE CHARLES, La. (BP) -- Trinity Baptist Church planned to baptize 24 people one Sunday, as a special celebration of how God has blessed the congregation's evangelism efforts this year.
But by the time the last person came out of the baptismal waters, 46 had been baptized. They join 108 others who have been baptized this year at the church in Lake Charles, La.
"No one wanted to leave," he noted. "They wanted to see God moving."
The special emphasis, designated as Declaration Celebration, was promoted by the staff for several months.
Nine new believers were scheduled for baptism during the first worship service on June 28, with 15 slated in the second. But time also was reserved for additional baptisms, and, just in case, Trinity Baptist pastor Steve James brought a bag with T-shirts, shorts and towels to accommodate those who made decisions that day.
The newly baptized members represented a broad range of ages and other demographics, including four married couples and a grandfather and his grandson.
Among those baptized were Josh and Sarabeth Price who felt led to take that step together as husband and wife.
"I told Josh that this was something we needed to do together as a family," she said. "This is something that if we have children we will be able to share with them,and that's exciting. This was so special because it's a milestone for us."
Josh Price said that day was one he will never forget.
For Mike Willis, seeing so many people he knew come forward to declare their faith in Christ through believer's baptism made Declaration Celebration particularly special.
His son already was on the roster to be baptized that day, but when Pastor James invited others to accept Christ, Willis' younger brother not only responded but asked to be baptized that day, too.
Willis knew others who came forward during the service, including a co-worker and his neighbor's wife, and said tears were flowing by the end of the service.
"It was powerful to see that take place," he said. "The Spirit moved like never before at that church."
The Declaration Celebration came on the heels of an already busy year of evangelism for the church.
More than 2,000 attended Trinity Baptists' Real Encounter event in April that featured high-speed motorcycle stunts and a Gospel presentation. There, 194 accepted Christ.
During a special student ministry event called EPIC, 350 youth attended, with 18 making salvation decisions.
Then, at the church's Vacation Bible School, 1,218 children registered, with 22 of them declaring Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Bath said seeing so many people respond to the call for baptism reflects an attitude of wanting to proclaim the Gospel to a fallen world.
"At Trinity as a whole, we aim to share the Gospel," Bath said. "We aim to share the Gospel with all who come on our campus and everyone in the community and this represents what we're about. It represents who we are."