Pastor's call to baptism fans 'sparks of revival'
MOBILE, Ala. (BP) -- Shane Hale says in hindsight he can see God's hand in it.
Hale's a realtor who sold a house to Alan Floyd as Floyd was moving to Mobile, Ala., to pastor Cottage Hill Baptist Church four and a half years ago.
Hale remembered Floyd and searched and found the pastor's sermons online.
"Alan was doing a sermon on Jonah and taking the next step in your faith and I knew God was talking to me," Hale said.
It was a Saturday and Hale was listening to the previous Sunday's message -- a message in which Floyd was inviting anyone in the church who wanted to be baptized to take the step the following Sunday.
Hale knew he wanted to. So he messaged Floyd, told him what was going on in his life and asked if he could be baptized too.
Floyd called Hale and talked through his relationship with Christ; Floyd said yes and Hale was baptized the next day.
And along with him, 40 others were baptized the morning of March 12 in two portable baptisteries in the church atrium.
"It was indeed a great day for Cottage Hill," Floyd said. "I believe it to be a spiritual marker in the life of the church."
Greg Golden, pastor of media ministries/prayer, said it was an encouraging time for all.
"The excitement level was so high getting to watch obedient people committing their lives fully to what Jesus is doing in them and in our city," Golden said.
When the main service ended and moved out to the atrium for the baptisms, nearly everyone stayed, Golden said. "People packed in and lined the staircases and the balcony to watch."
One of those people was Cindy Hubbart, who watched both her teenage daughters get baptized that morning.
"We had been going to church more and I've been really trying to get them into their Sunday School and youth group," Hubbart said of Victoria, 16, and Faith, 13. "They told me I wasn't allowed to cry, but I'll tell you, mama teared up. It was amazing -- that's the best word I can use to describe it."
Meredith Nations, who also was baptized that morning, said it was like "a big church pep rally.
"I had been floundering about whether or not my salvation experience was the 'real deal,'" she said. "I was ready to make a firm commitment to the Lord and I knew that baptism was a statement letting everyone know whose team I am on."
The Sunday of the Jonah sermon, she prayed God would give her peace in her salvation and help her to take that first step of obedience in baptism.
"I feel peace and joy knowing that my salvation is secure," Nations said. "It was a blessing to have many of my family members and life group sisters there to witness it."
Golden said it was "a very unifying time" as church members got to see their friends make that commitment.
Floyd agreed. "For several months, we have seen the sparks of revival in the church but this helped fan the flame."