By Mark A. Taylor
As Jennifer Taylor indicated in her blog May 6, it’s easy to be cynical about bandwagons. But most of us will agree with her that it’s difficult to argue with the results of what may become a trend in Christian churches: spontaneous baptism weekends.
So far we’ve heard about a half-dozen churches that have hosted these events. The preacher presents Bible teaching about baptism and then invites anyone in the crowd who hasn’t been baptized to come forward on the spot. The churches don’t make provision for changing rooms and robes. Those who respond are immersed in their street clothes in an act of selfless commitment.
The results have been thrilling; perhaps astounding is a better word. We’ve reported some of these before, but a summary is in the chart.
And the numbers are just the beginning. Most stirring and delightful are the stories from these days.
Jeff Vines at San Dimas tells of an 80-year-old longtime church member who said with trembling voice and a tear running down his cheek, “I’ve been going to church all my life and I’ve never experienced this before. All these people . . .”
Another senior citizen was among those baptized at Mountain Christian Church. With “trembling lips,” just before she was lowered in baptism, she said, “Jesus, I’m sorry I kept you waiting so long.”
Jud Wilhite in Las Vegas “watched college students, CEOs, soccer moms, bikers, models, entrepreneurs, and every other kind of person you could imagine climb into cold water in their street clothes with no regard for themselves, for their clothes, or for their appearance—only Jesus.”
Phil Coleman led worship at the Whitewater Crossing baptismal service. He called it a “God moment” when “time seemingly stood still.” He describes the scene: “People were singing, crying, shouting out, clapping, praying, standing, kneeling, embracing. . . . It was a spiritual encounter most, if not all, had never witnessed.”
Likely more will witness times like these, because Jennifer’s right; church leaders have trouble resisting a bandwagon. But when those bandwagons are moving in response to Bible teaching and the Holy Spirit’s prodding, we do well to encourage others to jump onboard.
For more details about these baptism stories, visit the archives and those for each of our bloggers who post there.