Pastor Steven took away any excuse a person might have not to be baptized this weekend as Elevation Church did spontaneous baptisms at all 4 campuses this weekend. By spontaneous, I mean that attendees didn’t know about it, but the church had been planning on it for months.
“The next person who is baptized, may be you….you came here dry and you will leave wet,” Pastor Steven encouraged the church.
They provided new shorts, t-shirts, undergarments, hair products, towels, hair dryers, flip flops, etc for anyone who felt compelled to be baptized. They set up temporary private dressing quarters and hired armed security guards to watch over people’s private belongings. In case your family wasn’t there to witness your baptism, they hired professional photographers to take your picture. If you had plans after the service, he said, “Text your friends and tell them they’ve been bumped for Jesus. Invite them over.” After clearing away all obstacles and making it as easy as possible for people, Pastor Steven counted to three and said “Go”, urging people to walk out of the different auditoriums and head outside to be baptized.
And go they did. Over the course of the weekend 1426 people were baptized.
I think a defining moment occurred Saturday night at the Blakeney Campus. Keep in mind that the baptisms were happening outside. Long lines would form outside in the parking lot; expensive high def cameras were set up, speakers, electrical wires, all exposed to the elements. About three quarters through the service before people were released for baptism, a gully washer (that’s southern English for a big rain) poured down. The pelting could be heard inside the auditorium. To paraphrase Pastor Steven, he said that the rain wouldn’t slow us down and if you felt led by God to be baptized, that it shouldn’t slow you down either. He didn’t back down, sputter or hesitate. They would be moving forward with their plans. By the end of the service when he said “Go”, God stopped the rains.
I think God rewarded Pastor’s faith and his heartfelt desire to see people’s lives changed. I think Pastor Steven is special in many ways, but we all have this same opportunity with God to be blessed by our faithful perseverance. It comes down to what Pastor said this weekend. “Obey”. When we know what God has said about things, we should obey, even when obeying is difficult. I believe that if we can push through the valley and the darkness in obedience, we will break through to the light and see the mountaintop of that tough decision.
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