Pleasant Valley Community Church pastor Jamus Edwards made it simple for his congregation Sept. 15.
Pastor Jeremy Hatfield baptizes a young girl at Pleasant Valley Community Church, Owensboro, Ky., on Sept. 15.
After preaching, he walked down in front of a baptistery trough and asked a question.
“Here’s the water,” the Owensboro, Ky., pastor said. “What would prevent you from being baptized right now?”
In a spirit-led response, 28 came forward to be baptized in the church’s two services as the baptismal trough was put to good use over and over and over again. Edwards said it “blew our socks off. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.”
The pastor attributes the spontaneous baptisms to a church that is praying for revival. They are also excited for the Revival on the River, a big tent revival in downtown Owensboro, scheduled for Sept. 27, where four baptismal troughs will be in place in anticipation of more baptisms for that night as well.
“We’re hoping Sunday was a foretaste of what the Lord does here on the [Ohio] river,” he said.
Eight came forward in the first service, and 20 more followed in the second service on Sunday. The pastor’s evangelistic message stirred hearts and God did the rest in a congregation that Edwards says “has been praying for revival all year.”
He said most of the 28 who came forward were adults. “There were a few kids but it wasn’t all 7-year-olds. It was wonderful.”
It also inspired and motivated a congregation that is aiming toward the upcoming revival.
“We were just elated,” Edwards said. “It’s the result of months and months of praying. I didn’t preach an extra special sermon, nothing like that. God was being faithful. God was at work and answered prayers of the people.”
The sermon text came from Acts 8, the story with Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch who after hearing the good news of Jesus came upon water while traveling and asked to be baptized.
“Some of you have never been saved. Today Christ is calling you to trust Him, believe in Him,” Edwards preached. “Repent and be baptized. We know that being baptized doesn’t save us but in the New Testament, you believed and you were baptized. They didn’t wait six months. Are you going to obey this text today?”
Edwards said the church counsels before baptism to make sure everything is understood. He told them “some of you just got wet, some of you were sprinkled and some have never been baptized. Unless it was after your conversion, you just got wet. You need to obey Christ.”
The pastor said it was a plain and simple message. “We overcomplicate things,” he said. “I asked them ‘Today, why would you not obey Jesus in 10 minutes? Why do it next month.’ It was given a sense of immediacy and urgency.”
Edwards said he would try to have similar spontaneous baptismal services on a regular basis. “I think sometimes people talk themselves out of baptism.”
(See related baptism story.) Sept. 8 was Baptism Day in the Southern Baptist Convention.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Mark Maynard is managing editor of Kentucky Today, kentuckytoday.com, the news website of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.)