The newly elected executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) is calling on N.C. Baptist churches to “Fill the Tank” on Sept. 12, as part of a statewide emphasis on baptism.
Just two days after being elected as the state convention’s top executive, Todd Unzicker announced the initiative in his first address to the BSC’s board of directors during the board’s regularly scheduled May meeting.
“We’re going to fill the tanks and believe in faith that God is going to save people between now and that day,” Unzicker said.
Unzicker’s announcement drew widespread support from the nearly 70 board members and others in attendance at the meeting held May 24-25 at Fort Caswell, the state convention’s coastal retreat and conference center on Oak Island.
Meeting attendees signified their commitment to fill the tank by holding up pledge cards during a time of focused prayer for the lost and N.C. Baptist churches during the opening session of the meeting. Unzicker said he hopes every church in North Carolina will participate.
“This is something we should all be able to get behind,” Unzicker said. “After all, we’ve got ‘Baptist’ in our name. Baptism by immersion after conversion is the declaration of faith and identification with Christ.”
More information about the emphasis, including resources, a prayer guide and a form where churches can pledge to participate, will be released in the coming weeks through a special web site at fillthetankNC.org.
Unzicker also said he wants to celebrate what churches are doing to prepare leading up the event, as well as how God moves on Sept. 12.
“I hope that we can report afterward that we had the largest single day of baptisms ever in the history of North Carolina,” Unzicker said. “This is not a publicity stunt or a gimmick. Let’s dedicate this to prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of people.”
Several leaders from across the state said they support the initiative and plan to enlist support and commitments from other churches, as well.
“This emphasis is something the convention can rally around,” said board president Matt Capps, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Apex. “We pray that baptistries will not only be filled with water, but filled with people.”
Convention president Micheal Pardue, pastor of First Baptist Church Icard in Connelly Springs, said the emphasis is a reminder of one of Baptists’ doctrinal distinctives.
“‘Fill the Tank’ will not only bring excitement to our state, but it will also serve as a reminder of who we are as Baptists and what we are all about,” Pardue said. “I’m excited to join in this emphasis, and I hope churches from all over the state will join, not just because we are doing a baptism Sunday, but because God has called us to baptize people from all nations.”
Terry Stockman, associational mission strategist for the West Chowan Baptist Association in northeastern North Carolina, said he plans to encourage the 60 churches he serves in his association to fill their tanks on Sept. 12.
“There is no greater responsibility that we have as believers than to reach the world with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Stockman said. “To fill the baptistries of our churches on faith is a challenge worth having.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chad Austin serves as content strategist and editor at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)