Most of you know me as the president of Fruitland Baptist Bible College, but from time to time, I have the opportunity to serve as an interim pastor. Since July 4, I’ve been serving at Shaws Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina. An interim pastorate allows me to help a church at a crucial time in its journey, and it keeps me in touch with what is happening in the local church.
When Todd Unzicker, the executive director-treasurer for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, announced the “Fill the Tank” baptismal emphasis for Sept. 12, I made a commitment to lead Shaws Creek in this endeavor. If there is anything that a church or convention should agree upon, it should be seeing people saved and baptized. However, on the Sunday that we made a congregational commitment to “Fill the Tank,” this thought occurred to me: “What if we have no one to baptize on Sept. 12?”
An interim pastor who has been at the church less than three weeks is only beginning to assess the spiritual readiness of a congregation. I certainly didn’t want to lead the church on a venture that would result in disappointment for them. Thankfully, my fears were short-lived.
At the end of the service in which we committed to “Fill the Tank,” a senior adult lady named Lois Wetmore spoke to me about her desire to be baptized. She had accepted Christ earlier in her life at a Billy Graham Crusade at Madison Square Garden and joined a Lutheran Church, but Lois was never baptized by immersion. Now she wanted to be. I assured her that I would be happy to baptize her on Sept. 12.
“Fill the Tank” provides a wonderful opportunity to obediently follow Christ in a meaningful baptism.
Donna Lord, another senior adult lady, contacted the church on Monday and said that she wanted to be baptized. In a follow-up conversation with her, I discovered that Donna had been baptized as a child, but later received Christ as her Savior. Donna views the upcoming baptism as a recommitment of her life to Christ and as an occasion to get her baptism on the correct side of her salvation experience.
God is so good! In less than 24 hours from committing to “Fill the Tank,” Shaws Creek has two precious believers to baptize. This experience has reminded me that there are people attending worship services who already know Christ, but have a sense of uneasiness about their previous baptismal experience or have not been baptized at all. “Fill the Tank” provides a wonderful opportunity to obediently follow Christ in a meaningful baptism.
I’ve always been amazed at what happens when God’s people rally around sharing the good news of the gospel, seeing people saved, and then seeing those new believers follow Christ in baptism. When God’s agenda becomes our agenda, the blessings from heaven flow in our direction.
In the words of Todd Unzicker, please be assured that Fruitland Baptist Bible College, Shaws Creek Baptist Church and David Horton are all glad to be part of “a movement of churches on mission together.”
Let’s “Fill the Tank” on Sept. 12!