SOPHIA, N.C. — North Carolina Baptists celebrated what is believed to be the highest number of baptisms in a single day in the history of the state during a meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) board of directors Sept. 27-28 at Caraway Conference Center.
N.C. Baptist churches have reported that 1,763 baptisms took place on Sunday, Sept. 12, which was designated Baptism Sunday in Baptist churches across the country. Based on available records and independent research by Baptist historians and state convention staff, that figure represents a record number of baptisms conducted on a single day in North Carolina history.
Previously, the most baptisms in a single day in the state was believed to be about 600 during the Sandy Creek revival era that began in the mid-1700s during the Great Awakening.
The historic announcement came during BSCNC’s Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker’s address to board members on the opening night of the two-day meeting. Four months earlier and just days after being elected as the state convention’s top executive, Unzicker stood before the same body and challenged churches to commit to a baptism emphasis that he called “Fill the Tank.”
Nearly 700 N.C. Baptist churches — about a quarter of churches that are actively participating with the Baptist state convention — committed to the “Fill the Tank” initiative. Baptism reports from those churches are still coming in.
“By God’s grace, we have seen more people profess Christ in one Sunday than in the history of the state,” Unzicker said. “I believe that is just the tip of the iceberg of what He wants to do through us as we’re on mission together.”
Unzicker’s vision since being elected as executive director-treasurer has been focused on the state convention being “a movement of churches on mission together,” a theme that was punctuated throughout his remarks to the board.
During his address, Unzicker shared the convention’s new organizational structure with board members for the first time since it was unanimously approved by the executive committee in late August. Those plans were the culmination of praying, listening, learning and planning, which is how Unzicker told board members in May that he would spend the first 100 days of his administration.
The state convention’s new structure emphasizes cultivating stronger relationships with N.C. Baptist churches, pastors, associations and associational mission strategists through a team of missions catalysts who will be based in geographic regions across the state. The state convention will also employ a team of ministry strategists to assist churches and associations with any specific ministry.
“We want to be your first and primary missions partner,” Unzicker said. “We’re going to take the Great Commission on our shoulders, and we’re going to work to accomplish the task.
“God is moving in what we are doing being on mission together, and I believe our best days are ahead.”