Baptist and Reflector
LEBANON — One church’s baptismal service recently impacted a sister Baptist church in a neighboring county.
Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon held a lake baptism service on July 2 at the Laguardo Recreation Center off Highway 109.
The church had eight candidates for baptism that day, said Lawrence Cole, minister of adults at Immanuel.
With the threat of oncoming thunderstorms, about 100 people gathered on the lakeshore and celebrated the eight people who were being baptized by John Hunn, pastor of Immanuel Baptist.
Cole noted that those at the recreation area who were not a part of the baptism service gave them space and respect while the baptisms were taking place.
Cole, who was in the water to assist the pastor, walked over to the group and met a young girl named Tiffany (last name withheld). Her mother was with Tiffany and gave Cole permission to talk with her daughter, he said.
“I asked Tiffany some basic questions of what she believed about Jesus and she responded with great clarity and confidence about Jesus forgiving her of her sins,” he related. “She had a sincere faith in Jesus and knew the gospel story but had never accepted it or professed it as her story,” Cole continued.
He shared some verses from the book of Romans and Tiffany affirmed her faith in Jesus and prayed a prayer asking for forgiveness and committing her life to Christ, Cole said.
Cole questioned Tiffany and her mother about where they attended church and they told him it was First Baptist Church, Portland. They mentioned the name of Bob Moon, minister of education at FBC, whom Cole knew quite well. He told the mother and daughter that he would contact Moon later that afternoon.
Tiffany’s mother gave permission for her daughter to be baptized right then so they walked over to the pastor and the rest of the Immanuel crowd. “Our people and pastor were ecstatic that we would baptize a young girl from the public gathered there that afternoon,” Cole said. Tiffany was baptized and Cole announced that it was her 9th birthday. “We celebrated her new birth story on her birthday. Her mom was all tears,” he said.
Cole called Bob Moon after the service and shared what had taken place. He knew Tiffany and affirmed that she was part of their local outreach ministries.
Moon said that he and Cole are part of a regional network of ministers of education who meet on a regular basis. “It was thrilling to hear my partner in ministry tell the story of Tiffany’s baptism,” he said.
It was also thrilling for the church to see a photo of Cole and Tiffany that he had sent to Moon. “Our congregation erupted in applause and affirmation as we shared that picture the following Sunday,” Moon said.
“First Baptist, Portland, joins hands with many churches in our city in reaching children. To join hands with a church that is an hour away is just that much more exciting,” he continued.
“Too much is at stake to not work together in the fields that are so incredibly white unto harvest. We celebrate our unity in the gospel,” Moon added.
Cole said the experience reminded him that this was a divine appointment. Tiffany had heard and understood the gospel message that had been presented to her at First Baptist Church, he said. “She was under conviction by the Lord. It was a God-planned moment,” Cole affirmed.
He also noted that the public evangelistic witness of baptism is valid and that it works.
“The Lord gets full credit for the baptism, not the individual churches. This was true Kingdom work and it is still to be completed in Tiffany’s life as she grows in the likeness of Christ,” he said.
“It is a joy to have a part in such things of God. It affirms our vocational calling to the ministry and our shared work in His Kingdom as Southern Baptists,” Cole added.