By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
KNOXVILLE – Faith Promise Church here baptized 105 new believers on Sunday, April 23.
The baptisms came following 331 professions of faith between April 12 and Easter Sunday, April 16. During that time frame the church held 42 services in eight locations, said Pastor Chris Stephens. He noted 16,432 people attended the services.
Stephens said church members were encouraged to invite only lost people on Easter Sunday. As a result the church had 500 registered first-time guests that day, he noted.
During the services held April 23 on eight campuses (including two prisons in Morgan County and Bledsoe County) people who had made salvation decisions but had not been baptized also were encouraged to get baptized that morning, the pastor said.
Stephens stressed that the church does not baptize children until they have been through a class. “We are hard line on that. … They need to understand what salvation is.”
While Stephens was expecting more to be baptized, he definitely was not disappointed. “We had 105 people transformed. It was a glorious weekend,” he said.
In addition, there are still more than 200 new believers scheduled to be baptized over the next six weeks, Stephens added.
During the first four months of the year, Faith Promise has baptized about 250 people (including those on April 23), he said.
“We are grateful to God as we are watching Him transform lives.”
Steve Pearson, evangelism specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, attended the April 23 service at Faith Promise.
“It was a spectacular service,” he noted. “I have been to several ‘all come, mass baptism’ services. This was done with excellence.”
Pearson said he was impressed with how Faith Promise “made a big deal” about each baptism. “We need to do a better job in our churches of celebrating this huge moment in a person’s life,” he said.