NEW ORLEANS — Seventeen people went all in for Jesus on June 10, participating in believer’s baptism during a block party at Celebration Church’s Lower St. Bernard campus in Violet, Louisiana.
One by one, each person came in and out of a water-filled portable trough and was greeted with applause during the church’s first-ever Jesus Fest block party. According to pastor Trevor Truitt, 13 who were baptized made a decision during the block party and four others already had planned on participating in baptism.
Additionally, 19 children made a decision at the block party and will be contacted for follow-up.
“We knew God was a part of this and He just blew our mind,” Truitt told the Louisiana Baptist Message. “Our church is very evangelistically driven and understands what it means to be a fan of Jesus but not a follower. Because of that, we understand the need to win others for Jesus and help them grow deeper in the faith.”
Truitt said he was grateful for each person who stirred the baptistery waters during the Jesus Fest block party that featured gospel presentations, games, inflatables, face painting, cotton candy, music and food vendors.
The evangelistic event was a combined effort by Celebration’s campuses of Lower St. Bernard in Violet and St. Bernard/Ninth Ward in Arabi and utilized 135 volunteers.
Celebration Church, which has 10 campuses in New Orleans and the Northshore areas, also held block parties at its Mandeville/Covington and Metairie locations. The event was co-sponsored by the North American Mission Board Serve Tour, an effort that sought to involve participants June 9–10 in compassion ministry projects in Houma and New Orleans as the foundation for evangelism.
‘Prayer was huge’
Truitt said prayer was a catalyst for the decisions made.
Members from both campuses gathered every Tuesday for four weeks before the event.
While we did a lot of planning, prayer was huge,” Truitt said. “We knew it would be hot and prayed at our first prayer gathering that God would give us clouds to make it cooler. But when we saw the forecast today of rain, we prayed more for less clouds. And thankfully God kept the rain away and we had a great time.”
Jesse Tello and his adult daughter, Chelsie, were among those who were baptized during the block party.
After turning from a 28-year drug addiction, Tello visited Celebration Church’s St. Bernard/Ninth Ward campus in 2013 and found Jesus. However, he never took that next step of baptism.
“I have been wanting to do it at church but felt it wasn’t the right time,” he said. “I found out we were doing baptisms at the block party and knew this was the day. This was like a cleansing. It was a reminder of what Jesus did for me.”
Chelsie, who made a decision during the block party, was in tears as she followed her father in baptism.
“I finally made the connection of what Jesus did for me,” she said. “This was a breath of fresh air. And it’s something I will always remember as a once-in-a-lifetime moment.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was written by Brian Blackwell and is part of the team coverage of Crossover and Serve Tour events by staff members from the Baptist Message, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, The Alabama Baptist and The Baptist Paper.