Baptist and Reflector
Such was the case at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville. “Like many, we have grown weary of all of the cancelations and postponements,” said senior pastor Bruce Chesser. “So, we have told our ministry team, ‘Stop focusing on what we cannot do and let’s figure out what we can do.’
“We have told them to think outside the box” he added. As a result, several ministry opportunities have resulted from this way of thinking, said Chesser, who also is serving as president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
Throughout the March-April quarantine we continued to faithfully preach the gospel every week through our webpage and Facebook options, the pastor noted. “As we resumed meeting in June we continued to see people saved and make significant spiritual decisions for the Lord.”
Chesser said the church continued to offer its New Christians class for children. Soon the church had several who were ready to be baptized and they began promoting meeting in a city park and a baptism service in old Hickory Lake for Aug. 23, he recalled.
The pastor originally thought there would be eight to 10 people who would want to be a part of an outdoor baptism. But the number soon started to grow and grow, he noted. “I started praying that we might have 30 who would be baptized. I asked the church to pray with me. We hit 30 and the number kept climbing. By Sunday morning, Aug. 23 we had 49 people on the list to be baptized at the lake and one that would be baptized that Sunday morning in one of our worship services — 50 in all!”
It turned out that there were a couple of people with sickness and they were unable to be there, but there was also a couple of other people that Sunday morning at church that asked if they could be baptized that evening. After talking with them about their faith in Christ, we added them to the list, Chesser recalled.
“We began the baptism service with an explanation of why a person is baptized in the first place. People all over the park and across the way at one of the local boat launches heard the gospel explained,” Chesser said.
Chesser and other First Baptist ministers began baptizing people in multiple areas in the lake. “As I was preparing to close with a gospel presentation a gentleman about 60 years old wearing cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, a leather vest and jeans walked up to me. He had been in church that morning and a week or two prior. I had seen him, but I had never met him. He asked me if he could be baptized.
“I asked him to tell me about his life and his walk with the Lord. He told me that his life had taken a lot of turns but that he knew that Jesus was God’s Son who died on the cross for His sins and he wanted to publicly commit his life to following Jesus.”
The man had not brought any clothes to change into but that did not deter him, the pastor said. He took off his boots, hat and vest and jumped into the water. “In front of a park full of people, he was baptized as a follower of Jesus Christ, joining 50 others, from the age of 7 to 79 who were baptized that day.” B&R