O’Fallon church baptizes 103 in spring crusade

Meredith Flynn —  May 5, 2014
After being baptized in a horse trough, David Vittetoe celebrates as John Howard, minister to students, assists. The troughs gave the church three locations to baptize the 103 people who came forward.

After being baptized in a horse trough, David Vittetoe celebrates as John Howard, FBC O’Fallon minister to students, assists. The troughs gave the church three locations to baptize the 103 people who came forward.

 

HEARTLAND | Lisa Sergent

Over a single weekend, more people were baptized at First Baptist, O’Fallon, than in all of 2013. The church’s crusade March 29-30 resulted in 103 baptisms, 17 salvation decisions, and 15 rededications.

Tom Dawson, FBC’s minister of adult education who helped organize the crusade, described it as “a wonderful event.” He called Texas evangelist Ronnie Hill “electric. He brought God’s Word straight to peoples’ hearts.”

Dawson said the church did “quite a bit of preparation” in the month before the crusade. Prayer, training, and logistics were key. Groups spent time praying for Hill and for those who would come and make decisions. Church members were trained to be “encouragers,” or counselors, to talk with people as they came forward.

Carol Cluff, adult ministries specialist, said the encouragers were trained a few days in advance of the crusade. “We wanted to make sure every person who stepped forward had someone to come with them, to talk with them about what prompted them to come forward, and to make sure they fully understood the commitment they were making.”

She noted many of those who were baptized had come to understand they had been “baptized out of order. Several people realized they had been baptized as a baby or even as a child without knowing Christ and wanted to be baptized now as believers in Jesus. Others had accepted Christ at youth events some time ago, but not taken that step.”

Sarah Schultz rejoices with Skip Leininger, associate pastor of FBC O’Fallon, after being baptized at the church’s March 29-30 crusade.

Sarah Schultz rejoices with Skip Leininger, associate pastor of FBC O’Fallon, after being baptized at the church’s March 29-30 crusade.

Hill urged the church to be ready to baptize people in each session and not make them wait until a later date. In anticipation of a large number of baptisms, the church made sure to have plenty of T-shirts, shorts and towels on hand. Plus, they placed two horse troughs filled with water on either side of the platform giving them three locations, including the baptistery, to baptize people in a single service.

“We were ready to baptize people on the spot,” Dawson said.

First Baptist has made follow-up a priority, stressing the importance of continued discipleship. In a series of follow-up actions, encouragers are keeping in touch with those they counseled and are connecting them with small groups within the church. As part of the effort, Senior Pastor Doug Munton is leading a special sermon series covering the Good News and the importance of baptism along with why Christians should share their faith and be fishers of men.

Munton is pleased with the crusade’s outcome. “We had a great crusade,” he shared. “The Gospel was preached clearly and the response was great. Many people trusted Christ as Savior and that never gets old to me. And, it was such a privilege to see more than 100 people follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.”

Leininger prepares to baptize Sonja Conrad.

Leininger prepares to baptize Sonja Conrad.

Dawson said church members are excited. The momentum continued into Easter as the church had its largest Easter Sunday worship attendance – 2,569 people.

“The crusade was wonderful,” said Cluff. “It lit us on fire.”

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.

2 responses to O’Fallon church baptizes 103 in spring crusade

  1. 
    Gloria Austin May 5, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I am a layperson in my church. I am so consumed with sorrow about “comfortable church” that I am sending out 100 letters to area pastors in Chicago “beseeching them” to recommit FROM comfortable church” to ” CONSUMED church- in our

    communites where our young peoples lives are being wiped out daily. The letter includes a sample pack of ethnic/age appropriate tracts, witnessing tools from Dr Charles Stanley, Dr Bill Bright, IBSA, Dr Greg Laurie. It contains instruction on training effective counselors for effective work and follow-up. It also includes resources for recording decisions and how to maintain those records. Lastly it recommends resources in providing help for those who come with various needs. The package is not accusatory nor disrespectful- but challanges the pastor and leadership to return to the “simple church” -removed from the myriad of programs, concerts, musicals, and so many other activites that consume a church calendar to the point that little if no room is left for the work that we are commanded to do- namely to”Go Ye…”

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  2. 

    Praise the Lord!! This is amazing and exciting news. May they all be blessed and begin their new life in the Lord in His powerful amazing Grace!!

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