Revival Flames Burn Brightly in North Carolina: 282 Baptized at Church Service and Outdoor Event
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Almost 300 people were baptized Sunday at morning worship services and at a planned outdoor event hosted by one Arden, North Carolina church.
The Biltmore Church, a Baptist megachurch with seven campuses across the Tar Heel State, hosted an outdoor lake baptism event that had hundreds of people responding to the gospel call.
The church told CBN News in an email there were three people baptized during the church's Sunday morning services in addition to the 279 at the Outdoor Baptism for a total of 282 baptisms.
"Outdoor Baptism is something we do annually and we have been announcing it for about six weeks to our congregation. While we were amazed by the number of those who were baptized we know that God has the power to do incredible things," the church said.
Lead Pastor Bruce Frank posted the results of both morning services and the outdoor baptism event.
"Awesome day as we saw 282 people profess faith in Christ thru baptism @biltmore! #wnc #baptism #solideogloria," Frank wrote.
"Seeing 279 people profess Jesus as Lord through our annual Outdoor Baptism was incredible! I’m always amazed as I hear all of the stories of God at work in each person’s life," Pastor Frank told CBN News in a statement. "Baptism is a great step for a Christ-follower, and our staff is excited to continue to guide each person as they continue their discipleship journey."
Baptist 'Membership' Falls, but Baptisms Are Up
The Biltmore Church is affiliated with the Nashville, Tennessee-based Southern Baptist Convention.
As CBN News reported last May, an Annual Church Profile report shows the total membership of the Southern Baptist Convention has fallen to its lowest number since the late 1970s.
Lifeway Research, which conducted the church profile with the cooperation of Baptist state conventions, reports the current total membership of Southern Baptist congregations is 13,223,122, which is down from 13,680,493 in 2021.
That's the SBC's largest single-year numerical drop in more than 100 years. "Much of the downward movement we are seeing in membership reflects people who stopped participating in an individual congregation years ago and the record keeping is finally catching up," said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
But while memberships are dropping, baptisms are soaring. The annual SBC profile revealed that, for the second year in a row, baptisms and giving increased among Southern Baptist congregations. In-person worship service and small group attendance also rebounded.
Following the pandemic, SBC congregations saw the return of new in-person worshippers. More than 3.8 million individuals attended a Southern Baptist congregation on an average weekend in 2022, a 5% increase over the 3.6 million who did so in 2021, Lifeway reported.
As more people gathered in person, they witnessed more baptisms. In 2022, Southern Baptist congregations baptized 180,177 people, a 16% increase over 2021, the profile said.
Reports of People Giving Their Lives to Jesus Christ Continue
Meanwhile, baptisms of college students are on the rise at two different universities.
As CBN News reported last week, a Texas youth pastor says an outpouring of revival is taking place among college students at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and it shows "no signs of slowing down" as hundreds have already given their lives to Jesus and others are getting water baptized almost daily.
Tarik Whitmore, the young adult pastor at New Life Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, told CBN News he is seeing a movement among college students who are getting saved and then boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ with the student body.
The result is a campus being transformed for Jesus – and it is happening quickly.
Whitmore says for that entire spring semester he was opening the church late at night to baptize students. "I'm just the guy with the keys at that point," he shared jokingly.
The Texas A&M Corpus Christi alum says for more than a year, students have been coming, almost weekly, to get baptized.
Students at Auburn University located in Auburn, Alabama, are testifying that God also moved at an event last week that still has them "speechless and in awe."
As CBN News reported, thousands of students at the secular university packed out Neville Arena on Sept. 12 to worship and praise Jesus, but an impromptu baptism that started with one student wanting to be baptized grew to roughly 200 people who decided to give their lives to Christ.
"I've seen Auburn basketball beat Kentucky. I've seen Auburn football beat Alabama, but I have never seen something like I did Tuesday night," Auburn University senior Michael Floyd told WFSA-TV.
More than 5,000 people showed up to Unite Auburn's "Night of Worship". The campus ministry's outreach was created to bring the Alabama school's Christian community together for a night of worship. It featured guest speakers New York Times Best Selling Author Jennie Allen and Pastor Jonathan Pokluda, and worship was led by Passion Music.
Allen shared on Instagram that toward the end of the night, she felt led to ask students if they wanted to be baptized, and dozens raised their hands.
There wasn't a tub available to baptize the students, so thousands of people headed over to a lake at Auburn's Red Barn.
"They circled the lake and 6-10 of us were in the water baptizing hundreds," Allen described.
Even Auburn's head football coach Hugh Freeze got in the water to help, according to WSFA.
"People surrounded the lake 'til almost midnight hearing the stories of life change and shouting and cheering and praying together. God is moving and He isn't stopping," Allen said.
Jeremy Napier, the chaplain for the Auburn men's basketball team, told The Gazette, "It was not planned at all. I think this was a spontaneous decision at the very end where we just said, 'Let's go for it.'"
Auburn student and journalist, Kristen Carr, witnessed what happened and told WFSA-TV it was something she had never seen before.
"Never in my life," she expressed. "I was even talking to adults who were there and they said they had never witnessed anything like that."
"God is doing something on Auburn's campus," Allen told The Observer. "This was a part of a bigger story that's happening here."
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