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Tampa Church Baptizes Nearly 1,000 People On the Beach: 'There is A Wave of Revival Coming'

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Massive water baptisms are becoming a marker of how God is moving mightily among churches across the country. Grace Family Church in Tampa, Florida is the latest example as nearly 1,000 men, women, and children were baptized at Fort De Soto Beach recently.

It all began on Easter Sunday when the church decided to do something a little bit different to celebrate Christ's resurrection. 

"We didn't want a traditional Easter service. We wanted something where we could invite Tampa Bay to be a part of the biggest church service people had ever seen,"  Daryl Black, Associate Pastor of Grace Family Church, told K-Love.

"We didn't know what to expect," he added. "We were praying for God to have a really big move."

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The church had invited more than 30,000 people to Raymond J Stadium where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play and the place was packed. 

"It was amazing to see it happen and be a part of that experience," Black described.

Legendary former NFL coach Tony Dungy shared a message with the crowd. 

"My mom was a Sunday school teacher, so I heard the word about Jesus. I accepted Christ into my life, but I was just living to be an athlete and a student," he shared. 

"I got to the Steelers. I was 21 years old and there were about 15 guys on the team that said, 'You can't just do it this way. You can't just have a uniform and be on the sidelines. You got to get in the game. You got to play. You got to put God first in your life all the time.' And that's when I kind of changed my life around," Dungy continued. 

The church's lead pastor, Craig Altman, also shared about the true meaning of Easter. 

"The greatest comeback was Jesus Christ was crucified and buried and for three days he was dead. They thought all hope was lost, but then God resurrected him from the dead. And that's symbolic for us, that God can raise us up into a new life and brings a lot of hope," Altman told local media outlet Fox News 13.

What took place next could only be described as something out of the book of Acts. More than 1,200 people ran out of their seats to the stadium floor responding to the call to give their lives to the Lord.  

"All over the stadium people were coming to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ," Black shared. 

As a result of the response, the church decided to host a public baptism at Fort De Soto Beach two weeks later. 

"Imagine this. It's Sunday at the beach. It's a beautiful afternoon and before you know it the beach is taken over by all of these church people. We're having worship...we're talking about Jesus. We're having fun. We are shouting and praising God and before you know it people are walking into the water with their whole families being baptized," Black described. 

In total, 947 people gave their lives to Jesus Christ.

"I baptized so many people that my back was hurtin' when I was done," Black recalled. "But it was worth it."

Black added that even beachgoers were responding to the message of Jesus Christ and those floating on buoys in the water were asking if they could get baptized too.

"Yes, you can," Black told them. "Do you know Jesus? Let me introduce you to Him and you can get baptized right now."

Black shared with K-LOVE that the church is following up with those who were baptized by encouraging them to take part in a discipleship program. 

He added that he feels this is only the beginning of a bigger movement that is getting ready to take place. 

"There is a wave of revival that is coming. Bigger than what we've ever seen before," Black said. "Young people really want the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's more than just the religion. It's more than just rituals. It is a real relationship."

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.