published : 2023-12-10

South Carolina Baptist Church Witnesses Unprecedented Number of Baptisms in a Single Sunday

'Never seen anything like this,' says Pastor Wayne Bray

Baptism ceremony at First Baptist Church of Simpsonville

In a remarkable display of faith, a Baptist church in South Carolina baptized 141 new believers on a single Sunday. The First Baptist Church of Simpsonville, a multisite church in Simpsonville, South Carolina, saw an overwhelming influx of believers following a month-long evangelistic series on 'church ordinances.'

Senior Pastor Wayne Bray expressed his astonishment at the unprecedented number of baptisms, stating, 'We have never seen anything like this in our church. To think that 141 people followed the Lord in baptism is truly unimaginable for me. I feel so blessed to be the pastor of Upstate Church.'

According to Pastor Bray, this surge in baptisms far exceeded their usual monthly average of 30 to 40. The church intentionally scheduled these baptisms for December as part of their series on the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper.

As the planned baptisms reached 86, the pastor's expectations were already surpassed. He shared, 'Our hope was to have someone scheduled for baptism in every service on every campus. By Friday, Dec. 1, we already had 86 baptisms scheduled across all our campuses.'

Pastor Wayne Bray speaking to the congregation at Upstate Church

Not only did the planned baptisms exceed expectations, but an additional 55 people made the decision to receive the sacrament on the same day. This remarkable response led to adjustments in how the baptism services were conducted.

Pastor Bray, along with a team of pastors, decided to deliver their sermons before the praise and worship sessions to manage the demand for baptism across all six church locations throughout the day. This approach allowed time for spontaneous decisions to be confirmed by counselors before the baptism ceremonies.

Reflecting on the recent growth of his congregation, Pastor Bray attributed it to a balance of truth and grace, drawing inspiration from Jesus' example. He shared, 'We don't believe that God's recent activity in our church is an accident or exception in His eternal plan. In many ways, we credit His recent work to a radical balance of truth and grace, exemplified by Jesus in John 1:14.'

The First Baptist Church of Simpsonville has seen a remarkable increase in membership, with a growth of 57% over the last decade. The church, which had 4,503 congregants in 2014, now boasts 7,091 members. This growth has prompted plans to open a seventh site in Laurens, South Carolina.

A group of newly baptized believers standing together in celebration

However, beyond the awe-inspiring number of baptisms, there is an equally beautiful story of church revival. Pastor Bray highlighted the church's multisite strategy of revitalizing dying churches that led to mergers with five different churches since 2018. These mergers, which often involved churches down to 20-30 attendees, have breathed new life into those congregations.

In conclusion, Pastor Bray emphasized the significance of the 141 baptisms by highlighting the impact of the merged campuses on this achievement. He stated, 'It's easy to celebrate 141 baptisms across all campuses on December 3 and miss something special. The new Upstate Church campuses that have launched from a merger represent 63 of those baptisms. That is beautiful.'