A Baptist church in South Carolina baptized 141 new believers last Sunday, a feat that its pastor remarked was "unimaginable."
First Baptist Church of Simpsonville, a multisite church in Simpsonville, South Carolina, welcomed the influx of believers following a month-long evangelistic series on "church ordinances," the Baptist Press reported this week.
Senior Pastor Wayne Bray told the outlet, "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 Bray, this number of new baptisms dwarfed the typical 30 to 40 baptisms the six-site church has per month, though his church did push November baptisms to December to fit in with its "series on the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper," he claimed.
"While planning, we discussed the possibility of making an extra effort to follow up on all past decisions and schedule everyone we could for the Dec. 3 baptism."
Still, the pastor stated that the 86 baptisms that were scheduled for Dec. 3 exceeded his expectations. He said, "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."
"This was overwhelming, but it gave us even more confidence to preach the Gospel on Sunday, expecting the Holy Spirit to move," he added.
On top of the 86 scheduled baptisms, 55 more people decided to receive the sacrament on the day of the Dec. 3 services.
Bray, along with more than a dozen other pastors, preached their sermons before praise and worship to be able to handle the demand for baptism across each of the church’s six locations throughout the day.
The strategy "allowed time for all spontaneous decisions to be confirmed by counselors prior to being baptized," Bray noted, adding, "We were very careful to make sure every decision was confirmed, turning away multiple people who needed more time to talk through their decision."
The pastor stated that "God has certainly been doing something special these past few years" upon reflecting on how his congregation has grown recently. "We’ve baptized 400 new believers since the beginning of 2022," he said.
The total membership at the church has increased 57% in the last decade. In 2014, there were 4503 congregants and now there are 7091. The growing congregation has prompted plans to open a seventh site in Laurens, South Carolina.
Pastor Bray told Fox News Digital, "We don’t believe that God’s recent activity in our church is an accident of an 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."
He continued, "Part of the beauty of our church’s multisite strategy is a desire to bring dying churches back to life. We have merged with 5 different churches since 2018 that have become campuses of Upstate Church. These churches most often were down to 20-30 attendees, but they longed to see their church brought back to life."
The pastor concluded, "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."