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First Baptist Woodstock baptizes 99, sends whole congregation after the 1

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Ninety-nine new believers were baptized at First Baptist Church of Woodstock on Sunday, including this smiling child who was immersed by Jason Graves, a global missions pastor.

By ROGER ALFORD
The Christian Index

WOODSTOCK, Ga. – Pastor Jeremy Morton sees an important gospel lesson in the 99 people baptized at First Baptist Church of Woodstock on Sunday.

“Jesus talks about leaving the 99 and going after the one,” Morton said. “I’m asking everyone at Woodstock to identify their one, to pray for their one, and to come up with a plan to share the gospel with their one.”

Sunday’s baptisms coincided with the church’s kickoff of the Who’s Your One evangelism initiative that was launched last year by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.

Johnny Hunt, the former pastor at First Baptist Woodstock who now serves as senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at NAMB, returned to the church Sunday, preaching about the Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8 who was baptized immediately after he understood the gospel and believed.

That sermon triggered a morning of spontaneous baptisms.

Although Morton said none of the baptisms had been scheduled ahead of time, the church had the baptistries filled just in case. They also had changes of clothes and hairdryers on hand.

“It was just one of those days that the Spirit of God settled over the service,” Morton said. “I pray we will get to see another glorious day like this sometime. It was unforgettable.”

Hunt, the driving force behind Who’s Your One, said NAMB has produced a kit that provides pastors with resources to help kick start what’s hoped to be a wave of personal evangelism in the churches that take advantage of the initiative. He sees it as a way to get Southern Baptists “back to our roots as a gospel-focused people.”

Morton said additional baptisms have already been scheduled at Woodstock for the next few weeks for more people who made professions of faith on Sunday.

First Baptist Woodstock has long been one of Georgia’s most evangelistic churches, typically baptizing more than 200 people per year and, in some years, far more. In 2012, the church baptized 572 people.

Even so, Morton said Sunday’s spontaneous baptisms were thrilling.

“We baptized people of all nationalities,” Morton said. “We baptized husbands and wives, teenagers, every demographic and age range. I wish it could happen every Sunday.”

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