Over 280 People Find Faith and Get Baptized in Arden, North Carolina

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Photo: Twitter Screenshot - Bruce Frank

Nearly 300 individuals experienced a profound moment of faith on a recent Sunday in Arden, North Carolina, as the Biltmore Church, a Baptist megachurch with multiple campuses across the state, hosted a remarkable outdoor baptism event. 

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The church reported that a total of 282 people were baptized that day, with three baptisms taking place during their regular Sunday morning services and the remaining 279 at the Outdoor Baptism.

The Biltmore Church had been announcing the Outdoor Baptism event to their congregation for about six weeks prior to the day. In a statement, Lead Pastor Bruce Frank expressed his amazement at the turnout, emphasizing the power of God to bring about incredible transformations in people’s lives. He celebrated the 282 individuals who professed their faith in Christ through baptism, recognizing it as a significant step in their discipleship journey.

This event is a testament to the continued significance of baptism in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Despite a decline in SBC membership numbers over recent years, the number of baptisms is on the rise. According to the Annual Church Profile report, SBC membership reached its lowest point since the late 1970s. Lifeway Research, which conducted the study, noted a decrease from 13,680,493 members in 2021 to 13,223,122 in the latest report.

However, this decline in membership doesn’t tell the whole story, as many people who had ceased attending individual congregations in past years were only recently removed from the records. Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, clarified that this trend reflects a historical cleanup of membership rolls rather than a sudden mass exodus.

Interestingly, despite the membership decline, Southern Baptist congregations have seen an upswing in baptisms and giving for the second consecutive year. In-person worship services and small group attendance have also rebounded since the pandemic, signaling a positive trend in church attendance and engagement.

The return of in-person worshipers has directly contributed to an increase in baptisms. In 2022, Southern Baptist congregations baptized 180,177 people, marking a 16% increase over the previous year. These figures reflect a growing commitment to faith and engagement within the SBC.

Beyond the Biltmore Church event, there have been reports of similar movements of faith at universities. In Corpus Christi, Texas, college students have been experiencing a revival, with hundreds committing their lives to Jesus and many seeking baptism. Tarik Whitmore, a young adult pastor at New Life Church, shared how he often opened the church late at night to baptize these enthusiastic students.

Meanwhile, at Auburn University in Alabama, thousands of students gathered for a “Night of Worship” event that led to an impromptu baptism ceremony. New York Times Best Selling Author Jennie Allen and Pastor Jonathan Pokluda were among the guest speakers, and as the night concluded, dozens of students raised their hands to express their desire to be baptized. Due to the lack of a baptismal tub, the gathering moved to a nearby lake where 6-10 individuals were in the water baptizing hundreds. Even Auburn’s head football coach, Hugh Freeze, joined in to help.

The event left students and adults alike astounded by the outpouring of faith and life change they witnessed. It became clear that something extraordinary was happening on Auburn’s campus, underscoring the enduring power of faith and baptism to transform lives.

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