By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
SHREVEPORT, La. (LBM) – Twenty-one people were obedient in believer’s baptism, making a splash during a recent service at a Shreveport water world.
Organized by 29 churches of various denominations in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, the June 24 event at Splash Kingdom drew 156 people who looked on and cheered as each person came in and out of the water.
Eric Cunningham, pastor of Narrow Gate Cowboy Church, Vivian (a congregation planted in 2021 by First Baptist Church, Oil City), said the evening was a highlight of his time in ministry.
“We didn’t even know this many people would want to get baptized but they kept lining up after the devotion I gave,” Cunningham told the Baptist Message. “The Holy Spirit was really working on people that night and they were excited to have the chance to show others how they had accepted Christ.
“With all the things going in the country today, you wonder if people are still looking for truth,” Cunningham said. “That night showed me people still hunger for Christ and we had so many, including a lot of young people, who took part in baptism that night.”
The baptisms were part of a follow up event for individuals who made decisions during Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames that was hosted, June 4-6, by Narrow Gate Cowboy Church and 28 other churches at Vivian High School. More than 1,100 individuals turned out for the play that was a combination of dramatized scenes that portrayed people in everyday situations.
Each scene ended with a person’s death, whether by an accident, suicide or natural causes. Additionally, those who died in the play were escorted to Heaven or Hell.
By the end of the play, 149 individuals in the audience had filled out cards indicating decisions made for Christ.
Members of Narrow Gate Cowboy Church and other congregations will follow up with each person in the coming weeks.
Dyna Sibert celebrated with four family members who were among those baptized: daughter-in-law, Heather, granddaughters, Carley and Lexi, and niece, Shelby. They turned to Christ while attending a Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames event in March in Texarkana, Texas.
“Christ can come back right now, and I can rest easy knowing those four in my family now would be in Heaven,” said Silbert, a member of Narrow Gate Cowboy Church. “I am so thankful so many churches came together for this memorable evening.
“This service was something that came full circle for me,” continued Silbert, a participant in a Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames event 30 years ago at First Baptist Church, Blanchard. “The baptisms and then the event at the school a few months ago really made me appreciate how much an outreach to the community can make.”