Dora church breaks no-baptism dry spellcomment (0)
February 23, 2006
By Linda Lyle
For more than a decade, the baptistry at Snowtown Baptist Church, Dora, in Mud Creek Baptist Association sat in silence, waiting as the members of the congregation prayed for their community and Pastor Johnny Bowlin challenged them to reach out in love.
The church marked a milestone Jan. 8 — with its first baptism since 1995. Josh Cofer, 23, broke the stillness of the waters that morning after coming forward Nov. 27, 2005, and praying to receive Christ.
On Dec. 3, Bowlin and church member John “Sonny” Robbins visited Cofer and his family and were comfortable with Cofer’s decision. They said they saw a loving childlike faith displayed in the young man’s life.
Cofer was presented to the church the following Sunday and received an outpouring of love from the congregation. His decision was a result of the church’s continued ministry and friendship with his family.
Cofer’s confession of faith spurred the church into action. As soon as the holidays had passed, Robbins, Robert Sargent and Vivian Henson prepared the baptistry for use by cleaning it, checking the water temperature and having the robes cleaned.
According to Bowlin, Cofer’s baptism marked the beginning of many more to come at Snowtown Baptist. “I told myself when I started at Snowtown (in August 2003) that I was not coming here to visit a dying friend and sit by the bedside and watch him die but to come and lead a wonderful group of people to see what God wants us to do in our community,” he said.
The morning of Cofer’s baptism was filled with a sense of excitement and energy as the church family saw the fruit of their labor of love in the community. He and his family have had ties to Snowtown for generations, which made the service even more special. “The church has been a blessing to me,” Cofer said. It was his relationship with the church family, especially Robbins, that drew him to the church and a relationship with Christ.
Evelyn Richardson, who was Cofer’s Sunday School teacher for many years, said it was wonderful to see him take this step. “It was a very spiritual service,” she said, adding that Cofer was smiling and obviously happy.
Bowlin said he has a vision for the church to have a more visible identity in the community, starting with this baptism.
Even though it is a small church, he said, the members have a great love for the Lord and each other and want to share that love with their community.
“I truly believe it is not the size of the church in the fight, but the size of the heart … of the church in the fight,” Bowlin said.