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People rush to be baptized at rural Hollins Churchcomment (0)

June 5, 2008

By Jeremy Dale Henderson

An interesting thing happened during a recent Sunday service at Hollins Baptist Church in Central Baptist Association.

It is just one of several interesting things that Wayne Henderson, director of missions for Central Association, said speaks of a revival in the small congregation — something members have been praying for.

That Sunday morning, four people were to be baptized. Two had made decisions for Christ before Pastor Jason Gravette arrived in November, and two had made them after his arrival. One was a 28-year-old woman, a regular at Hollins Baptist.

"She came up to me after prayer meeting the Wednesday prior, said she needed to be saved," Gravette said. "I said, ‘You ain’t?’ I thought she was. She said she wasn’t. So we went back in the back, and she asked Christ into her life. We set up the baptism for that Sunday."

Before church started that morning, the woman’s father, who had attended services on several occasions, told Gravette he needed to be baptized, too.

Gravette was puzzled.

"I said, ‘You ain’t?,’ and he said he’d just never done that. I told him I’d call him up to the front with his daughter and present them both for baptism," he said.

But it didn’t stop there.

"So we’re standing there and all of a sudden, the man’s mother, the girl’s grandmother, runs up to us. I thought she was coming just to hug them or something," Gravette said. "But she grabbed me and said, ‘I need to be saved and baptized, too.’"

He was astounded.

"I said, ‘You ain’t?’ I mean she’d probably been going to the church 50 years. I thought if anyone at the church had been baptized, surely she had. But … she said she’d never made a profession of faith or been baptized."

An hour earlier, Gravette had been planning on just four baptisms. Suddenly he was baptizing six, including three generations from a single family.

"Three generations. I mean that’s unheard of — that’s just God stuff right there," Gravette said.

He was scheduled to baptize two more people during the evening service. Gravette ended up baptizing seven, making a one-day grand total of 13 baptisms.

"The Holy Ghost just broke loose that day and just moved on everybody," he said.

At a Sunday service a few weeks later, Gravette baptized nine more people when he’d only been planning on three. In fact, in the six months he has been at Hollins Baptist — a church that averages fewer than 100 in attendance — he has baptized 31 people and helped facilitate 42 decisions, either decisions for Christ or for membership.

Gravette credits the growth, activity and enthusiasm since his arrival to seeds planted by the congregation in the months prior and, of course, to God.

"God has moved in a mighty way. That’s what we prayed for," Gravette said, noting he left a church he loved, Union Baptist Church, Rockford, to come to Hollins Baptist. "It was hard to leave, but God’s ways are bigger than ours. We asked God to bless our move, bless our service, and He’s just showed up and showed out."

Henderson agreed.

"This is just Jason’s second church, but the Lord just began to move when he got there," he said. "He says it’s just God, it’s not him. He’s just preaching the Word and God is giving the increase."

Gravette is taking the increase in stride. "Folks are kidding around, asking, ‘Are you waterlogged yet?’ You know, stuff like that," he said. "I tell them, ‘This is what we’ve been asking for.’"

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