What does a working, heated baptistry mean to members of Greater New Beginnings Christian Church in West Louisville?
Everything, says Senior Pastor Darrell Wilson.
A few weeks ago, the church celebrated 21 baptisms in two services.
Men and women filed into the baptistry one-by-one wearing T-shirts with the word “forgiven” in bold letters. Each told pieces of their story before being immersed in the water to signify death to sin and the beginning of new life in Christ.
They came out with hands raised high in praise—grateful and ready for new life in Christ.
That is something to celebrate.
“I say ‘to God be the glory,’” Wilson said.
Greater New Beginnings and Southeast Christian Church have worked together for about 10 years. Members from both churches worked side-by-side to refurbish homes during Help Build Hope. They’ve gathered for prayer and to host Metro Christian Legal Aid clinics.
The idea of refurbishing the baptistry began when Southeast Missions Ministry leader Charlie Vittitow asked Wilson how to help. After thinking about it, Wilson suggested fixing their baptistry because it didn’t hold water and the water pump and heater were broken.
For years, Greater New Beginnings borrowed baptistries in other churches when someone wanted to be baptized. It was good, but not like celebrating life change at home.
Southeast agreed to help fix the baptistry.
“Greater New Beginnings and Southeast are family, and as family, we help each other out,” Vittitow said. “We could not be prouder of the work God is doing through our brothers and sisters in the California community of Louisville.”
Bonnie Epperson, who works in Missions Ministry with local ministries and churches, said refurbishing the baptistry was “a great investment.”
“People in the church wanted to follow the Biblical command to repent and be baptized,” she said. “Having their own baptistry gave the church a chance to celebrate what God is doing.”
Southeast Christian Church member Dave Thomas watched baptisms unfold.
“God moved in a mighty way,” he said. “Greater New Beginnings has a heart for the ‘least of these.’ Those who are homeless, struggling with addiction. Those who are struggling are welcome. Now that they’ve been baptized, we’ll begin discipleship training. I’m so grateful they are making the decision to follow Jesus while they’re young.”
Those baptized included:
>A former gang leader and drug dealer who is bringing former associates to know Christ.
>A former Jehovah’s Witness who swore she would never set foot in a Christian church. People in the church loved on her from the time she walked through the front door. She now is a greeter for worship services.
>A mother and daughter baptized together.
>Two brothers who are in high school. Men in the church are doing life with them.
>A resident at Wayside who is grateful for what God is doing in her life.