A range of emotions could be seen as people went from death to life, tears to laughter, fear to faith, hurt to healing.
More than 800 people made the decision to be baptized during Easter Weekend services at Southeast Christian Church.
Southeast held 42 Easter services across its seven campuses.
Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman and Pastor Dave Stone shared a message titled, “Do You Believe?”
“It’s not that we can’t believe; it’s that we don’t want to believe because we know that by believing major change is going to have to take place in our lives,” Idleman said. “If we really believe it, then the question is will you act on what you believe? It’s a little bit dangerous if all of this is real.”
Scores of people entered the baptistry following services: kids, moms, dads, friends, widows, seniors, students, addicts, a woman in a wheelchair.
Jesus had the final say regardless of the baggage each brought into Southeast on Easter weekend.
At the Blankenbaker Campus, people from the 11:15 a.m. Sunday service were still getting baptized as the 2 p.m. service started.
Kevin Luoma, 38, has been attending Southeast for a year with his 6-year-old daughter.
After the 11:15 a.m. Sunday service at the Blankenbaker Campus, Luoma jumped to the front of the line with great expectation and no hesitation.
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“The night before I decided I was going to be baptized,” Luoma said. “My baptism is a reminder of God’s goodness. The previous year was hard. I had some setbacks with a change in career and a relationship. But I’m speechless. I was telling my mom I can’t explain this feeling. I felt renewed and redeemed after I came out of the water. Now, I believe more than ever and I want to get more involved.”
Kenneth Watson Sr.
The Saturday evening service at the Indiana Campus had been over for an hour when Children’s Family Pastor Lucas Goforth and his team heard a knock on the front door.
Kenneth Watson Sr., 75, stood outside and said he wanted to be baptized.
After Idleman and Stone’s message Saturday evening, Watson’s brother called and encouraged him to get baptized. He listened.
A local missions partner with Southeast, Isaiah House is an intensive outpatient and residential treatment program for men and women.
About 30 men from Isaiah House came to Encounter on Thursday night and four of those men asked to be baptized.
Public Relations Manager Jordan Wilson said that is why they do what they do.
“Seeing our clients get baptized is the whole point of our mission,” Wilson said. “We want our guys to get clean, but more importantly get saved. That’s really what it’s all about.”
Ellen Cash, an 81-year-old widow, responded to God’s call and plunged into the baptismal waters at the Southwest Campus.
“Praying month after month after month, I felt like I needed to do this,” Cash said. “I just felt like it was my time, and God pushed me ahead. He promised He would take my hand if I went forward to be baptized, and He did. I told my family that I felt like I floated the rest of the day. It was a memorable experience that I haven’t had in many years.”