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Metropolitan Church Baptizes 113
Story By Taashi Rowe; Photos by Claudette Smith
This couple gives their lives to Christ together.
The pastors at Allegheny East Conference’s Metropolitan church in Hyattsville, Md., weren’t planning on performing a baptism on Sabbath, September 17. Members were in the midst of “Lifted,” a two-week long evangelism campaign that attracted some 300 people each night and the only baptism scheduled was for the second Sabbath. But the Holy Spirit had been working on Christopher Robinson those first few days and he couldn’t wait another week to publicly commit his life to Christ.
“He pleaded for us to do the baptism the next day. The seriousness in his eyes was the reason we filled the pool that first weekend,” said Brenda Billingy, Metropolitan’s senior pastor. “When he took his stand, that opened the flood gates.”
At the end of that Sabbath, 61 additional people joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Metropolitan church normally ends its worship services around 1 p.m., but on that Sabbath, the pastors were in the baptismal pool until 4 p.m.
“The Lord knew that was the way it should have happened,” Billingy realized, still sounding awed and excited as she relayed the story.
The baptisms didn’t end there. On the following Sabbath when the evangelism meetings ended an additional 51 people took a stand for the Lord bringing the total baptized over the two weekends to 113.
As people gave their lives, they shared their testimonies, including one young lady who walked into the church two weeks before. She said the Holy Spirit directed her to come to that church and to ask specifically about baptism. The next night, her husband joined her at the meetings then on that first Sabbath, in the baptismal pool. After her friend invited her, one Catholic young lady intended to come for just one night. However, she ended up attending the rest of the meetings and getting baptized. One young man, a victim of the 2002 Washington, D.C., sniper shootings, also gave his life to Christ.
The meetings were a multi-platform “event.” Pastor Marquis Johns, the church’s associate pastor, spoke powerfully those two weeks following a traditional public meeting model, however as a young adult, he readily utilized social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach the community. They even placed commercials promoting the meetings on PraiseVision.com. Billingy noted that church’s leaders and members were also strategic in meeting community members. In the run-up to the campaign, they went door to door in the neighborhood not only to raise awareness about the meetings, but also to inform them that the church was there to help them in anyway possible. They also hosted a free VaShawn Mitchell concert, which attracted well over 1,000 attendees. Mitchell is not a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church but he is a well-known gospel singer who, if the numbers of concert attendees are any indication, has a solid following. The church also held a health fair on the Sunday following the baptisms.
With such tremendous results from their “teach, baptize and teach” model, Billingy and Johns are preparing their newly baptized members to take an active part in the three evangelism meetings planned for next year.
Pastors Brenda Billingy and Marquis Johns ready the baptismal pool through prayer.
This couple was baptized after the Holy Spirit prompted the wife to come into the church and ask for baptism.
Pastor Marquis Johns gets ready to baptize Arlette Pile.