Upstate Church, also known as First Baptist Simpsonville, a six-campus congregation with nearly 7,000 members, usually sees 30 to 40 people participating in their monthly baptism ceremonies. However, last Sunday was an extraordinary day as 141 individuals chose to be baptized, with many more deciding to follow Christ.
The ministry humbly shared their astonishment on Facebook, saying, “141!!! We cannot fathom what God accomplished on Sunday. 141 lives were transformed from darkness to light, and 141 souls embraced Christ through the act of baptism. This marks just the beginning of our journey! Jesus, we eagerly anticipate your next moves.”
Senior Pastor Wayne Bray attributed this remarkable event to the presence of the Holy Spirit during the service, telling the Baptist Press, “We have never experienced such a profound moment in our church’s history. The fact that 141 individuals embraced baptism is beyond my wildest dreams. I feel deeply privileged to serve as the pastor of Upstate Church.”
The mass baptism took place as part of a sermon series on the church’s ordinances, including baptism. Initially, 86 individuals had scheduled their baptisms for Sunday’s service, but an additional 55 decided to participate when an invitation was extended during the worship service.
Bray shared, “Our initial hope was to have at least one baptism scheduled during every service across all our campuses. By Friday, December 1st, we already had 86 baptisms scheduled across all our campuses. While it felt overwhelming, it also bolstered our confidence in preaching the gospel on Sunday, anticipating the moving of the Holy Spirit.”
He continued, “We had an additional 55 individuals make their decisions on Sunday across all our locations.”
Bray expressed his overwhelming gratitude for the response, saying, “Words cannot adequately convey how awe-inspiring it was to be part of that day. More than any other moment in my ministry, I felt like we were living out the Book of Acts. We had preached from Acts 2, and it felt as if we were stepping into those very pages ourselves.”
Ministers with the church met with those who were baptized and those who made a decision to give their lives to Jesus Christ.
“We’ve been saying this often: We don’t just want to be a church that makes disciples. We want to be a church full of disciple-makers,” Bray told the Baptist Courier. “That is our heart, and we believe that is what God is doing at Upstate Church. God’s timing is always perfect, but sometimes it’s more obvious to us. This is one of those times when it’s easy to see His hand at work.
Our church has never been more prepared to disciple these new believers,” he added.
Bray shared that small groups and mentoring are key parts of the process.
Membership at the six-site church has grown by more than 57 percent over the last decade, according to the Annual Church Profile. The church has sites in Simpsonville, Anderson, Greenville, and Mauldin with plans underway to add a site in Laurens.
The church has long been evangelistic, according to Bray. “But God has certainly been doing something special these past few years,” he said.
The commitment to nurturing and growing these new believers in their faith is a testament to the church’s dedication to fulfilling its mission as a place of spiritual transformation and discipleship.