God multiplies baptisms at church that refuses to give up during summer
Pastor & writer
Discipleship & spiritual formation
There is no summer slump at one Arkansas church. God fills up the baptismal waters near the Ozark Mountains with dozens of people every July.
Six people signed up to be baptized during the July 2 services of Real Life Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas. By the time worship was done that day, 37 people had obeyed Christ, most spontaneously responding to the Spirit.
"Everything just broke loose, and people started flooding toward the front," Real Life lead pastor Vince Daniel said about believers' actions on July 2. "Typically, July is a season where we see some radical things happen. We don't take our foot off the gas."
More people were baptized this July — 46 — at Real Life Church services than the 30 baptisms in 2023's first six months combined. The staff at Real Life remember one past July when 69 people were baptized and another previous July when 24 entered baptismal waters.
"We just chose a long time ago not to give up in the summer," Daniel said. "We're going to approach it evangelically."
Part of that approach is preaching God's word, particularly texts such as the baptism of an Ethiopian eunuch in Acts. The church also has a culture and direction team who evaluates the alignment of the congregation's dreams and suggestions with God's vision.
"That structure really helps us grow," Daniel said. "We say no to the right things and yes to the right things."
The result is a Converge church focused on Christ's mandate to make disciples in the relatively rural community of 15,000 people. In recent years, an influx of retirees from New York, Illinois, Indiana and California have arrived, living alongside young families and natives like Daniel and his wife, Jennifer.
Seventeen people chose Christ as Lord on July 5 when a former member of the church’s youth group, now in Bible college, came back and preached to Real Life’s youth.
"God's just doing some miraculous things, and we're so excited we get to be a part of it," Daniel said. "When God provides momentum and revival, you just want to stay in the middle of it as long as you can."
Ben Greene, Pastor & writer
Ben Greene is a freelance writer and pastor currently living in Massachusetts. Along with his ministry experience, he has served as a full-time writer for the Associated Press and in the newspaper industry.