Outdoors-Themed Outreach Boosts Florida Church’s Witness

On a Sunday in April, pastor Brooks Braswell encouraged worshipers to praise God for the many blessings He is showering down on the church.
“Last Sunday, in all of our morning services and in our baptismal service God brought the blessings,” said Braswell, pastor of First Baptist Church in the lake community of Umatilla, Fla. “He showed up in a big way.”

Braswell baptized 53 people between ages 6 and 87 at picturesque Lake Pearl just a mile down the road. The 53 who were baptized are among more than 200 people who have professed their faith in Christ as their Savior in the past several months at the church. About 200 well-wishers attended the afternoon baptism and were all smiles as they clapped for each participant.

With the many recent professions of faith, high church attendance and the sheer wonder of it all, Braswell exclaimed, “Isn’t this crazy, this is Umatilla!”

Umatilla, 40 miles northwest of Orlando, has a population of 2,900. The church averages 1,500 to 1,700 in attendance at its three services on Sunday, which are broadcast locally and streamed over the internet. Worshipers from all backgrounds come from Lake County as well as the greater Orlando area and beyond. The church has received 102 new members this year and has recorded some of its highest attendances. At Easter, the church totaled 2,240 people attending four services, including a sunrise service. The overflow crowd was seated in the church’s multi-purpose room when the sanctuary services became full.

But when the 38-year-old Braswell, who has led the church the last 10 years, tried to answer why all this is happening, he gives all the glory to God.
“It’s amazing. It’s the hand of God at work,” he said. “He is in charge and we serve Him.”

Braswell credits the church for coming together for God’s purposes as the body of Christ and for its “bond of unity that stands out right now.”

Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press