It was a baptism service Sunday unlike any other that First Baptist Church Belfry, Kentucky, pastor Mike McCartney has ever been involved in.
McCartney baptized three people — 85-year-old Bruce Collins, his son, B.J., and his grandson, Bo. All three came to faith on the same day.
McCartney recalled getting a text the afternoon of Jan. 12 from B.J., who even though a regular attender at the church had been “wrestling with God for a while.” B.J. said he hated to bother the pastor on a Friday, but he needed to get the salvation issue settled. Also, B.J. said his 11-year-old son had been asking questions about being saved and baptized. The question — would you talk with him? — was answered with a resounding “Yes!”
Around 5 p.m. that evening, McCartney met with them along with Bruce, who although regularly attended the church but said he “wants to get saved and doesn’t want to wait until Sunday,” B.J. related.
‘Best decision ever’
When McCartney arrived for the meeting, he talked with each one individually. “You could tell God had worked differently on each one — each had been putting things off.” As McCartney counseled each one, he asked each what led them to where they were and had assurance that each one genuinely accepted Christ as Savior. Two days later, each one came before the church to make their public profession of faith — a story reminiscent of Acts 16:31–34 where the Philippian jailer was saved as well as his household. In Bruce’s case it wasn’t the “entire” household because his wife, Phyllis, had been praying for him for some 60 years.
When news of the three-generation salvations was shared on Facebook, “it lit up,” McCartney said. “There were over 400 likes/loves and tons of comments, such as ‘best decision ever made.’ The whole church was stunned, amazed and excited.”
The baptismal date of Jan. 28 was set so family could attend the service and special arrangements could be made for Bruce.
Reflecting on the baptismal service, McCartney said it was “a glorious, wonderful day. Bruce was as eager as anyone I have ever seen to get baptized.” In McCartney’s 4 1/2 years at Belfry, and 25 total years as a pastor, Bruce is the oldest person he has baptized and this is the first time he has ever baptized three generations in the same service. He enlisted B.J. to help with his father’s baptism. “I figured it would be best to have his son in there to help with it,” McCartney said.
“A lot of folks came in for the service. When B.J.’s wife, Amanda, posted it on Facebook, responses came swiftly — there were more than 200 likes/loves and some 90 comments praising God for what had happened. “There were a bunch of tears in the eyes of people. People were saying, ‘Wow!’”
McCartney added that “God has been doing some amazing things in our church. We’ve not changed anything, but we have several other neat salvation stories. We’re doing another baptism next week — it will be the fifth person in the last three months where someone over 30 years old got saved. We’re just staying faithful, we’re praying and praising the Lord and letting God do what He does.”