Staff Report

The baptismal waters were stirred at all five campuses of Bell Shoals Baptist Church on Sunday, May 7, with 53 believers publicly professing their faith in Jesus Christ. Bell Shoals along with 111 other Florida Baptist churches throughout the state participated in Acts 2:41 Sunday—Baptizing Coast-to-Coast, which resulted in a reported 1,285 baptisms.

At the Brandon Campus, Senior Pastor Stephen Rummage baptized 34 people—men, women, boys and girls ranging in age from 6 to 71—in the fountain outside the worship center after the 11 a.m. service during its Baptism and Barbecue event.

For four years, Tampa resident Danielle Walls has attended the Brandon Campus. Although Walls was baptized as a baby, for a long time, she felt that the Lord was leading her to be baptized as an adult. Walls attended the Baptism and Barbecue event on behalf of her niece’s baptism. However, when the baptisms began, she knew that ‘today was the day,’ so she came forward to be baptized. After coming out of the water, Walls said she felt relieved and like a weight had been lifted off of her.

From the Apollo Beach Campus, Pastor Matt Hill baptized 10 adults and Pastor Steven Warren, the pastor of students, baptized two students at the E.G. Simmons Regional Park in Ruskin.

During the worship service at Congregación Hispana, which also meets at the Brandon Campus, Pastor Othoniel Valdes baptized three women. Pastor Kyle Norton and the recently launched Riverview Campus rejoiced with its first two baptisms. Also, at the nearby Palm River Campus, Pastor Bobby Wacaser baptized one student and one adult during a special youth-led service.

Pastor Rummage said, “I have found the most effective way to increase the number of people we reach for Christ is to set a goal for how many we want to baptize, put that goal in front of the church, and then pray and work toward the goal. Since October, our whole church has been praying for God to bless us with 400 baptisms this year, which would be the highest number of people Bell Shoals has ever baptized in our history.”

As of this May, the Bell Shoals Baptist Church has collectively performed 300 baptisms during the 2016-2017 church year, which runs from October 2016 to September 2017. For more information about Bell Shoals Baptist Church, visit or call 689-4229.

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