Church by the Glades baptizes 470 new believers

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When Pastor David Hughes was called in 1998 to lead Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, 470 was the average weekly attendance. Now almost 18 years later, in just one weekend, the church stirred the baptismal waters with 470 new believers in Christ.

The correlation of numbers was “catalytic,” said the pastor. “It was very organic. It was one of these ‘trust God moments and see God at work.’”

And leading the baptismal candidates was a child, as Hughes baptized his seven-year-old son Zane, who had trusted Jesus some 18 months earlier with his mother.  It was a meaningful moment to the pastor, “He’s my youngest and the last of my kids to be baptized,” he said.

The record number of new believers came forward during an altar call, after Hughes clearly outlined the doctrine of salvation and how to be saved in the six services held Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28.

“If you are here to trust Jesus,” he told the congregation, “Today is the day.”

Hughes carefully walked the congregation through Acts 16, as Paul and Silas sat in the prison. When they refused to escape after an earthquake freed the pair, the jailer—and his family–were saved, he shared.

The South Florida pastor had been preaching a series on “Family Bond” and in this message he specifically targeted fathers in the congregation, challenging them to be the spiritual leaders in their households.

He told them that baptism, which follows salvation–is through immersion, and is a symbol of salvation as Christ commanded. It is a matter of obedience, he said.

For those who had been baptized as a baby, Hughes said, believer’s baptism “completes what your parents began” adding that baptism of babies was never once recorded in the Bible.

And then, with cameras rolling, Hughes and Zane ran outdoors to a large, above-the-ground, portable pool brought on the church property for that purpose where the youngster was baptized. For the following services, the father and son demonstrated the act of baptism to help this largely unchurched community to understand more fully its meaning.

Mass baptisms are held annually at Church by the Glades, which averages 9,000 in attendance at six services each weekend in the Coral Springs location, two other campuses and two prison facilities. But this was the largest number of new believers to be baptized at one time.

Baptism is observed every week at the church, as the Holy Spirit moves, said Hughes. A supply of tee shirts and shorts are maintained at the church. Extras were brought in for this service.

The multi-site church reported 1,210 baptisms in 2015, the second highest among Florida Baptist churches.

To view the worship service, go to

By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention, March 3, 2016

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