Every Tuesday night, Beech Haven Church’s student pastor, Shondarius Williams, leads a college Bible study. After a recent study on baptism, a student named Kade approached Williams.
“Kade grew up in the church but had never surrendered his life to Christ. He’s extremely intelligent and had been grappling with a lot of practical, hard questions, but the Holy Spirit had definitely been working on him because he sat me down and shared his struggles,” Williams commented. “He told me he’d been trying to change on his own, but he finally realized it was going to take Christ in him to make a real change. He told me his next step was to be baptized, and he wanted to do it as soon as possible.”
After setting the date for Sunday, Williams was on his way out when another freshman, Ashlyn, caught his eye. Usually bubbly and excited, something was clearly off that evening.
When Williams pulled her to the side, Ashlyn told him she was feeling convicted that night of never having been baptized.
Williams said, “She told me she never really knew what baptism meant or why we do it until that night, but when I shared that it was an act of obedience and that she was welcome to join Kade’s baptism on Sunday, she said she couldn’t wait. There was a sense of urgency, and she felt the Spirit telling her she needed to be baptized now.”
So, Williams inspected the church’s baptistry; it was empty and would take nearly an hour to fill. After a quick Google search, the local public pools also weren’t an option.
Then, Williams remembered there was a fountain on the University of Georgia’s (UGA) campus: “All my students piled into a car, and one called Kade to tell him if he wanted to join Ashlyn’s baptism, we were already on our way.”
Apart from Kade and Ashlyn, two other UGA students who were there watching asked to be baptized that night—four surrenders, four lives changed—all in a college campus fountain.
When asked what advice Williams would give to other student pastors hoping to create this kind of spark in their ministry, he shared, “I just want to encourage student ministers that pursuing present relationships with your kids and knowing where they’re at is so important. I could have made a lot of assumptions that night, but being in tune to students’ personalities and lives helped me to realize what was quickly becoming an act of God.”
Published April 11, 2023