TOMPKINSVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The waters in the baptistry at First Baptist Church Fountain Run are stirring again.
As is typically the case, it has created momentum and excitement within the church and a ripple effect of professions of faith and baptisms, said Pastor Ron Norrod.
“We had gone through the pandemic with only one baptism in December,” Norrod said. “The last baptism before that was September 2019. Then we didn’t have another one until February 2021. That was a long dry spell.”
Before the pandemic, Fountain Run baptized between 10 to 15 a year, the pastor said. They’ve had nearly that many in the past two months with nine being baptized. A couple of those had been believers but had never been baptized, he said.
But most of them were new believers, including a set of twin boys who were saved during the Sunday school hour.
“This is unusual in the church world today for people to get saved in Sunday school,” he said. “It used to happen a lot many years ago but not in today’s world.”
Fountain Run has watched as families have come forward to follow Jesus and be baptized, he said, and several who had never been baptized wanted to take that step of obedience. Norrod is next-door neighbors were among the latest to profess faith and be baptized.
“People are more excited, more anxious to be here and really get into everything,” the pastor said. “We’ve seen some come back who we’ve wondered about. It makes a difference.”
The church needed the positivity that comes from baptisms and new members. Norrod, who is 70, is going through a health crisis after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He begins chemotherapy on Tuesday.
Norrod, who has been in the ministry for more than 40 years, understands the seriousness of the diagnosis but doesn’t want it to slow the momentum the church has gathered from the nice stretch of baptisms and salvations.
“I really don’t have any active symptoms at all other than getting tired real easy,” he said. “I thought I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder. I went and got an x-ray and, to my surprise, they found a mass on my right lung. They sent me straight to the pulmonary doctor and he did a biopsy. He pretty well knew it was cancer from the CT scan, but he did a biopsy and PET scan.
“My oncologist is not as positive as I am – I have about three or four doctors,” he said. “I don’t think they know my Chief Physician.”
Norrod said he and worship pastor Steve Tannen are continuing to plan for the days ahead, beginning with a soccer league the church runs that starts May 8. Vacation Bible School follows that in June and then a revival in July.
“Steve and I are planning right on,” Norrod said. “He will lead most of that.”
Norrod said he will be taking chemo for 12 weeks. The many prayers and good wishes that have come from Facebook have overwhelmed him.
“We’re getting responses from all over the United States,” he said. “A lady in West Virginia sent me a message through Facebook, then another one from North Carolina and Illinois. These are people I don’t even know. I have people praying for me every day.”
His wife, Brenda, is among the prayer warriors lifting him up. He said he has always been partial to tent revivals because that’s how they met.
“The guy who owned the tent asked me to preach every other night and she sang with a little high school group,” he said. “I was preaching and they were singing. That’s the first time I ever saw her.”
Norrod said he was thankful for his church that has found its way back to the baptismal waters after a long year of wearing masks and being shaken by a pandemic. Attendance is picking up again and God is in their midst, he said.