In one of the rare bright spots in the news, particularly about California, recently, over 4,000 people were just baptized in what event organizers described as “the biggest water baptism in history.” That even was called “Baptize SoCal.” Organized by Oceans Church, the event was meant to bring thousands of people to Christ and coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the “Jesus Movement.” Baptize SoCal will next occur on May 19th, 2024, according to its website.
The “Jesus Movement” was a Christian awakening that saw tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of younger Americans flock to the Christian Church during the cultural calamity of the ’60s and ’70s.
The event occurred on Pentecost Sunday at Pirate’s Cove Beach in California, which is near Newport. There, 8,000 attendees from over 280 different churches gathered to watch 4,166 new Christians be baptized in the ocean waters and declare their newfound lives in Christ.
Posting about the massive number of baptisms and highly successful event on Instagram, Oceans Church said, “Today’s the day! Baptize So Cal is here and we are headed to Pirates Cove in just a few hours to see God do a new thing in California! It’s not too late to join us and get baptized. We can’t wait to see you all there!”
Ray Gene Wilson, the musician and pastor at West Coast Life Church, took to Instagram to praise the event, saying, “What an amazing and historic day. Thousands baptized at Pirates Cove, God is moving in California!”
Another commenter said, “The Church is alive! What a beautiful sight in Southern California yesterday!!! On the 50th anniversary of the Jesus people movement.”
The Jesus Movement, which this massive baptism event was meant, in part, to commemorate, was an evangelical movement from the ’60s and ’70s. It began on the West Coast, and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, one of the main churches involved in it, also used Pirates Cove Beach for baptism events.
That movement was also commemorated this year with “Jesus Revolution,” a hit film that came out in March and followed the life of Greg Laurie, an evangelist who was one of the prominent pastors involved in spreading the Jesus Movement across America. “Jesus Revolution” was wildly popular with audiences.
After “Jesus Revolution” came out, Greg Laurie spoke about religion and encouraging young people to follow Christ. Speaking on the job of evangelists, he said, “Our job is to bring hope. Our job is to bring help. Our job is to bring people to the Lord. That’s what I do. I’m an evangelist.”
He then noted that many young people are interested in Jesus and could come over to Christ, particularly if the focus is on Christ rather than religion. He said, “Generation Z is very interested in spiritual things. I just read an article recently where it said that over 50% are very interested in Jesus, knowing more about Jesus, and this is the key: This was not a religious revolution, it was a Jesus Revolution where people were turning to God and having an encounter with them.”
Laurie also added that he was one of the young people who was headed in the wrong direction before turning toward Jesus and changing how he lived, saying, “That’s what happened to me. My life was changed. I was going the wrong way fast, but my life was turned around because of a relationship with Jesus Christ, and he’s still in the life-changing business.”
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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