An eleven-year-old girl called Bobby was among those who found new life in Christ during the recent Will Graham Celebration in Peterhead. She was one of 23 people baptised by Pastor Stuart Watt from Mintlaw Community Church following the event. “That celebration was a massive part of what happened,” said Stuart.
The village of Mintlaw lies 15 miles inland from the fishing town of Peterhead, in north-east Scotland. It has a population of just 2800 and is set in one of the most sparsely populated corners of the United Kingdom. So it is all the more remarkable that on 13 November Stuart held a mass baptism in a local swimming pool.
Stuart had planted the church in Easter 2012 with just two adults and three children. In 2016 he launched the Alpha Course, and a successful welcome meal led to 20 people signing up. When he heard about the Will Graham Celebration, he wondered whether to set up a relay in Mintlaw.
In the end, however, he decided to support the churches in Peterhead, encouraging his people to go there instead. “My most evangelistic people signed up as counsellors,” he said. “But God is no man’s debtor, and I knew He would do something for our church too through this.”
One of Stuart’s greatest joys was to baptise an 11-year girl called Bobby, who committed her life to Jesus during the Celebration. Bobby’s mother came to the front for a recommitment, along with her sister.
“I was very impressed by the Billy Graham team and the quality of the people who came,” said Stuart. “A girl from the village beside us, who had no church background, went along to the celebration. She was one those we baptised.”
Some people who had been on the Alpha Course went along to the Celebration too. “It solidified their commitment,” said Stuart. “We also baptised periphery family and friends: what you’re always hoping to see happen.”
When the outreach finished, Stuart had a sense there was more to come. “I’ve been speaking to the leaders of other fellowships, and they’re seeing a steady trickle of people who have been stirred and are coming in,” he said. “In small communities like this, hearing about the outreach was almost unavoidable. There are goodness knows how many people who didn’t come to the event but are listening to the chatter on social media.”
“At the moment we’ve got as much as we can cope with,” he concluded. “But I’m convinced there are still multitudes in the Valley of Decision. God is doing great things here, and we have so much to be thankful for.”