INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–For the 20th consecutive year, Southern Baptists’ “Crossover” will relay the Gospel throughout the host city for June’s SBC annual meeting.
“Crossover’08” — June 6-7 in Indianapolis -– will add to the spiritual results amassed since the inaugural outreach prior to 1989’s SBC annual meeting in Las Vegas. Nearly 40,000 persons have prayed to receive Christ as result of the annual evangelistic effort. Dozens of new Southern Baptist churches have been planted. And thousands have participated as Crossover volunteers from churches across North America.
This year’s Crossover, prior to the SBC’s June 10-11 annual meeting at Indiana Convention Center, will be jointly sponsored by the SBC’s North American Mission Board, the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana and the Crossroads Baptist Association in Indianapolis.
Crossover’08 aims for eight new churches — one Hispanic, one Chinese, one African American and five Anglo -– to be byproducts of the outreach, said Jimmy Kinnaird, NAMB’s Crossover coordinator in Alpharetta, Ga.
“Our goal is that when we leave Indianapolis, we will, at the same time, ensure that the Gospel stays there and spreads,” Kinnaird said. “We want Southern Baptist churches to be strengthened and new churches started. We want Indianapolis to be a place where Jesus is known even better after Crossover’08 and the convention.”
John Rogers, missions and evangelism team leader for the Indiana convention, said the state convention and NAMB are playing support roles to the local Crossroads Baptist Association for Crossover’08.
“It’s their heart, their vision and their strategy,” Rogers said. “When it’s locally led and locals take ownership, we think the results will be longer lasting. We see Crossover’08 as a process, not an event. We want Crossover to be felt long after people have left Indianapolis.”
During the week and weekend leading up to the SBC annual meeting, volunteers are being enlisted from dozens of SBC churches in Indiana and around the nation to take the Gospel to Indianapolis’ inner-city and metro areas.
Kinnaird said Crossover’08 strategic events will include 27 block parties in African American, Korean, Hispanic and Anglo neighborhoods; door-to-door evangelism spearheaded by eight local churches; projects to fix up 10 houses in the Indianapolis area under NAMB’s World Changers ministry; repair and renovation of a school playground or local park by NAMB’s Baptist Builders ministry; and roving ICE (Intentional Community Evangelism) teams who will blanket the city’s core-city area, witnessing to those they meet on the streets during the week prior to the Crossover weekend.
Rogers said Crossover’08 will entail extensive follow-up. “We want to see baptisms as a result of Crossover’08, which will help our churches grow,” he said. “So we’re putting a lot of resources and personnel into follow-up.”
Five Indianapolis churches will anchor the ICE campaign: Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, Living Word Baptist Church, Eastside Community Baptist Church, Gabriel Baptist Church and Warren Baptist Church.
Leading the Crossover/ICE effort for the seventh consecutive year is Victor Benavides, NAMB’s urban center evangelism coordinator. Benavides said a minimum of 40 ICE volunteers from across the country will come to Indianapolis to share the Gospel on the city’s streets.
“We look for high foot-traffic areas to witness in,” Benavides said, “like busy intersections and bus stops, shopping centers, apartment complexes and even outside liquor stores.”
Echoing Kinnaird and Rogers, Benavides said he wants to see Crossover’08 bear lasting results.
“We want to impact the areas of prayer, outreach, visitation, building relationships, the assimilation of people into local churches and starting new churches, long after the ICE teams are gone,” he said. “We want to help make churches healthy in all these facets.”
Benavides said another goal is to promote Crossover to other churches throughout the SBC as an opportunity for mission trips to future SBC annual meeting cities — Louisville, Ky. (2009), Orlando (2010), Phoenix (2011) and New Orleans (2012).
Indianapolis is the 13th-largest city in the nation, with 2 million people in the metro area. Indiana has 417 Southern Baptist churches with more than 96,000 members.
Mickey Noah is a writer for the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. For additional information about Crossover’08 in Indianapolis, to register as a volunteer or to participate in ICE, go to www.crossover08.com.