NASHVILLE (BP) – For more than 30 years, Southern Baptists have focused on working together to serve and reach those in the host city of the SBC annual meeting through an evangelism emphasis called Crossover.
This year’s approach in Nashville will differ from previous years, but Southern Baptists are cooperating to help churches in Middle Tennessee minister to their communities.
“Crossover will continue its legacy of pushing back spiritual darkness in the SBC host city, which is, this year, the great city of Nashville,” said Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB). “Crossover will be two days when local Middle Tennessee churches will intentionally engage their communities in various ways, actually putting the ‘Gospel above all.’”
In a typical year for Crossover, mission teams and churches from across the nation are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of outreach efforts, but concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic led the TBMB and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to focus primarily on aiding churches in and around Nashville to reach out to their communities.
Nashville-area churches are encouraged to conduct a special outreach event on Saturday, June 12, to invite neighbors to church, and then follow it up the next day, Sunday, June 13, with a Who’s Your One emphasis where churches across Middle Tennessee present the Gospel clearly and invite people to respond during their Sunday services.
“We are working diligently to see that Crossover will be a success even in the midst of a pandemic,” said Roc Collins, director of evangelism at the TBMB. “We recently offered training events for more than 50 churches in the Greater Nashville area.”
Those training events were conducted in cooperation with members of NAMB’s evangelism team as well as associational leaders as NAMB, the TBMB and the local associations have been encouraging churches to work together.
“I’m very appreciate of our southern Baptist convention partnerships, between the state convention, NAMB and the local association all working together on Crossover,” said Rusty Sumrall, executive director of the Nashville Baptist Association. “We have five different associations here in Middle Tennessee working with the state convention and NAMB, and that’s pretty exciting to see all those folks working together for one purpose in Crossover and to see God do something positive during that weekend.”
As with every Crossover event, all six Southern Baptist seminaries are invited to send seminary students for a week-long evangelism intensive where they will spend their mornings in the classroom before going out to serve local churches in the Nashville area in going door to door in their communities. Tom Johnston, senior professor of evangelism at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that 100 students will participate in this year’s annual Crossover Seminary Evangelism Class (CSEC).
“It is a fun-filled time, a spiritually-taxing time, as well as a true spiritual high – all mixed together,” Johnston said. “Please be in prayer for this year’s students, faculty, local churches and the people with whom we will share the Gospel.”
The students see the cooperation that defines Southern Baptists first-hand, Johnston said, as NAMB, the state convention, the local association and the seminaries each serve the local church by training and sending out evangelists during the week leading up to the SBC Annual Meeting.
“The CSEC is truly a Book of Acts experience for those involved,” Johnston said. “The entire effort is underwritten by the generosity of Southern Baptists giving to NAMB through the Cooperative Program.”
NAMB’s Send Relief medical and dental units will be in Nashville as well to serve those in need who could use the free medical and dental check-ups offered by professionals who will volunteer their time. The location where the units will set up has yet to be determined.
“I am praying that God will move through the churches in and around Nashville and that we will see a number of people give their lives to Christ,” said Johnny Hunt, NAMB’s senior vice president for evangelism and leadership. “Everyone has been working hard to serve the churches and empower them to share the hope of the Gospel with their neighbors.”
Churches in the Nashville area can register to participate in Crossover at namb.net/crossover.