PHOENIX (BP)–The annual evangelistic effort surrounding this year’s Southern Baptist Convention will offer opportunities to touch more than just the immediate Phoenix area with the gospel of Christ: The whole state is getting involved this year.
Crossover Arizona will bring block parties, door-to-door visits and other evangelistic efforts to the metropolitan Phoenix area June 14 — the Saturday before the June 17-18 convention. The following weekend, churches in other parts of the state will sponsor similar events.
Jerry Martin, state coordinator for Crossover Arizona and director of missions for Valley Rim Baptist Association in Mesa, said pairs of Arizona churches will partner with each other on successive weekends. Most of the national volunteers are expected for June 14, although the second weekend does give volunteers more options for both date and location.
“Here in Arizona we see it as a way to get us unified across the state on sharing the gospel,” Martin said. “We know that will overflow into making a difference in the West.”
Phoenix-area Southern Baptists are familiar with working together on evangelism efforts, having just completed a Strategic Focus Cities effort that has resulted in more than 11,200 professions of faith and 38 new churches since 2000.
Mitch McDonald, evangelism director for the Arizona Baptist Convention, said Crossover Arizona developed out of the effectiveness of that effort. “We knew that the convention was coming in 2003, and we began praying and thinking about that. It kind of grew out of that discussion that this would be a follow-up event for Strategic Focus Cities.”
Crossover Arizona events will be similar to those of past Crossover efforts, Martin said. “We’ll be using block parties, random acts of kindness, prayer walking and door-to-door surveys. Some of the surveys will be saturation evangelism, and some of them will be other kinds of community surveys that the local pastor wants.”
One of the “random acts of kindness” events — also known as Compassion in Action — will involve volunteers working with Mountain View Baptist Church, passing out free bottles of water and taking opportunities to share their faith on nearby hiking trails.
A “skate park takeover” planned by three Phoenix-area churches will involve a variety of ministries to skating and skateboard enthusiasts, volunteer coordinator Deb Wolfrey reported. Ministry opportunities include demonstrations, free videotaping of skaters, free adjustments, a live band and free food in a block party setting.
Several other churches have noted that June 14 falls on Flag Day and will be taking the opportunity of passing out small flags in public places and engaging people in conversations about their faith.
“I thought that was a great idea for being able to talk to people about their beliefs,” Wolfrey said.
An Inner-City Evangelism workshop will also be held June 10-13, and the North American Mission Board’s Inner-City Evangelism team will participate in other Crossover events, Martin said.
Individuals or groups interested in participating in Crossover Arizona should contact volunteer coordinator Deb Wolfrey toll-free at 1-866-289-0469 or via e-mail at [email protected]. While registration by May 1 is strongly encouraged, Martin said some individuals could be assigned to projects as late as the June 13 training session for Crossover events.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: CROSSOVER ARIZONA, MARKET WITNESS and INTO THE CITY.