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CrossSeekers gaining momentum; registration open for national event

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NASHVILLE (BP) — What’s it going to take to stay faithful?
Dave Edwards posed the question to a crowd of Christian college students at a recent rally in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The answer, the Oklahoma City-based Christian author and speaker said, is “moving away from cultural Christianity” and becoming “covenantal in our approach to living.”
“We have to begin to seek the will of God in every detail of our lives,” Edwards said, adding God’s promises “are secured with faithfulness and obedience.”
The Murfreesboro rally was one of 17 similar events held in 11 states to build awareness of CrossSeekers, a discipleship initiative launched last summer by the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board’s National Student Ministry (NSM) and also endorsed by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). To date, more than 5,000 college students across the country have committed to the CrossSeekers Covenant. It calls collegians to a lifestyle of integrity, spiritual growth, an authentic and consistent witness, service, purity and Christlike relationships.
NSM director Bill Henry said CrossSeekers is gaining momentum as students learn about the initiative through the rallies, the movement’s Internet website (www.crossseekers.org) and other promotional materials. The events have drawn an average crowd of 400 students, with approximately 75 percent stepping forward to commit to the covenant at each event.
“Students are really searching for ways to serve God and grow in their relationship with him. They want to be more, to be all he wants them to be,” Henry said. “I think the covenant is proving to be an effective tool for them.”
Mary Skinner, a sophomore at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., said the nationwide student involvement in CrossSeekers has been an encouragement in her own relationship with Christ.
“It lets us know we are not alone in striving to live this Christian life out,” she said. “It also encourages me to know others from different places are working toward the same goals I am as a Christian. … When there are so many things in this world tempting us and telling us how to live, it is hard to know exactly where to turn, but through CrossSeekers we can be sure we are living by God’s standards and according to his Word.”
NSM organizers are expecting 10,000-15,000 students like Skinner to gather Sept. 4-6 at the New Orleans (La.) Convention Center for “Celebration of the Covenant,” the first national CrossSeekers event. The meeting will feature popular Christian artists, including Steven Curtis Chapman, Jars of Clay, Third Day, Amy Morriss and Mercy Me. Speakers will include Edwards; Anne Graham-Lotz, founder of AnGel Ministries, Raleigh, N.C.; Carey Casey, senior vice president and executive director of FCA’s “One Way 2 Play–Drug Free!” program; Richard Blackaby, Christian author and president of Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, Alberta; and Rick Muchow, minister of worship at Saddleback Community Church in Mission Viejo, Calif.
In addition to concerts and general sessions, participating students will also have opportunities to visit the “Covenant Mall,” a 100,000 square-foot exhibit area, and attend “master conferences” focusing on different elements of the covenant. A special “transitions” track is also planned for high school juniors and seniors.
NSM is developing a variety of resources built around the CrossSeekers Covenant. Three books to be released this summer will be available at the New Orleans event: “CrossSeekers: Discipleship Covenant for a New Generation” by Richard and Henry Blackaby; “[email protected] Ministry: Following Jesus in the Real World” by Allen Jackson; and “Transitions: Preparation for College” by various authors. A “CrossSeekers: Be More” compact disc also is being produced in partnership with Myrrh Recrods. The CD will feature popular Christian artists whose music reinforces the covenant’s themes.
Students and student leaders interested in registering for the New Orleans event can call 1-888-CROSS98. For program information, call (615) 251-2777.

Injured missionary Watts aiming to return to Peru
Lonnie Wilkey

JACKSON, Tenn.(BP)–Southern Baptist missionaries Wade and Nancy Watts can attest God is still in the miracle business.
Two years ago, the Watts family was involved in a head-on collision in Peru which left Watts and his son, Marcus, comatose with severe head injuries. Watts was not expected to live.
Watts was hospitalized in a Memphis, Tenn., hospital for more than a year. At first he could only communicate by blinking his eyes, but by last May he was beginning to speak. His condition progressed to the point he could return to his Memphis home about eight months ago. He undergoes therapy five days a week on an outpatient basis.
Marcus, meanwhile, has almost fully recovered from the accident. Now in the fifth grade, he, along with his brother, Josh, a fourth-grader, played basketball on the church team this year.
Nancy Watts reported in a recent newsletter that her husband’s speech continues to improve and he has use of his right arm. He remains in a wheelchair but his goal is to walk again.
The Wattses led three conferences on their mission work in Peru at Tennessee Baptists’ 44th annual Royal Ambassador Congress April 9-11 at Union University in Jackson. Approximately 806 people, including both their sons, attended the RA Congress, sponsored by the Missions Awareness and Involvement Group of the Tennessee convention executive board ministries.
Watts also prayed during the Friday evening worship service.
It was only the second public appearance Watts has made since the accident. He spoke at an RA event in Chattanooga, Tenn., earlier this year.
Though his speech was slurred, he was able to communicate with the many well-wishers who visited with him before and after his conferences, and it was evident he still has a sense of humor, one of his trademarks, according to people who know him well. “God has really done a miracle,” Nancy Watts said. Long-range goals for the Watts family include returning to serve in Peru. “Our call has not changed,” she emphasized.