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Evangelist’s 48-state tour aims to aid Crossover Salt Lake City

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (BP)–During 48 consecutive days
of concerts in each of the 48 contiguous states, music
Phillip K. Summerford intends to urge Southern Baptists to
pray for Crossover Salt Lake City.
In each church along the 13,000-mile route — beginning
with his home church, Friendship Baptist in Crawfordsville,
Ind. —
Summerford plans to urge his audience, “Remember those of us
who will be witnessing in Salt Lake City beginning June 5.
Block out some time on that day and pray. Pray that this
will be one of greatest evangelistic thrusts that Southern
Baptists have ever seen.”
Summerford and his wife, Donna, plan to start for Salt
Lake City in their old motor home on Sunday, April 19, and
participate in Crossover Salt Lake City witnessing efforts
Friday and Saturday, June 5-6, preceding the Southern
Baptist Convention’s annual meeting June 9-11.
Interested Baptists may obtain information about
participating in Crossover’s street and door-to-door
witnessing, block parties and other efforts by calling Don
Smith at the North American Mission Board at (770) 410-6310.
Summerford said the idea for the series of concerts
leading up to Crossover Salt Lake City emerged about 3
o’clock one morning as he and his wife were “going down the
highway, talking and sharing, (having) been involved in
evangelistic crossovers prior to the Southern Baptist
Convention for the past several years.”
“We wanted to bring greater awareness to our churches
about what will be happening in Salt Lake City. We wanted to
encourage Southern Baptists who won’t be able to go to Salt
Lake City to have a part in what God does there,” he said.
After hitting on the idea of 48 states in 48 days, the
couple spent two weeks praying and working on an itinerary,
to see if the feat would be logistically possible. Then they
sent letters to state Baptist evangelism directors, asking
for names of churches and associations along the route that
might be interested in scheduling a concert.
Summerford said commitments have been made for 26
concerts to date, most in the West and Midwest, with another
dozen tentatively scheduled. “There’s an enormous amount of
networking going on,” he said, with contacts still being
searched out for a number of states in the Northeast.
Endless details must be addressed. Their motor home
will require various upgrades to make the rigorous trip.
Plans must be in place if a family member becomes critically
ill during the 48-day trip or if the motor home breaks down.
They’ll need to decide on clothes for April in the Midwest
— and May in the Southwest. And where they’ll do laundry,
and when.
“Pray for us,” Summerford requested. “Pray with us that
God will provide.”
Summerford can be reached by writing to Phillip K.
Summerford Ministries, P.O. Box 118, Covington, IN 47932, or
calling (765) 793-7034.
A music evangelist for 16 years, Summerford has based
his ministry in Indiana the last eight, one of only two or
three full-time evangelists among Southern Baptists in the
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to move to other
states, states where the Southern Baptist presence is a lot
stronger,” he said. “But my wife and I believe God has
placed us here in Indiana. We feel a strong commitment to
Indiana and Indiana Baptists.”
He often preaches revivals but said his main niche is
music ministry. The singer, songwriter and pianist travels
relentlessly, presenting concerts and serving as a praise
and worship leader. Donna travels with her husband as often
as her part-time job will allow. As committed to the
ministry as he, she runs the sound equipment and takes care
of all the details that Summerford admitted he’s “not really
good about.”
He and his wife have been unable to have children,
Summerford said, but adding, “I tell people, don’t feel
sorry for us. God has taught us contentment, and because of
our situation, we’re able to go just about anywhere,
anytime. We have our lives to give to this ministry.”

    About the Author

  • Deborah P. Brunt