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FIRST-PERSON: A Crossover of generations

ST. LOUIS (BP) — This weekend I witnessed multiple generations unite to impact the city of St. Louis at Crossover, a series of evangelistic events around the city. A diverse city was reached by a diverse group of Southern Baptists.

At one location, a church hosted a free rap concert at a nearby park that was deeded to it at no cost — not because of any act of generosity but simply by the fact the park was so drug-ridden that no one else wanted it. A rapper, Thi’sl, with tens of thousands of fans spanning the globe came back to his community and poured into the people he grew up with. I expected to see exclusively young faces at the concert but older faces were working in unison with my generation to reach a community in desperate need of the Gospel. The concert truly brought together the whole community, and if that is not a worthy goal, then what is?

At another location, a church ministered to cyclists on an upscale bike trail in its neighborhood. The church handed out water to the adults navigating the trail in record-setting heat — and they had a balloon artist for children as well. Leaders of the church expressed their desire to reach multiple generations and they did so by realizing that it takes more than one approach — while working together as fellow members of the body of Christ.

If there was one word to describe Crossover, perhaps it would be “unified.”

Believers unified to spread the Gospel to lost souls with hearts that did not recognize the “wrong” or “right” side of a neighborhood. Believers unified despite coming from various ethnic backgrounds and talents to share their unique perspectives and stories to impact a diverse city. They converged together to bring a gift that can be shared by all generations — the salvation of Jesus Christ.

In Joel, God lays out a vision where generations come together to spread the Gospel not as a divided body, but as one unified body: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28).

Too often we are caught in the trap of segmenting and compartmentalizing generations in efforts to share the Gospel. It is easy to see age as a barrier in outreach and not as a tool. However, some of the most beautiful work in missions comes when generations unite to spread the Gospel, and Crossover is a fine example.

    About the Author

  • Daniel Woodman