NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Friday, June 9, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) representatives spread out through various parts of the city of New Orleans with the purpose of sharing the Gospel via the Serve Tour Crossover, June 9-11, 2023.
Crossover is an annual event in the days leading up to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting where pastors, church leaders, missionaries, church members and SBC leaders, team up to share the Gospel in the convention’s host city.
The event took place at Iglesia Bautista Horeb, pastored by Puerto Rico native David Rodríguez. The group evangelized, knocked on doors, cooked and served meals and met people from their church’s community. They served 575 burgers and 20 people made professions of faith.
Steve Horn, Louisiana Baptist Convention Director, was at the event said Louisiana Baptists got “very intentional” in 2010 about planting churches.
“Not only planting churches, but planting non-Anglo churches,” he said. “We set ourselves a goal. I wasn’t in this role then, but we set ourselves a goal to plant 300 churches and intentionally wanted most of the churches to be non-Anglo.
“We reached that goal a little later because of COVID, and now of 300 church plants, over 60 percent of them are non-Anglo with many being Hispanic. We have seen God do great work in non-Anglo settings, and just being here today on this campus [Iglesia Bautista Horeb] is incredibly refreshing to see what God is doing.”
Bruno Molina, executive director of the National Baptist Hispanic Network (NHBN) and Language and Interfaith Evangelism Associate of the Southern Baptist Texas Convention (SBTC), offered a devotional to kick off the Saturday events at Iglesia Horeb. He encouraged those attending to go and share the Gospel relying on the Holy Spirit and without fear of failure.
“The only way you can fail when sharing the Gospel is by not sharing the Gospel,” Molina said. “Every time we share the Gospel we triumph because we are obedient and our obedience pleases God. God’s Word never comes back void.”
Jack Hunter, the associational mission strategist for the New Orleans Baptist Association, was also present at the event as well as Mark Berry from Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Alabama. Berry was accompanied by 20 adults and 35 young people ranging from 12 years of age to graduating seniors and even a few college students. They arrived on Wednesday determined to share the Gospel with anyone in New Orleans during Crossover.
Eloy Rodriguez, NHBN president and pastor of Idlewild en Español in Tampa, Fla., brought with him 28 church members and six pastors from churches in his area to share the Gospel during Crossover. Rodriguez has been faithfully participating in Crossover since 2000 and is always accompanied by a team from his church.
Luis Lopez, associate vice president of Hispanic relations with the SBC Executive Committee, said “the participation of so many Hispanic churches in this Crossover effort is a clear indication that our hearts are focused on reaching people with the Gospel.”
Nelson Pérez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Hispana Emanuel in Kenner, La., for the last 15 years and a graduate from New Orleans Baptist Seminary (NOBTS), said “our goal is to continue being faithful servants and sharing the gospel in the community. My focus can be found in 1 Corinthians 6; I throw the seeds and who makes the seeds grow is the LORD.” Fabio Castellano, director of NOBTS Spanish Programs and the associate pastor at Emanuel, was also engaged in sharing the Gospel with the community around Emanuel.
There were many other churches who participated in Crossover activities for the Hispanic communities during this time such as Iglesia Bautista Maranatha in Laplace, Iglesia Jesucristo para las Naciones, Iglesia Bautista Getsemani in New Orleans, Iglesia Bautista la Viña in Westwego, Iglesia Bautista Lugar Seguro in Kenner.
Pastor Geovany Gómez, who leads church health for the New Orleans Baptist Association, oversaw all 18 projects in the Jefferson Parish area and Pastor Nathan Loyd at Lakeshore en Español lead a team from A New Iberia Baptist Church. Former New Orleans pastor and associational missionary Joe McKeever, a Christian cartoonist, was also part of the team of participants going into the community to share the Gospel.
Pastor Geovany Gómez directed the event and had team leaders directing several groups. He encouraged all the participants to attend the SBC annual meeting, the Hispanic events surrounding the convention and also to continue sharing the Gospel during their stay in New Orleans.