NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–It was the last house on the street, and the last visit of the day. Steve and Jeal Atwood, two Southern Baptists from Bradford, Tenn., were about to experience a divine appointment.
As part of Crossover door-to-door visitation June 18, the Atwoods had combed every house on Hillside Road in north Nashville, planting seeds for Christ but seeing no decisions for Christ.
Minutes from ending their day, they knocked on one more door — this one of a 67-year-old widower who had lost his wife a month earlier.
After Steve Atwood guided him through the FAITH evangelistic outline, the man — tears streaming down his face — prayed to receive Christ.
But the visit nearly didn’t take place — the man’s address wasn’t on the official visitation list. Earlier in the day the Atwoods felt led to sweep both sides of the street and visit every house.
“Isn’t that something?” Jeal Atwood asked. “… He’s the last one we talked to.”
A local church, Inglewood Baptist, plans to conduct a follow-up visit with the man, who said his wife was also a Christian.
“He’s lonely and he’s grieving, and he wants to join his wife someday,” Steve Atwood, pastor of Mt. Pleasant Baptist in Bradford, said.
The Atwoods visited approximately 20 houses on the street.
At one house a woman said her son was sent to jail that morning and her whole family needed God. At another house, a woman said she was interested in hearing about Christianity but was pressed for time and needed to leave. Neither visit resulted in a decision but seeds were planted.
When they encountered a house with no one home, the Atwoods left a Bible on the doorstep.
Local media coverage of Crossover had been heavy, and many of Nashville’s residents knew ahead of time that thousands of Southern Baptists were going door to door.
One elderly lady opened the door and told the Atwoods, “Y’all must be the Baptists.” She was a Free Will Baptist and had been told by her daughter earlier in the day that “the Southern Baptists are everywhere.”
The Atwoods began their day like many other Crossover teams — with a few jitters and butterflies.
Before stepping out of the car on their first visit, Jeal asked, “Are you going to talk or am I going to talk?”
“Whatever you’d like,” Steve responded.
On one of their first visits, they encountered a surprise.
“There’s a major dog there,” Jeal said out loud.
Bill Bearden, a 77-year-old member of Inglewood Baptist, was the third member of the team and the driver for the day, taxiing the Atwoods around the neighborhood. A longtime Southern Baptist, Bearden jokingly said he had been to every seminar Southern Baptists had ever held.
“Methods change, but the basic message of winning people to Christ hasn’t changed,” Bearden said. “… Go find ’em, cultivate ’em and get ’em in church.”
On this day, the Atwoods hoped they did all three.