SBC Life Articles

Crossover Indiana

Southern Baptists planning to attend Crossover Indiana prior to the June 15-16 annual convention meeting will have no shortage of evangelistic events from which to choose.

From staffing about thirty block parties to conducting neighborhood surveys to teaching in Backyard Bible clubs, volunteers will have plenty of choices to be personally involved in helping to bring residents to Christ. One of those block parties will take on a distinctive Indianapolis theme with a Kindness Explosion, offering free low-impact auto maintenance.

"Indianapolis is famed for its racing events, so we thought we would pattern our Kindness Explosion around that theme," explained NAMB Crossover Coordinator Don Smith. The weekend for the Explosion, as well as most of the other events, is June 12-13.

"In past years we have given out free bottles of water in high-traffic areas of town. This year we are offering a 'pit stop' at an inner-city apartment complex where residents can receive free oil changes and minor auto maintenance. We feel this would provide a strong witness to who we as Southern Baptists are and give us opportunities to share our faith in Christ."

In addition to prayerwalking and other evangelistic venues, Southern Baptists will host a media campaign where copies of The Hope video will be sent free of charge to those inquiring about the gospel.

Smith said a volunteer network is being put in place so many of the videos can be hand-delivered by members of a local church. The campaign will be reinforced by volunteers staffing phones nationwide through NAMB's Evangelism Response Center.

But that's not all that is planned for this year's events.

"What is unique about Crossover this year is the Celebration Services that are planned to baptize people who come to Christ through the various evangelistic ministries that will be held," said John Rogers, director of evangelism for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.

"We plan to coordinate numerous revivals along with the outreach ministries, so those who are saved will have an opportunity to attend a revival within a day or two of their conversion and be given the opportunity to be baptized into a local Baptist church."

Rogers said Metro Association, which includes Indianapolis where the convention will be held, is forty-five miles wide from east to west. Rogers drew a circle around the area to identify the base of ministry during the Crossover emphasis. That area includes parts of seven other associations which will participate in the evangelistic thrust.

Crossover Indiana will begin the week prior to convention sessions and conclude the week following the annual meeting.

"Metro Association will be joined by East Central, Eastern, South Central, Whitewater, White River/West Central, and Miami to sponsor a variety of evangelistic ministries and revivals the week prior to and culminating on the weekend leading up to the annual meeting.

"Metro Association has pledged to conduct at least sixty-five ministries and forty-three revivals, and the other associations are planning additional revivals and ministries," Rogers said.

Indiana churches are not as strong as more established churches in the South, and it's more difficult for them to schedule a revival and cover the costs of out-of-state evangelists. That's why Rogers met with members of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists during last year's meeting in Phoenix with a radical new proposal.

"The outcome of that meeting is a breakthrough in how we will do Crossover in Indiana. Since many of our premier evangelists will already be in town for the pre-convention sessions, it seemed only natural to harness their skills in conducting the one- or two-day revivals. Our churches will be able to tap into that wealth of spiritual power and enlist them in revivals and provide them with a love offering."

"It's the best of both worlds, and the Kingdom will be the winner," he said.

Rogers, knowing that Southern Baptists from Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Kentucky will need to pass through the southern part of the state on their return home, has also scheduled similar outreach and revival events for that area of Indiana.

The second Crossover weekend — that weekend immediately following the convention — will see another series of events designed to bring even more people into Christ's Kingdom. At least thirty churches of Southeast Association are making themselves available for outreach and revivals using volunteers from states to their south.

He has been pleased with the response from the messengers he has enlisted for the emphasis and can barely contain his excitement for what he believes God is going to do in mid-June.

"Our state is a size where we can significantly impact the entire state during the convention meeting. … This year, Indiana Baptists are praying and believing God for the highest number of baptisms in our state's history."

Those 4.5 million residents without Christ are why Florida Baptists are turning out in force for Crossover. John Sullivan, executive director for the Florida Baptist Convention said his state has had a partnership with Indiana for the past two years and has just extended that relationship for another three years. He says the needs are great, but Southern Baptists have the resources and manpower to make a difference.

"The time is right for spiritual renewal in Indiana, and the week prior to and following this year's annual convention meeting will be the greatest opportunity many residents will ever have to hear the gospel.

"It would be a shame for a major religious gathering such as the Southern Baptist Convention to come to town for a week and folks not know who we are during that time. Our best witness is not what happens in our business meetings or fellowship gatherings but in the small neighborhoods scattered throughout the area … neighborhoods where block parties are held, Backyard Bible clubs are conducted, and where revivals are planned.

"That's where lives are changed for eternity."



Those wishing to volunteer for Crossover may sign up directly through www.TheBridge.namb.net, NAMB's online system for linking volunteers with projects. Others can sign up to pray for Crossover — whether on-site via prayerwalks or from their homes across the country — through www.CrossoverPrayer.org.

Individuals can also volunteer directly with Indiana Baptists by calling 1-800-444-5424 or by visiting the Web site at www.scbi.org and clicking on the link.

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