COLUMBUS, OHIO — For the past 27 years, Southern Baptists have started each annual meeting by celebrating hundreds – sometimes thousands – of new souls being born into the Kingdom of God.
For the week of June 8-12, Southern Baptists from across the nation joined together for a week of evangelism training and outreach alongside the churches of metro Columbus.
Rich Halcombe, the director of missions for Columbus Baptist Association, stated, “God has His hand on central Ohio. He has sent numerous God-honoring, kingdom-minded witnesses to join our association of kingdom-minded churches. The Gospel was shared more times on Saturday’s Crossover than has ever been shared in Columbus on any single day.”
During the Columbus Crossover there were 3,385 volunteers involved having 4,948 Gospel conversations with people in the metro area and reporting that their witnessing efforts had resulted in 345 new believers in Jesus Christ.
Among the volunteers were 80 churches outside the Columbus area, 500 college student and 110 seminary students. Southwestern Seminary accounted for almost half (51) of the seminary students engaged in Crossover.
The Southwestern students engaged in Crossover under the direction of Brandon Keisling.
One of those Southwestern students was Colton Jones from Crossroads Church in Newnan. Colton, along with other SWBTS students, partnered with the Paramount Church in Bexley, a suburb of Columbus, visited 7,643 homes, had 309 Gospel conversations, and saw 46 people come to faith in Christ.
Jones and his colleagues worked under Kiesling, the evangelism team leader. Kiesling has quite a testimony himself. Eleven years ago he was in court facing a 15-year prison sentence for selling drugs. However, instead of receiving what he deserved, Kiesling was shown grace by a judge whose demeanor challenged and inspired him to seek the Lord.
The grateful Kiesling stated, “I realized God had a plan for my life, and mine wasn’t working, so I got on board with His plan.”
Subsequently, Kiesling trusted the Lord, accepted God’s call to ministry, enrolled in Southwestern, and has become a passionate soul winner.
Matt Queen, who serves as the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism, Associate Professor of Evangelism, and the Associate Dean of Doctoral Programs in the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Mission, commented on Kiesling by saying, “I have received word from many people, including those at NAMB, those at the other seminaries, and the pastor of the Paramount Church of Brandon’s exemplary leadership of our group and how impressed they are of our students’ passion for lost souls.
“In fact, they were supposed to have a relaxing time at the pastor’s home tonight and as soon as they arrived at his neighborhood, several began witnessing to his neighbors. Dr. Scarborough must have been smiling in heaven.”
Jones has also been intricately involved in sharing the Gospel in Fort Worth. He has embraced the Seminary’s strategic plan to systematically witness to the people of south Fort Worth by sharing Christ door-to-door in an ever-expanding radius from the Seminary campus.
Jones graduated from The Heritage School in Newnan and soon thereafter began to sense that God was calling him into ministry. He enrolled in Truett-McConnell College where his calling to missions became more specific.
“Missions intrigued me, because I love to travel and see the world. This was God’s way of grabbing my attention,” Jones commented. “Then as I began actually going on mission trips and meeting new people God began to form in my heart a supernatural love for people I have never met. This has continued to grow throughout the years as I have gone on subsequent mission trips.”
His mission trip to Columbus was eventful for Jones. He explained, “It has been wonderful meeting people like Lois, an elderly lady who was experiencing much physical pain, yet whose heart was open to the Gospel. There was also Thomas, who was earnestly searching for peace, and Seth, who has a birth defect – all of whom needed Jesus.”
In addition to his missions involvement in Columbus, Jones has participated in mission trips to Kenya, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
Growing Christian servants like Colton Jones sense that God is real in their lives. He testified, “I am so thankful that God hears and responds to my prayers. To me this is internal evidence that He’s the only living God.
“Just this week I have learned afresh that He moves and acts when I persistently pray. As one of my seminary professors said this week, ‘Some things God will do anyway, but other things He will only do if we ask.’ This was profound to me and shows just how God is moving in my life at the present time.”
This dynamic young seminarian then exclaimed, “So far as I am concerned, the quicker He cultivates my heart to be completely surrendered to Him the better.”
As Colton Jones walks with God and claims His promises it seems evident that he will impact this world for Christ in a very significant way.
“So far as I am concerned, the quicker He cultivates my heart to be completely surrendered to Him the better.”