DALLAS, TX – From Benbrook west of Fort Worth 102 miles to Greenville east of Dallas, from Denton north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex 75 miles south to Ennis, Georgia Baptists should have no shortage of ministry opportunities when they gather for their annual Convention meeting next month.
With just six weeks to go, more than 300 volunteers from across Texas have signed up for evangelism and compassion ministry opportunities for the 48 hours of Crossover.
Historically Crossover has consumed the week preceding the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. Last year in Phoenix it was scaled back to the Saturday prior to an area-wide revival that was led the next day by nationally known California pastor/evangelism Greg Laurie.
This year, under the direction of Harvest America and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), it will include two days of outreach rooted in churches who are mobilizing to reach their communities. As last year, the event will lead up to another evangelism rally on Sunday, June 10 led by Laurie and his Harvest America ministry.
Shane Pruitt, evangelism director for the SBTC, is heading up the recruitment of volunteers who will partner with local churches in 9 distinct areas of the sprawling 13-county Metroplex.
The effort will be supported by another group of students and volunteers from five of the six SBC seminaries and led by Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth. Assistant Professor of Evangelism Brandon Kiesling says there will be about 160 individuals from the seminary who will be participating in the evangelism dimension of the event. The Index will provide coverage of Georgia Baptist students who will be participating in a weeklong emphasis leading up to the two days which are the focus of the Harvest and Crossover emphasis.
Pruitt says 12 “launch churches” plus a compassion ministry known as 6 Stones will be the key doorways through which volunteers will enter to use their gifts and talents in ministry. Volunteers will choose here which of the churches they want to partner with, and in some cases will be able to choose between other churches which the launch church has partnered with to extent the ministry further into the district.
“I feel like we’re playing match.com as we connect volunteers with churches who are needing additional man- and woman-power to their outreach events,” Pruitt jokingly says as he drives across the Texas countryside for another planning meeting.
“We are letting the churches come up with the strategy that best fits their community and encouraging them first to mobilize their own members. Then we will help bring volunteers alongside them as partners. But the emphasis is on the local church because they are the ones who will remain in the community long after the volunteers have returned home,” he explains.
Volunteers … either individuals or entire teams from churches … can view the congregations they want to partner with by clicking here. The link displays the map so volunteers can decide which part of the Metroplex to serve so they can secure nearby lodging.
Each church has determined how many volunteers it will need and when that goal is reached, it will no longer be an available option. Pruitt says that will help distribute volunteers evenly across the area.
The term “launch church” is being used to identify congregations that are launching their members and volunteers into the communities; it does not signify them as being a new church plant.
A total of 12 churches will be participating with 8 of them being Southern Baptist … most affiliated with SBTC and some being dually aligned with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Georgia Baptists can choose from among these churches and compassion ministry
The Southern Baptist churches on the list include:
- Region 1: 6 Stones (a compassion ministry, not a church)
- Region 1: North Richland Hills Baptist Church
- Region 2: First Rock Fellowship
- Region 3: First Baptist Euless
- Region First Baptist Keller
- Region 4: First Church Tate Springs
- Region 5: First Irving
- Region 6: First Prestonwood
- Region 7: First Dallas
- Region 7: Cornerstone Baptist Church, a predominantly African American congregation
- Region 8: Concord Church, a predominantly African American congregation
- Region 9: First Farmersville
Each church on the website will note whether it is offering strictly evangelism or a compassion ministry, or both; and it will post a time for evangelism training prior to the ministry.
Pruitt noted that the churches will be providing more of the traditional Crossover events that Southern Baptists have come to expect.
“There will be door-to-door evangelism as well as compassion ministries such as block parties, feeding ministries, home maintenance and such but the focus will be on evangelism. Even the compassion ministries will serve as platforms from which to share the gospel,” he added.
“Crossover this year will be a great opportunity as we come together to help these churches reach their communities. We are not stressing that the volunteers are the primary source of labor but the churches themselves because they are the ones who will remain being long after the volunteers have returned home. We want to build up the local churches to have a greater gospel presence in their neighborhoods.
“The Great Commission calls for more than decisions for Christ; it calls for disciples to be made. The local church is the best group to bring in those new believers and walk with them and nurture them in their new life.