More than 30 respond to the gospel during Crossover Student Rally


CARMEL, Indiana —When Jared Barham brought students from his Indianapolis church to the first-ever Crossover Student Rally at Harvest Church in Carmel, Indiana, he had big hopes. The associate pastor of youth at Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis hoped they’d hear the gospel from a different voice and learn about how to share it with their friends.

Barham and his group left with that and much more. Two of his students were among 31 students who committed their lives to Christ at the event.

“To see some of them just break down with the Holy Spirit, at the power of the gospel that Shane (Pruitt) was able to present, was incredible,” Barham said. “It was life-changing for me. I’ve only been here coming up on a year. And to see that happen was only the power of God. We’re so excited. One of the student’s parents was here as well. So, we got to celebrate together up there on stage. It’s just incredible. That’s the only way I can describe it. It was incredible.”

Those decisions for Christ came after Shane Pruitt, the North American Mission Board’s national director of next gen evangelism, shared the gospel to the estimated 300 in attendance.

“Jesus loved us so much. He lived a perfect, sin-free life that we cannot live. And then don’t ever get over this, he took our place on the cross,” Pruitt said. “We should have been there. Yet, he took our place. We are jacked up; He is perfect. We are sinners; he is sinless. But he loved us so much. He took our place as a perfect sacrifice for our sin, as a perfect substitute in our place.”

Pruitt reminded attendees they aren’t guaranteed tomorrow and urged them not to wait to make their decision for Jesus.

“As long as you have life and breath in your lungs, you have an opportunity to confess Jesus as the savior of your life,” Pruitt said. “But the moment that breath stops, it’s too late, and too late for all eternity. See, eternity is too long to be wrong about Jesus. Don’t wait.”

NAMB partnered with the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana to develop the event, hoping it would not only provide evangelism opportunities but prepare young people to share the gospel in their own schools and neighborhoods. NAMB staff trained the 300 attendees in the 3 Circles method of personal evangelism and how to live on mission. Those at the rally also enjoyed the comedic talents of the Skit Guys and illusionist Bryan Drake.

The event was a part of a weeklong evangelistic event in Indianapolis sponsored by NAMB and local Southern Baptists called Crossover. For more than 30 years, Southern Baptists have led Crossover events in the host city of the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, where they share the love of Jesus in engaging and practical ways.

“I want them to grow in their walks with Christ and learn more about how to do evangelism as well,” said Andy Hilden, youth and education pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Indianapolis, who brought some of his students to the event. “I hope this will create a greater hunger for the Word and a desire to share Jesus with their friends and family members who don’t know Him.”

Scooter Kellum, the team leader for church and leader mobilization at the SCBI, believes the event could have an impact far beyond what happened in Carmel on Saturday.

“One of the things that I love about getting to do this and the impact it will have moving forward is that many of our churches have bi-vocational pastors,” Kellum said. “The thought of youth ministry or having a youth minister can be challenging because you don’t have that leader. Bringing something like this together helps us springboard into youth ministry in churches, bringing in teenagers, and doing related activities. This is really good. We’re not only reaching teenagers but also hopefully springboarding into disciple-making and generations of ministries moving forward.”