Crossover Arizona nets 1,100 decisions, 8,500 prospects for local churches

MESA, Ariz. (BP)--Crossover Arizona, the evangelistic emphasis surrounding the June 17-18 Southern Baptist Convention, resulted in more than 1,100 professions of faith and 8,500 prospects for local churches.

Unlike previous efforts, Crossover Arizona involved weekends both before and after the annual meeting -- with Phoenix-area churches partnering with other churches across the state to conduct block parties, door-to-door evangelism and other events.

A total of 43 events were held the weekend of June 13-14 in metropolitan Phoenix, while an additional 13 events were held June 21.

"Most of our churches that took part in Crossover were doing something they'd never attempted before, so it was a great experience to have them take the next step," said Jerry Martin, coordinator for the effort and director of missions for Valley Rim Baptist Association in Mesa.

"It was a super blessing to have the convention here, and to have all the volunteers out here helping us. Everywhere I went the volunteers just jumped in and took over responsibilities as they were needed."

Martin said his own church, Celebration Fellowship in Mesa, participated in a partnership with First Baptist Church of Welton for both a block party and a door-to-door surveying effort June 21. A volunteer team from Texas also participated.

He told of one grandmother who had previously accepted Christ and was able to form a relationship with the church through a visit with one of the survey teams. The woman cared for a grandchild with Down syndrome and was not able to get involved in many outside activities.

"The lady didn't know there was anybody out there who cared, so she's got a new lease on life through this relationship and the freedom that's going to be offered," he said, noting that five individuals in Welton made professions of faith in Christ.

For the churches involved, the Crossover effort continues as the decision cards and prospect lists receive attention.

"The churches that reach people for Christ will be and already are providing follow-up materials and seeking to assimilate them into the life of the church," said Dick Church, manager of personal evangelism for the North American Mission Board, which sponsors the effort nationally.

About 1,200 volunteers from across the country joined about 2,000 local volunteers for the effort.

For next year, participants in the Crossover Indiana effort will find a format similar to Crossover Arizona, according to Don Smith, who coordinates Crossover planning for NAMB. Events will be held in Indianapolis the weekend before the city hosts the SBC annual meeting, as well as in other parts of the state the weekend after.

"We're doing pretty much the same types of activities that we've used traditionally," he said. "One additional emphasis is that churches will be encouraged to host weekend revivals, or have a major harvest Sunday on the Sunday before the convention."


(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: SHARING HOPE IN ARIZONA and LOOKING FOR A FOOTHOLD.

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