Crossover San Antonio begins
SAN ANTONIO (BP)--On Easter weekend, Bobby Welch launched a six-week initiative across Texas to speak nearly 100 times encouraging Southern Baptists in the Lone Star State to join in this June's Crossover San Antonio evangelistic effort.
Crossover San Antonio -- with June 9 as the key date for a range of evangelistic efforts in Texas' second-largest city -- will precede the Southern Baptist Convention's June 12-13 annual meeting.
Welch, recently named as the SBC Executive Committee's Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations, told members of Parkhills Baptist Church in San Antonio April 8: "It's a wonderful thing to see that you're involved in soul-winning, Great Commission evangelism and discipleship, reaching people with the Gospel and being intentional about it.
"I am thrilled to be in Texas because we're trying to encourage churches just like this one ... to be a part of Crossover on Saturday, June 9," said Welch, who also spoke at two other San Antonio churches, Village Parkway Baptist Church and the newly constituted Genesis Bible Baptist Church.
"In my two years as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, (Crossover) was one of the most thrilling things imaginable," the SBC's immediate past president said.
"I've already told my wife and family we'll be in San Antonio early to be fired up and geared up for that Saturday (June 9) I'm looking forward to doing it again."
During the week and weekend prior to the SBC's annual meeting, Crossover volunteers from scores of Southern Baptist churches in San Antonio and around the nation will spread the Gospel across the area.
"I don't want to miss this opportunity to thank you for all your support and encouragement" of Southern Baptist missionaries serving overseas and in North America, Welch added at Parkhills Baptist. "Their livelihood and life depends on us," he said, noting that SBC missionaries worldwide are "overwhelmingly heroic" and "need our continuing love, support and prayers."
Opening his Bible to 2 Peter 3:9, Welch preached a message similar to one he delivered on Good Friday at Village Parkway Baptist Church, where he also touted Crossover San Antonio and encouraged church members to sign up for the evangelistic effort.
Welch introduced the sermon by recounting a decades-old, eyewitness account told him by a man who was on the Lake Ponchatrain bridge outside New Orleans when a wind-blown barge slammed into the 24-mile causeway, ripping out a large section and causing the drowning deaths of a half-dozen people who were unaware of the looming calamity because of thick fog.
The man was creeping slowly along in his car, easing in and out of the fog banks at single digit speeds when out of the murky haze came running another man, wild-eyed, waving his arms and screaming. The driver changed lanes to avoid the panicked pedestrian, but he just ran faster toward the car. The driver changed lanes again with the same result.
"Stop! Stop! Stop! In the name of God, man, stop!" the running man was screaming. "The bridge is out! The bridge is out!" Welch recounted.
The two men crawled together toward the edge of the horrific scene where several cars and a bus had plummeted into the lake and where people could be seen struggling for their lives.
Welch read the familiar Bible verse, John 3:16, and asked why God sent His Son to die.
"Because God is not willing that any should perish," he said, referring to the 2 Peter verse.
"On this resurrection Sunday, we reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ," Welch said.
Comparing the "road block" effect the running man had to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Welch said, "God drove a stake in the ground in the form of a cross. It was a road block telling mankind, 'Stop! Stop! Stop! In the name of God, stop!'"
Welch explained that God wanted people who were headed to a Godless eternity to come face to face with the death of Jesus Christ and to realize that "He is the only way to heaven. He is not a way -– no, no; he is the way, the only way."
In an interview with Baptist Press after the sermon, Welch likened Crossover San Antonio to a road block, saying that Southern Baptists everywhere should "come to San Antonio and stand on these roads where sin clouds the vision of lost people from seeing their impending doom. We have to tell them, Stop! Stop! Stop! In the name of God, stop! -- and then show them how to go with Jesus."
For additional information about Crossover San Antonio or to register as a Crossover volunteer, go to www.crossoversa.org.