Crossover St. Louis sees increase in faith decisions

ST. LOUIS (BP) -- Southern Baptist volunteers took advantage of the preparations made in advance of Crossover St. Louis and saw those efforts result in 556 St. Louis residents placing their faith in Christ for salvation. As the host city for the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the St. Louis Baptist Association and executive director Jim Breeden helped create environments where people were receptive to Gospel conversations.

The number of salvation decisions during Crossover Saturday (June 11) marks an increase for the first time in three years. That is a trend organizers hope to see continue in Phoenix, host for the SBC annual meeting in 2017.

The registered number of Crossover St. Louis volunteers was 3,984. Those volunteers participated in 8,379 gospel conversations where an invitation for a decision was extended. Crossover events were sponsored by more than 85 host churches and events.

North American Mission Board executive director of evangelism Joel Southerland serves as coordinator for the mission board's Crossover responsibilities. Southerland said he was humbled by the experience of seeing so many volunteers engaged in Gospel conversations.

"Crossover St. Louis was fantastic," Southerland said. "It brought churches together and many did an evangelistic event for the first time. We had more decisions in this Crossover than in the past three years -- over 200 more than last year. It's a testament to the hard work of the churches and pastors."

Southerland has already been in planning sessions for Crossover Phoenix. He expects another successful experience for volunteers and the Southern Baptist family in Phoenix. In addition to the traditional Crossover outreach activities, Harvest America will bring a new dynamic to Crossover Phoenix with the element of a city-wide crusade.

"Next year Crossover Phoenix with Harvest will be historic," Southerland said. "We have the opportunity to make a major impact for Christ in a major city. Working together we could see more than 5,000 come to faith in Christ with many more from the simulcasts going on around the nation and world. It will be something Southern Baptists will be talking about for a long time to come. Every pastor should put June 10, 2017, on his calendar and make plans to be there."

By any measure -- city population, metro area or regional influence --Phoenix is a major North American city. One reason Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the United States is that it has become the go-to destination for retirees and high-tech entrepreneurs.

Harvest America is assisting churches with evangelistic events and will partner with Crossover Phoenix with an opportunity to capture the momentum from Crossover in a single, culminating crusade. It will enhance the traditional Crossover element with a focused, concluding activity. Stay up to date and find out how to volunteer at www.namb.net/crossover.

Joe Conway serves as marketing content coordinator for the North American Mission Board.
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