September 16, 2014


BAYFIELD, Colo. (BP) -- An exhibit of 19,000 white 12-inch crosses rotates among various
The Crosses Project is a travelling exhibit of First Baptist Church of Bayfield, Colo. The white crosses represent the 19,000 children worldwide who die each day from hunger and poverty. First Baptist Bayfield photo
locations in Bayfield, Colo. The crosses are an outreach of First Baptist Church.

The Crosses Project, seen only in the town of about 2,500 people, vividly illustrates the 19,000 children worldwide who die each day from hunger and poverty. The Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention helps the church respond to the global need.

Randy Ash has served as pastor of First Baptist in Bayfield the past eight years. The church attracts 120 to Sunday worship. Ash said 10 percent of the church's undesignated offerings go to the Cooperative Program. He added that it illustrates a commitment to fulfill the Great Commission.

"God's hand has been on this church because this church has always seen beyond itself," Ash said. "It's the opposite of a fortress mentality. The Cooperative Program helps us be external in its view of ministry."

"We are a small church, and we understand the concept that we can do more together than we can alone," Ash said. "Our bottom line is a passion for Christ."

For Ash, the Cooperative Program is even more about discipleship than evangelism. Ash disciples four to six men at a time, grooming them to disciple others in turn, and thus fulfill the Great Commission.

"It's a passion for Christ; that's the bottom line," he said. "It's being Christ in the community. It's an external view to be the hands and feet of Christ in our community and the world. It's about pursuing, promoting and protecting the passion for Christ, because all ministry action stems from a passion for Christ.

"We're looking beyond ourselves. We give God all the glory and praise for what He accomplishes through His obedient and humble servants."

First Baptist Bayfield ministers locally in a variety of ways, but never loses sight of global needs. The Crosses Project is the brainchild of First Baptist member Gordon Herrick, who teaches math at Fort Lewis College in nearby Durango. Herrick recommended planting the crosses for a month at a time in various locations around southwestern Colorado for maximum impact and visibility.

The visual display is intended to help people understand the reality of poverty and encourage their financial support of such program as the Southern Baptists' Global Hunger Relief. Read More

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