September 2, 2014
NASHVILLE (BP) -- For the past 25 years, Southern Baptists have begun each annual meeting by celebrating hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of new souls won for Christ.

This celebration is the result of Crossover, the evangelistic outreach initiative preceding the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Each year, North American Mission Board partners with state conventions, associations and local churches to saturate the host city of the Convention with evangelistic events. Volunteers from across the country arrive in the city a few days prior to the annual convention to participate alongside local church members. Last year, Crossover Houston marked the 25th year of outreach.

In 1983, when messengers approved Las Vegas as the 1989 SBC annual meeting site, they adopted a recommendation to add "a strong evangelistic emphasis in connection with the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1989."

The week prior to the Convention's annual meeting in Las Vegas, more than two thousand volunteers participated in door-to-door witnessing campaigns and revival services. They visited more than 100,000 homes and led approximately 470 people to Christ.

The following year, the SBC Home Mission Board (now NAMB) planned a second evangelistic event to coincide with the SBC annual meeting. The annual saturation evangelism initiative became known as Crossover in 1991, when then-SBC president Morris H. Chapman worked with the HMB to expand the one-day outreach into a full week. Crossover Atlanta that year involved door-to-door witnessing, serving meals to the homeless, street evangelism, and prayer throughout the city. The event saw 333 decisions for Christ.

The name "Crossover" was inspired by an evangelism conference in Australia where Chapman spoke in 1987. The theme of the conference was "Crossover Australia." In an interview with SBC LIFE, Chapman recalled being struck by the dual meaning of the name. Read More
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