By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
NASHVILLE — Tennessee Baptists are preparing for Crossover, an annual evangelistic event that takes place in the city where the SBC annual meeting is held. This year’s meeting will be held June 13-16 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center.
Though churches in Nashville Baptist Association are the primary focal point, the area is being expanded to include Wilson County Baptist Association, Bledsoe Baptist Association, Concord Baptist Association, Cumberland Baptist Association, Robertson County Baptist Association and JST Association, said Mark Miller, baptism/discipleship team leader for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
Miller noted that the Crossover effort in Middle Tennessee is different from Crossover efforts in other SBC cities in years past.
The North American Mission Board is tying the event to its “Who’s Your One?” evangelism initiative, an effort to encourage Southern Baptists to engage people in gospel conversations throughout the year.
Baptist churches and associations in Middle Tennessee are being asked to sponsor an evangelistic event on Saturday, June 12, followed by a “Who’s Your One?” Rally on Sunday, Miller said.
The North American Mission Board, in conjunction with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, is providing training for churches and associations in April (list of dates can be found HERE).
Those leaders will then be able to train people from their churches on how to share their faith and engage others in gospel conversations, Miller said.
“This is a much simpler approach,” Miller noted. “”I am praying that God will really use Crossover to saturate Nashville and surrounding communities with the gospel.”
Rusty Sumrall, director of missions for NBA, said he is hopeful that 100 percent of the churches in the association will participate in a Saturday event, followed by the “draw the net” evangelistic event on Sunday.
Sumrall is excited that other area associations will be involved in Crossover. “This provides an opportunity for Southern Baptist churches to work together to show Christ’s love to people throughout Middle Tennessee,” he said.
The Nashville DOM added that he would love to see at least 500 people come to know Christ and be baptized as a result of Crossover events and the evangelistic services.
Roc Collins, strategic objectives director for the TBMB, agreed. Crossover is intended to impact the communities where the SBC annual meeting is being held, he said.
“Southern Baptists believe that salvation in Jesus Christ is available to all who call on Him, and we have the great privilege of carrying that glorious message to a lost world,” he said.
Collins said he is hopeful that more than 300 churches in Nashville and Middle Tennessee will sponsor evangelistic events on Saturday, followed up by a “Who’s Your One?” emphasis on Sunday. “Our goal is to see people come to know Jesus Christ and enter into an eternal relationship with Him,” he added.
“The immediate results of Crossover will be eternal for the spiritually lost who will be introduced to Jesus Christ during that Saturday emphasis in June,” observed Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of TBMB.
“The long-term impact will be hundreds of Tennessee Baptists equipped in evangelism at the Crossover training events,” Davis said.
Johnny Hunt, senior vice president for evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board, observed that Crossover “could be a great day of harvest where people are saved.”
More than that, however, Crossover can also “be a part of creating a culture of evangelism in your church,” Hunt added.
“The best translation of the Great Commission is ‘make disciples as you are going,’ ” Hunt said. “I’m extremely grateful for all the intentional witnessing that will take place in Nashville.
“However, with thousands of messengers, it’s my prayer that each of us will be faithful ‘as we go’ to make much of Jesus,” Hunt said. “May Nashville know that He was among them as He is lived out in our lives.” B&R