Crossover evangelistic outreach reports 4,229 professions
June 20th, 2018 / By: Tammi Reed Ledbetter | Special Assignments Editor / comments
DALLAS/FORT WORTH Seminary students, local church members and volunteers from evangelist Greg Laurie’s Harvest America Crusade joined forces to share the gospel across Dallas-Fort Worth June 4-10, celebrating 4,229 professions of faith, the largest number ever recorded for the annual Crossover evangelistic outreach.
“One thing the church will never have to apologize to Jesus for is sharing the gospel too much,” stated Shane Pruitt, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention evangelism director who helped coordinate local the 13 launch sites at local churches. “We can’t be selfish with the gospel because it is meant to be shared on a daily basis.”
After six days of door-to-door evangelism, 185 students and faculty from Southern Baptist seminaries made 19,464 contacts, initiated 3,180 gospel conversations and reported 340 spiritual commitments as part of this year’s Crossover evangelistic outreach prior to the annual meeting of Southern Baptists. Local SBC churches throughout DFW hosted the groups after students spent their mornings taking an evangelism class at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Thousands of volunteers hit the streets with gospel conversations from launch sites around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They saw 675 people profess faith in Christ and invited thousands of people to the crusade led by Laurie on June 10 where another 2,339 people were saved. With live streaming of the event, over 100,000 unique viewers watched online and 875 people made professions of faith.
An inability to speak Spanish fluently didn’t stop three students from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary from leading a non-English-speaking Hispanic woman to the Lord while visiting Grand Prairie neighborhoods. “We had an English tract and gave her a Spanish language version of the same tract and walked her through it,” explained Brian Steward who was joined by Abby Miller and Misti Short.
That’s when the group turned to the 1Cross app developed by the SBTC to provide 3-minute gospel testimonies in over 60 languages. “We let her watch the video and then she repeated it at the end so we knew for sure she understood the gospel and we got to lead her to Christ.”
Over in Fort Worth, Rebekah Goodman of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was walking through a neighborhood with another student, headed to an apartment complex. “We took a wrong turn and walked across to a place we weren’t supposed to be.”
There they encountered a homeless man named Josephus and began explaining the gospel to him. “He had never heard it before and he accepted Christ,” Goodman said. “It was really a cool moment and we weren’t even supposed to be going that way.”
Brian Post and Justin Wine of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary met a man named Javier while visiting a Fort Worth neighborhood. “He said he was fine with speaking English, but I wasn’t sure it was most comfortable for him so we changed over to Spanish,” Post said.
The man said he believed in God, but when asked about Jesus Christ, he admitted he did not. “We talked about what it is to ask Jesus to come into your heart and make that decision for eternity,” Post recalled. “At first he didn’t make a decision, but said he understood and we prayed.”
After more discussion, Post and Wine made sure Javier understood everything Christ had done for him. “‘He said, ‘I am just so thankful for what Jesus did for me,’” Post said. “We prayed again and being able to hear from him was the most important part,” he added, describing Javier’s testimony of faith in Christ.
“I had never led someone to Christ before and he was excited, too, asking, ‘What now?’” The students gave the man a Bible and located a nearby Hispanic congregation to follow up.
When Southwestern Seminary student Esther Constante knocked on the door of a single mother in Fort Worth, the woman told her she was too busy to buy whatever the visitors were selling. Having explained that she had just come out of a difficult relationship, Constante told her, “You know what? You’re not going to be alone anymore because today we are here to tell you that you are not alone.”
The woman began crying and told the students she had asked God to send her a sign because she needed someone to walk with her, feeling alone and tired. After Constante shared the gospel, the woman said, “I want to receive Christ in my life right now,” and prayed to profess her newfound faith.
Constante recalled the woman saying, “‘I just want to hug you all. Thank you for coming to my door. I needed a sign and God sent the Bible to my door.’”
After giving the woman a Bible and connecting her with a local Southern Baptist church, the students told her to start reading the Book of John. She responded by saying she’d start reading that night and would be at church on Sunday. “You could see her face change completely,” Constante said. “It was very encouraging.”
Launch churches affiliated with SBTC included First Baptist Euless, First Baptist Irving First Baptist Keller, Tate Springs Baptist in Arlington, Prestonwood Baptist in Plano, First Baptist Dallas, First Baptist Church of Farmersville and North Richland Hills Baptist.
“I’m not here to talk to you about religion,” Southern Baptist Evangelist Greg Laurie told the crowd of an estimated 35,000 people gathered at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on June 10. “I’m here to talk to you about a relationship with God that you can experience,” he said.
“Christ can fill that big hole that is in your heart right now. We all need him. We all need a Savior. There’s so much stuff to distract us and emptiness to make us feel alone. Yet, Jesus, who created us, also gives us purpose. Jesus loves us all—no matter what we do or say or have done before—so much.”
“People might say crusades are over but all you have to do is look around,” Prestonwood Baptist Pastor Jack Graham of Plano said of the thousands who gathered on a Sunday night. “It works because it brings people together in a time when we have so much dissonance and division.
“I believe in invitational evangelism,” Graham said. “We invite many to come to know and follow Christ in our churches. And in a great environment like AT&T Stadium, a crusade can bring churches together and allow a great evangelist to proclaim the gospel and invite people to Christ in an effective way.”
“This was a great opportunity for people to hear, ‘God loves you,’” said attendee Brian Cole, minister of communications and worship at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Cedar Hill.
Pruitt said Crossover provided a firsthand opportunity to see that the greatest forces in the world are God and his church unleashed in unity to advance his Kingdom. “We got to see the church mobilized to reach thousands.”