With eight months until Crossover 2019, Birmingham-area Southern Baptists are looking to build upon a record number of faith commitments last year.
Although specific plans have not been finalized, the North American Mission Board is partnering with seven Alabama Baptist associations in the effort. Door-to-door evangelism in the suburbs and a Send Relief outreach downtown are expected to be part of the Crossover plans prior to the June 11–12 SBC annual meeting.
“We will be working closely with our state and local Baptist partners in Alabama to plan a Crossover that is a great fit for Birmingham and Alabama,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. “We always want Crossover to be something that local Baptists feel they can own and fully participate in. I hope everyone planning to attend SBC 2019 will make plans to arrive early and participate in this opportunity to share Jesus with those in and around Birmingham.”
The Southern Baptist Convention started Crossover in 1989 as a way to engage the host city of the SBC’s annual meeting with the Gospel. North American Mission Board partners with the local state convention and the local SBC associations in the area to coordinate the effort.
For the last two years, NAMB, local Southern Baptist associations, and Harvest America have worked together to host evangelistic crusades the Sunday before the annual meeting. The crusades have followed door-to-door evangelistic efforts the proceeding week and street evangelism the day before. Though these crusades have been fruitful, logistical challenges make it impossible to repeat in Birmingham next June.
“Originally, we planned to partner with Harvest again for a Birmingham crusade,” Joel Southerland of NAMB said. “However, the logistics didn’t allow that to happen. After much consideration with Harvest and local leaders, we decided to go a different direction. Harvest is a great partner, and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Last year tens of thousands of people attended the 2018 Crossover Harvest America Crusade in Dallas, and more than one hundred thousand watched online. A record 4,229 people came to faith in Christ through last year’s Crossover activities, which includes salvation decisions at the crusade, online, and through door-to-door and street evangelism in the preceding week.
Alabama Baptists hope next year’s Crossover events will give them a similar opportunity to saturate the city of Birmingham with the Gospel.
“The 2019 Crossover Birmingham will offer the SBC, and especially Alabama Baptists, the opportunity to make a significant impact on the greater Birmingham area as well as the inner city,” said Sammy Gilbreath, director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions office of evangelism. “It will be a joy to partner with Joel Southerland at NAMB in developing the strategy, and then implementing it to reach the city for Christ. Their expertise and passion for this ministry help motivate and train hundreds of volunteers for this incredible opportunity.”
NAMB will communicate more details about Crossover events and opportunities in early 2019.
Tobin Perry writes for the North American Mission Board and is a member of Center of Hope Church in Evansville, Indiana.