Southern Baptists are being asked to help their counterparts in Orlando, Fla., this June with "Through Every Door" - an unprecedented effort to reach every home in the metropolitan Orlando area with the good news of Jesus Christ.
The door-to-door campaign of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ will be just one of the opportunities for volunteers willing to share their faith during the June 8-15 Crossover Orlando, held before and during the June 13-14 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Orlando. Crossover is held each year as a way of helping Southern Baptists make a lasting impact on their convention host city.
"Across America there is an unprecedented openness to talk about spiritual matters. We want to capitalize on that interest and carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the streets of Orlando," said Don Smith, an event evangelism associate for the North American Mission Board and chairman of the Crossover Orlando steering committee. "We are praying that God will give us 5,000 souls during this emphasis."
Crossover is sponsored by churches of the Greater Orlando Baptist Association and the North American Mission Board, with the participation of Southern Baptists from across the country. Although many Crossover participants are in town for the convention, many - including a large group of college students and many church groups - come each year solely for the ministry opportunity. Most events will take place on June 10, the Saturday before the convention.
The "Through Every Door" campaign is similar to previous door-to-door efforts held as part of Crossover, although in this case it is part of a larger statewide initiative. Participants will be asked to conduct surveys of residents in neighborhoods, the results of which will help local churches more effectively meet needs in their communities.
The June 10 Crossover event will be the last of four consecutive Saturday "Through Every Door" efforts by Orlando-area churches. More than 400,000 homes have been mapped for the canvassing.
Also a part of Crossover are: neighborhood block parties hosted by local churches, performances by ministry teams in public areas, street evangelism in inner-city communities, and a number of city-wide activities, including:
• The Lake Eola Celebration festival in downtown Orlando's Eola Park, sponsored by Downtown Baptist Church.
• A multi-ethnic International Festival at the Central Florida Fairgrounds expected to draw several thousand participants and guests.
• "Ladies of the Night," a ladies ministry to women on the Orange Blossom Trail, an area of the city known for its prostitution and drug use.
• Servant ministry - simple acts of kindness offered in Christ's name, such as an offer of free cold water. The efforts will be associated with many existing Southern Baptist resort ministries already operating in the area, as well as to protestors and demonstrators outside the convention center.
• Prayer journeys, in which groups of individuals walk or drive through various parts of the city, praying as God leads.
• Radio and television advertising proclaiming the hope found in Jesus Christ, with an opportunity to talk personally with someone about spiritual needs on a toll-free response line.
• Sports clinics - led by student volunteers and sponsored by local churches - for neighborhood children and youth.
• Frontliners revivals, in which high school-age students hosted by several area churches will receive training and practical experience in sharing their faith.
While many have committed to taking part in Crossover Orlando, organizers say there is still a great need for more volunteers - particularly for the "Through Every Door" effort.
Those interested in being part of Crossover Orlando should contact the Greater Orlando Baptist Association, (407) 293-0450, or via email to email@example.com. To simplify processing and assignments, registration is requested by May 10. Participants also will be asked to attend a training session from 7-9 p.m., June 9 at the Orlando Convention Center.
Mobilizing Students and Churches to Proclaim the Gospel
by James Dotson
When Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, Ga., hosted a Frontliners crusade last June as part of Crossover Atlanta, there were plenty of immediate professions of faith recorded as hundreds of high school students became bold witnesses for Christ.
But the greatest impact on the church came in the months following, according to the church's evangelism leader. Baptisms from September through February were double the previous year's numbers as the entire congregation mobilized for evangelism.
That is exactly the sort of feedback that excites Kelly Green, who founded Frontliners in the early '90s and now partners with the North American Mission Board in conducting Frontliners crusades across the country. Short-term results are there, but it is the long-term impact - both in the church and the lives of the students that become lifelong soul-winners - that is most important.
"We're going to see people saved, but the long-term impact is seeing these people trained," said Kelly, a member of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla.
Frontliners will be a part of the Crossover evangelistic effort again this year in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. Crusades are planned the week of June 10-14 at First Baptist Church of Oviedo and First Baptist Church of Kissimmee.
Those events, anticipated to include more than 600 students, are among thirteen Frontliners crusades across the country this summer by three crusade teams. Approximately 3,200 students likely will participate.
"It's an awesome way to train kids how to personally share their faith," said Len Taylor, director of student evangelism for NAMB. "It's like an evangelism lab, because they learn what to do in the morning and they actually do it in the afternoon."
"A Frontliner crusade basically is a regular revival crusade that involves the whole church," Green said, with the added dynamic of being a training ground for young soul-winners.
For more information, visit www.frontliners.org on the Internet or call (813) 657-8644.