Crossover's impact reaches beyond one week's efforts

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please see additional Crossover story below this article. This year's Crossover event is scheduled for June 13.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) -- Baltimore church planter Jeremy Dickson has seen firsthand the impact of Crossover upon the ministries of his new church.

Jordan Mckinion (left), a member of Neshoba Baptist Church in Union, Miss., helps a Crossover block party participant with glitter ball crafts at last year's Crossover in Baltimore. Colonial Baptist Church in Baltimore was the host church for the event. Crossover Columbus is set for Saturday, June 13.
File photo by John Swain/NAMB
The week before last summer's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, Dickson's Infinity Church worked with Southern Baptist volunteers during the annual evangelistic outreach to get the word out about a health fair in its neighborhood.

Thanks to the help of volunteers who showed up to help, Dickson believes the event was a rousing success.

In fact, Dickson is so grateful for the support of Southern Baptists during last year's Crossover, he's bringing a team to this June's Crossover Columbus -- along with volunteers from other Baltimore Baptist Association churches -- as a way to say "thank you." Dickson says nine people from his church have already signed up to be a part of this year's event.

They will be helping a Columbus church with a block party in their neighborhood.

John Adams (left, with glasses) and Elliot Campbell, members of First Baptist Church in Norfolk, Va., volunteered to serve snow cones to participants at Colonial Baptist Church during Baltimore's Crossover Saturday block party last year. Volunteers from local churches and across the United States and Canada can choose from more than 140 projects scheduled for Crossover Columbus this year.
File photo by John Swain/NAMB
"We want to 'pay it forward' and say thank you to those who came and helped us," Dickson said.

Crossover is held each year in the host city of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. A partnership between the North American Mission Board and the local Southern Baptist association, the outreach includes churches throughout the host city as well as volunteers from churches throughout North America. This year's event takes place Saturday, June 13.

Infinity Church members have seen four people they met through Crossover come to faith in Christ since last summer, Dickson said. The church has baptized three of those new believers. Although it's hard to quantify the influence of Crossover, he noted the event also contributed to the church plant crossing the 60 barrier in attendance soon afterward.

"It means the world to us to join with brothers and sisters who cared enough about us to give up a week to a week and a half in order to come and help us serve our community, especially since our neighborhood in Baltimore is much rougher than what many of them had experienced back home," Dickson said.

Block parties, like the one hosted by Colonial Baptist in Baltimore, Md., for Crossover 2014, will be a large part of the activities on Crossover Saturday (June 13) in Columbus, Ohio. Sean Wallace, of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Calvert County, Md., helps children into a bumper car at last year's event. In addition to Crossover, Columbus will host this year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
File photo by John Swain/NAMB
Dickson noted that through the Crossover event he had one member of his church step up to lead future outreach efforts by the church. After being asked by members of the community to do the event again, the church plant has committed to host a similar event this August.

Robert Anderson, pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Md., called Crossover "one of the most impactful events" in his church's history. The church had hoped 500 people would attend their first Colonial Fest event. Anderson said they were dreaming of 800 people showing up. Instead more than 1,500 people participated.

Anderson said he was particularly excited that so many people from a nearby apartment complex participated in the event. The effort opened up additional ministry opportunities in that community.

He also appreciated the opportunity to get more of his congregation involved in ministry efforts which led to more people getting trained for evangelism.

"The event taught us to trust God for big things," said Anderson, who was serving as the president of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware last summer as his church participated in Crossover. "So we're going to do it again this year."

The joint work of Southern Baptists in the city last summer was a great witness to their community, Anderson says.

"This was an opportunity to say to our community that we're doing this together," Anderson said. "Everyone has their own neck of the woods, their own Jerusalem. This allows us to work together in concert to impact our Jerusalem, which in turn impacts the whole city."

For an overview, or to learn more about preparing to participate at Crossover Columbus, visit www.namb.net/crossover. For additional information, visit www.crossovercolumbus.org. Collegiate groups can discover more about opportunities at www.forcolumbus.org.

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Columbus ready for Crossover

Joe Conway

COLUMBUS, Ohio, (BP) -- One of the legacies of Crossover is the ready-made evangelistic opportunities the day of emphasis has created.

Crossover Columbus is no exception.

Crossover has grown significantly since the original events held prior to the 1989 Southern Baptist Convention hosted in Las Vegas. The activities surrounding Crossover include evangelistic training, cooperation at every level of Baptist life and a variety of activities that volunteers can plug into, even if they only have the Saturday prior to the SBC to participate.

The host association, Metro Columbus Baptist Association (MCBA), has scheduled prayer times and training sessions for local residents. Learn more about those opportunities at metrocolumbus.org. Metro Director of Missions Rich Halcombe anticipates effective ministry to continue as a result of Crossover 2015. The association has already grown with the addition of 63 new churches in the past decade.

"There are more than 142 projects, activities and opportunities from which volunteers may select," Halcombe said. "Columbus adopted a church/city approach. Over 73 local MCBA churches are involved, doing local outreaches into their communities. With the local church as the lead, follow-up is built into the designed system for Crossover Columbus. In addition, the Linden neighborhood was chosen as a city area of focus."

Halcombe says the Linden area mirrors, in many ways, the area where the MCBA offices and Stowe Mission are currently located. With 750 volunteers a month at Stowe and a dental clinic, eye clinic, food pantry and community kitchen operating (which served 164,704 meals in 2014), along with three churches meeting there; the vision is to create another Stowe location in this city and in other cities.

"Crossover Columbus provided an opportunity to work in Linden to see if it might be a good fit for the future. The intern/homeless shelter space currently being constructed also points in that direction," Halcombe said.

All of the Crossover events need volunteer assistance to help reach their full potential.

For an overview, or to learn more about preparing to participate at Crossover Columbus, visit www.namb.net/crossover. For additional information, visit www.crossovercolumbus.org. Collegiate groups can discover more about opportunities at www.forcolumbus.org.

Crossover Columbus promo video:

Tobin Perry and Joe Conway write for the North American Mission Board.
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