Southern Baptists Engage in Evangelism Outreach in Birmingham, Alabama, Ahead of Annual Meeting

Melissa Sims, standing, and dentist William Morris, pray with a patient after she received dental treatment at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church June 8, as part of Crossover 2019, held prior to the June 11-12 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. Photo by Hannah Anders

An expected 400 teams of Southern Baptists took to the streets to pray with families and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ prior to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

Despite intermittent rain and threats of even worse weather on Saturday (June 8), Southern Baptists set out to knock on the doors of 20,000 homes in greater Birmingham in their annual Crossover outreach. They also provided free medical and dental care through a Send Relief mobile clinic set up at Birmingham’s Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.

“What brings us together is the mission,” said J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. “What excites us when we come together is to be able to proclaim with our mouths and with our deeds that Jesus Christ loves people, that He died to save sinners and He offers healing for all who will look to Him.”

Crossover, Greear said, is an opportunity “to go through neighborhoods and tell people with our words and, in events like Send Relief we’re able to demonstrate with our deeds that Jesus’ love not only affects the soul but also touches the body.”

Organizers tallying the day’s numbers said volunteers knocked on the doors of 10,409 homes, had 1,817 gospel conversations, prayed with 2,251 people and saw 364 people place their faith in Jesus.

Outreach teams dispersed from seven hub churches in different Birmingham-area Baptist associations. The teams started their morning with training by longtime evangelism trainer Bill Fay via video. The volunteers then divided into groups and went into the community each with the goal of visiting around 50 homes throughout the day.

Southern Baptists prayed with the residents, distributed information on nearby Alabama Baptist churches, a New Testament and a Gospel tract.

“The Bible commands us to witness,” said John Woods, a Crossover volunteer from Poplar Springs Baptist Church in Ringgold, Ga., who visited homes near First Baptist Church in Pelham, Ala. “So why am I doing it? God told me as a Christian that I need to go out and witness.”

Southern Baptist seminary students shared the Gospel in homes surrounding the seven hub churches during the week prior to Saturday’s outreach. Alabama Baptist leaders saw the Crossover activities as an opportunity to not only saturate Birmingham with the Gospel but to train local churches in evangelism.

Dennis Blythe, executive pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, one of the hub churches for the initiative, said, “We’d like to not only see Gospel advancement and Gospel saturation in our community, but I hope God will do something in the lives of our own people to increase the urgency of having Gospel-witnessing presentations in our community.”

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Source: Baptist Press