PHOENIX, Arizona ? Seventeen hundred miles is a long way to drive to attend a party, but this was no ordinary party.
Pastor Paul Nachtigall and six members of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Pampa drove 850 miles each way to attend a block party in Mesa, Az., sponsored by Valley Southern Baptist Church.
“It’s something we can be involved with short-term,” he said. “The people that have been involved in the past have found that this is something we can do, and we’ve really enjoyed it.”
As mothers watched two girls from Pampa paint the faces of their children, Nachtigall watched the mothers. “You could tell that the mothers realized these girls really cared about them,” he said. “The people who came to the party knew that what we were doing was out of love.”
The block party was one of 62 ministry efforts connected to Crossover Arizona, a SBC evangelistic endeavor preceding the SBC annual meeting each year.
Crossover Arizona events, scheduled for June 11-22, involved 42 Arizona churches and approximately 3,000 Southern Baptist volunteers from across the country. Venues included school playgrounds, shopping malls, skate parks, city streets, and door steps. In addition to block parties, the volunteers prayer walked, conducted door-to-door spiritual opinion surveys, and ministered to hikers and bikers by passing out water near Camelback Mountain.
While many Crossover activities produced immediate results in the form of hundreds of new believers in Christ, volunteers hope follow-up efforts will bring many more to Christ. What cannot be measured, participants believe, is how the seeds planted at each event will impact the people of Arizona for years to come.
Pastor Kevin Herbert and members of Main Street Baptist Church in Grand Saline also traveled to Phoenix. The group assisted First Southern Baptist Church of Walton, near Yuma, to prepare for a post-convention block party and for Vacation Bible School, scheduled for June 23. “Our goal is to help them in anyway possible,” Herbert said.
Due to prior commitments, Nachtigall and the group from Pampa did not stay for the convention. Their sole purpose for driving to the Valley of the Sun was to minister at the block party.
“It was a long way to drive, but it was worth the trip,” he said. “On the drive home we were already discussing how we were going to get to Indianapolis next year.”
Lindsey Nimmons, pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Trinity, signed up to participate in door-to-door evangelism and prayerwalking efforts but discovered God called him to Crossover Phoenix for another reason.
Preaching for 52 years, Nimmons, 70, worked with Power Road Baptist Church in Phoenix, training Vacation Bible School workers and preparing the church for its upcoming ministry event. In the evenings, the 70-year-old pastor traversed assigned communities looking for prospects for the church.
“I would come back very disappointed, because we didn’t see a single person,” he said. “It seemed to be very hot and most weren’t home from work yet.”
However, it wasn’t until later that the Texas Baptist discovered the reason God sent him to the desert. While sleeping in his motel room, someone vandalized Nimmons’ car shattering a window. The next morning, an area repairman named Charlie was called and Nimmons lead him to the Lord.
“He had to do my job in two days, two different times, because he didn’t have all the right stuff the first time,” recounted Nimmons, adding that he was able to talk to Charlie while he was working. “I said ‘I suppose you’re Catholic.’ He said ‘Yes.'”
Nimmons said Charlie was “stand-offish” at first, but he gave him a tract in Spanish and English.
“When he came the next morning I shared with him again. He said he wanted toknow about the church I was serving (t1:Street>Power Road), and I invited him to come see the Jesus film that was showing that night. He said, ‘I told you I was Catholic, but I don’t know what I am. I read the material, and I want to become a Christian. I want to start going to church.’ I said ‘Are your ready to give your life to Christ?’ and he said yes.”
As Charlie left, Nimmons said, “Look forward to seeing you