“Crossover Houston”: Block parties, door-to-door offer platforms for gospel witness

“It’s always effective when Southern Baptists at every level cooperate to reach people for Christ,” said Darrell Robinson, a former pastor and longtime evangelist from The Woodlands.

Continuing the tradition of cooperation in reaching out to the SBC host city, Crossover Houston is offering opportunities for intentionally sharing the gospel, featuring block parties and door-to-door evangelism.

“The SBTC is working with NAMB to provide a more traditional Crossover experience,” said Nathan Lorick, SBTC evangelism director. “This includes working with seminary students Monday-Friday, June 3-7, going door-to-door to witness. On Saturday, June 8, churches will be hosting block parties across Houston.”

NAMB is also working with Union Baptist Association in Houston to help kick off “Loving Houston,” a three-year program featuring projects such as home renovation, clean-up, demolition, outreach and prayer walking.

“The SBTC and NAMB wanted to provide opportunities for people across the SBC to do intentional and direct evangelism. We felt that door-to-door evangelism and block parties were a great way to be active in sharing the gospel.”

Crossover events have been a staple of SBC evangelism efforts in host cities since their inauguration at the 1989 Las Vegas convention. The effort began in the heart of Robinson when he was pastor at Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., and a member of the SBC Executive Committee. “I suggested that for many years I had the conviction that when we do SBC in a major city, we should also plan to try to do a major evangelistic effort in the city,” Robinson said. “I suggested that we work with local churches in the area and messengers should come in early to do evangelistic projects, including door-to-door witnessing representing the local church in the area, block parties, evangelistic harvest meetings led by evangelists, etc.”

The Las Vegas event, originally called “Saturation Evangelism Project,” had a great impact, according to Robinson. “It got the attention of all of Las Vegas. The people were responsive. It was a huge success! My recall is that around 1,800 professed faith in Christ. Churches were impacted. Ultimately new churches were started.”

The success of the Las Vegas outreach led the SBC to decide to sponsor evangelism events every year during the SBC in the convention city. “Morris Chapman at the Executive Committee suggested the name Crossover, which we all liked. ‘SBC messengers would cross over to lift up the cross over the convention city,’” Robinson said.

Lifting up the cross continues to be the goal of Crossover Houston. “Our desire for Crossover is to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ,”  Lorick said.

First Baptist Church of Pearland is one of the churches excited about doing a block party as part of Crossover Houston. “We have concluded that one large block party could effectively reach several thousand over a three-hour time,” said Sonny Foraker, pastor. The block party is set to include bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, water slides for older kids, interactive games, a petting zoo and pony rides, as well as hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones. In addition, the church band will perform from a bandstand.

“The Crossover event will allow many people to participate in a fun day when their normal busy schedules would not otherwise allow them to hear, or see, that the gospel can impact their lives,” Foraker said.

Lorick believes that intentional evangelism at all the Crossover Houston events will benefit the churches sponsoring the events, as well as those who hear the gospel and share the gospel. “Our desire is to see people to be excited about sharing their faith daily in their communities,” he said. “By doing door-to-door evangelism as well as block parties, we are giving people the training, experience and opportunities to develop a burden and passion to see people come to faith in Jesus.”

Bethel Baptist Church is another church planning a Crossover Houston block party and hoping to impact its community for Christ. “Our church is located in the inner city of Houston with a predominately Hispanic community. Gangs, drugs, poverty and teen pregnancy are big issues,” Pastor Jamie Garcia said. “This block party will give our church the opportunity to display our ‘Love God, Love People’ motto.”

Northeast Houston Baptist Church is offering a five-day Backyard Bible Club in  June at more than 25 host sites in subdivisions surrounding the church. “We are  hosting four CrossOver block parties in the general vicinity of these backyard  bible club locations in order to promote the upcoming clubs, let potential attendees and their parents meet us, and of course to share the gospel,” Pastor Nathan Lino explained. “We are very excited not only for the immediate impact of the block parties, but also for the potential of giving us greater access to unchurched families two weeks later.”

Whether door-to-door, at a block party, or one-on-one, sharing the love of God is the reason to be involved in this evangelism outreach. “Crossover Houston is going to be a great time in which people from all over the SBC join together to knock on doors and host block parties,” Lorick said. We pray that God blesses these efforts and many people will come to faith in Jesus June 8 through Crossover Houston.”

There are multiple opportunities for those attending the SBC to be a part of Crossover Houston. To see a list of churches hosting block parties, visit namb.net/crossover or sbtexas.com/crossover or email crossover@sbtexas.com. Information is also available by calling the SBTC Evangelism Office at 817-552-2500.

Stephanie Heading
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