Archives For Crossover St. Louis

Idlewild

Members of the Idlewild Baptist, Tampa, Fla. Crossover team: (l-r) Catherine Corpus, Lina Freeman, Frank Mira, and Elroy Rodriguez.

“The walk to the top was the hardest part,” Armando Fernandez shared. “The ride down was easy.”

Fernandez, a Crossover volunteer from Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Fla., was talking about the zip line ride at the Crossover block party at Sterling Baptist Church in Fairview Heights, IL. His description was not unlike the efforts to share the gospel through the many Crossover events that took place June 11. It can be tough to get started sharing the gospel, but once you do, it’s easy.

Sharing the gospel with the local community is what Crossover is all about. Each year hundreds of volunteers come to the Southern Baptist Convention a few days early to participate in Crossover evangelism outreach projects in and around the host city.

The St. Louis metro area – in both Missouri and Illinois – was the recipient of the the outpouring of the gospel. “We’re in love with the metroplex,” said David Gray, Sterling’s pastor. It’s that love that inspired the church to be a Crossover ministry site. Jesse Wilham, student pastor at Sterling, worked to lay the ground work for the evangelistic event.

Zip line

For many, the zip line was the highlight of the block party.

Whether it’s sharing the gospel story or planning an evangelistic event, the groundwork must be laid. Cooperation from a number of Christian ministries and agencies made the it easy for volunteers to be placed in situations where they could share Christ.

The North American Mission Board funded the zip line rides, which normally run $30-$50 per person. Five hundred hamburgers and hotdogs were donated by a local company. A children’s ministry from Chicago provided drinks. The city of Fairview Heights loaned tents to the church. Gray said the local Chick-Fil-A even set up a stand “because the manager said they needed to be part of the event.”

Seventy-five people from eight churches representing Florida, Illinois, and Missouri made it their mission to come to Sterling Baptist Church to help its members reach the diverse neighborhood around them — some 20,000 Anglo Americans, African Americans, Guatemalans, Puerto Ricans and Nepalese for starters.

Idlewild’s Hispanic ministries pastor, Eloy Rodriguez, said the team came to Illinois because, “We’re doing what the Lord has asked us all to do. This is our Samaria.” In Acts 1:8 Jesus instructs his followers to share the gospel in their “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.”

Their church has made it a practice to prayer walk their own community and others sharing Christ with the people they meet. “We’re doing what the Lord asked us to do, bring the Lord to the people,” said Lina Freeman.

The team arrived on Wednesday night and started canvassing the neighborhood Thursday. It was then that Rodriguez had a life-changing encounter with a neighborhood man. “We were asking people if there was anything we could pray with them about. Many said they had recently lost loved ones. But, one man said, ‘Last Sunday, I was going to kill myself.’”

The man told Rodriguez he had been in his car and was going to drive into traffic, put pulled back when he realized not only would he kill himself, but the people in the other cars as well.

Rodriguez and his team shared the gospel with the man who accept Christ as his savior. After wards, “That guy gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever had,” shared Rodriguez.

Down the street from the block party the church hosted a soccer tournament, and Saturday night featured a concert by the praise bands from Anna Heights Baptist Church and Iglesia Bautista Latina in Effingham. A Sunday night concert by the southern gospel trio Sons of the Father capped off the Crossover weekend.

Gray said his goal was to reach 1,000 people through Crossover, and by mid-Saturday the church was well on its way with 500 people registered at the block party and soccer tournament. The best news was 12 people had accepted Christ.

“It’s been phenomenal what’s happening,” Gray said.

– Lisa Sergent

Meet_us_in_St._Louis

Online registration by messengers urged; big prayer meeting Tuesday night

Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has clear objectives in mind for Baptists meeting June 14-15 in the Gateway City. When they depart from St. Louis, he told Baptist Press, he’s praying they will do so with a “deep burden for our nation, a new commitment to racial unity and an extraordinary commitment to evangelize America.”

Floyd, completing his second one-year term as SBC President, is planning the second-annual Convention-wide prayer meeting for the Tuesday evening session in St. Louis. “A National Call to Prayer for Spiritual Leadership, Revived Churches, Nationwide and Global Awakening” will feature SBC leaders and pastors, with music by Keith and Kristyn Getty, the composers of modern hymns including “In Christ Alone.”

“Here is what I know: If we do not plan to pray, we will not pray!” Floyd blogged in April.

“It is past time for us to prioritize prayer, both personally and in the church, as well as in our Southern Baptist Convention. For far too long, we have seen what we can do; it is time for us to see what God can do. This can only happen when we pray.”

The 2015 prayer meeting highlighted the need for racial unity and diversity in the SBC. In St. Louis, African American pastor Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., will participate in the prayer meeting and also in a Tuesday morning session titled “A National Conversation on Racial Unity in America.” Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C., also will join the conversation.

“With the racial unrest in St. Louis due to what happened in Ferguson in August of 2014, Southern Baptists will have a strong opportunity to represent Christ through Crossover ministry in the city,” Floyd said, noting the evangelistic effort prior to the Convention.

“I believe we will leave St. Louis with a powerful, strong, clear and encouraging testimony of the need for loving one another, regardless of the color of one’s skin.”

In addition to racial unity, the convention will include a panel discussion on pastors, churches and politics, and a Q&A session with SBC entity leaders, who will answer questions from messengers.

Meeting highlights

The North American and International Mission Boards will host a Sending Celebration to conclude the Convention Wednesday afternoon. NAMB also will launch “Send Relief,” an initiative to train church members to engage their communities with gospel-centered compassion ministries.

Prior to the convention, NAMB will host several ministry opportunities in the St. Louis area, including a partnership with First Baptist Church, Ferguson, Mo., to give away Backpacks of Hope and host a carnival for Ferguson children. Southern Baptist volunteers, in partnership with the Red Cross, will also go door-to-door to install free smoke detectors for Ferguson residents.

“We hope Southern Baptists can walk away from the convention this year knowing that there is a very attainable ministry that they can be involved with that will help them engage with and reach their community,” said David Melber, NAMB’s vice president for Send Relief.

The mission board also will operate mobile dental and medical clinics in St. Louis, and plans to make the units available to churches desiring to do similar ministry in their communities.

LifeWay Christian Resources will screen two movies during the Convention, including “The Insanity of God,” a documentary featuring real-life stories of persecuted Christians around the world. The film, produced by the International Mission Board, is based on the book of the same name by Nik Ripken.

“The Insanity of God” will be shown free of charge in Ferrara Theatre at America’s Center Monday, June 13, at 9 p.m. Tickets are not required, but seating will be limited. LifeWay Films will screen an additional movie following the Tuesday evening session.

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will release the first three books in its “Gospel for Life” series in St. Louis. The 9-book series “aims to help the church in navigating through ethical and cultural issues,” said ERLC President Russell Moore. The first three books in the series focus on religious liberty, racial reconciliation, and same-sex marriage.

The SBC Exhibit Hall will once again include a Wellness Center hosted by GuideStone Financial Resources. The center will offer cholesterol and glucose screenings, as well as data to determine body mass index. Participants will receive a personalized report that is suitable to take to their family doctors, and on-site medical professionals will be available to discuss results.

GuideStone also will offer three seminars aimed at various audiences: “Retirement Income Solutions,” “Health Care Reform Impacts Your Church, Too,” and “The Struggle is Real: The Solution is Simple,” a seminar for younger investors. All seminars are free, space is limited. Visit GuideStone.org/SBC16 to register.

Business notes

In addition to the three candidates for SBC President (see page B-3), Illinois pastor Doug Munton has announced he will be nominated for the office of First Vice President. John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, will be nominated for a 20th term as SBC Recording Secretary.

John Avant, pastor of First Baptist Concord in Knoxville, Tenn., will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference.

Several Baptists from Illinois have been selected for committees meeting during the Convention: Munton and Michael Allen, pastor of Uptown Baptist Church in Chicago, will serve on the Committee on Committees, which nominates members of the Committee on Nominations who, in turn, nominate trustees for the boards of SBC entities.

Dan Eddington, director of missions for Three Rivers Baptist Association, and Ric Worshill, a member of Crossroads Community Church in Port Barrington, will serve on the SBC Credentials Committee.

Online registration tools

Convention messengers can register online at sbcannualmeeting.net under the Messengers/Guests tab. To help ensure the orderly flow of attendees and enhance security of the convention hall, this year each messenger, exhibitor, and guest must be registered and properly badged for entrance into the general sessions June 14-15.

After completing online registration, each individual will receive an eight-digit registration code to present at the express registration lane. There, the code can be entered into a computer and a nametag will be printed.

Registration is also open for preschool child care, Giant Cow Children’s Ministries, Children in Action Missions Camp, and Youth on Mission in conjunction with annual meeting. All activities for children and youth will be housed at America’s Center. Youth who have completed grades 7-12 will begin their days at the convention center with worship before going into the community for hands-on mission projects.

Pre-registration is required and is available online at sbcannualmeeting.net under the Children/Youth tab.

The SBC Annual Meetings app is again available to Convention-goers, including a listing of speakers for the SBC Pastors’ Conference and SBC annual meeting, as well as the daily program schedule, daily events, exhibitor listing, convention center maps, 2016 Book of Reports and more.

For more information on the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention and the SBC Pastors’ Conference in St. Louis, as well as other meetings and events, go to sbcannualmeeting.net.

– From Baptist Press reports

Ready with a reason

ib2newseditor —  May 19, 2016

Crossover volunteers prepare for St. Louis

Steven_Glover[2]

Stephen Glover

Last summer, Steven and Robin Glover went home again—kind of. The Chicago couple and their children traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for the Southern Baptist Convention and Crossover, the annual evangelistic outreach held prior to the SBC.

Steven Glover, born and raised in Columbus, is an IBSA zone consultant in Chicagoland. His wife, Robin, is a writer and homeschool teacher to their four daughters. The Glovers lived in Ohio before moving to Chicago in January 2015, where Steven began a church planting internship at Uptown Baptist Church.

Each year before the SBC’s annual meeting, Uptown sends a team to work with a church in the convention host city. In Columbus, Uptown’s volunteers led a practicum on prayer, evangelism and discipleship at United Faith International Church. They gathered for training, then went out into the community to put into practice what they’d learned.

“Two groups comprised of 8-10 people targeted a neighborhood near the church for prayer walking as well as evangelism,” Steven said. “Upon arrival, the evangelism team had an immediate opportunity to share the gospel with young men hanging out in a local park who happened to be Muslims from Ethiopia.”

Glover and a man from the partnering church launched into an apologetics discussion with one of the young men who was interested in talking about his faith. They talked about Jesus, discussing the places where Islamic and Christian scriptures differed. “[We] took the opportunity to explain the purpose of Christ coming and the importance of his death, burial, and resurrection,” Glover said.

Nearby, his wife, Robin, and others on the team prayed for the conversation, even asking God for a break from the heat. “We were very hot and the sun was beaming down, so we prayed for a breeze,” she remembered. “Soon thereafter, there was a nice breeze and some light rain. The sun then returned to its work of warming.

“God was with us in Columbus. I was blessed to have joined him while he worked.”
Their Columbus experience gave the Glovers some advice for volunteers who will serve through Crossover in St. Louis.

“It is important that mission teams participating in Crossover 2016 be familiar with the demographic make-up of St. Louis,” Steven advised. “Through prior research, our mission team discovered that Columbus is known to have a large Islamic population, therefore, I brought with me a Quran (in English) to use in a witnessing conversation in order to establish the true identity and ministry of Jesus Christ.”

He referenced 1 Peter 3:15: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (KJV).

For a list of Crossover projects in Illinois, go to meba.org/crossover-st-louis-2016. Watch the Crossover St. Louis video at namb.net/crossover.

See you in St. Louis?

ib2newseditor —  April 25, 2016

St. Louis map pin2

What takes place at the convention is important—in the meetings and in the streets.

When the national Southern Baptist Convention convenes in St. Louis on June 14, I’m hoping there will be a record number of messengers from Illinois churches present. Among the cities where the SBC has met in recent years, St. Louis is certainly the most accessible to a majority of Illinois churches. But convenience isn’t the main reason I’m hoping to see hundreds, even thousands of messengers from Illinois.

First, this is an important SBC presidential election year. As President Ronnie Floyd is completing his second one-year term, three pastors have announced their intent to be nominated. As in the campaign for U. S. President, there are clear and important differences to be found in the leadership records, public statements, and declared priorities of each person seeking to lead the SBC into the future.

In fact, this year’s candidates have notable differences, not just in ministry experience, but in doctrinal conviction and missions cooperation. Messengers will want to study these in advance of the Convention, and arrive prepared to support the nominee who best represents not only their own churches’ practices and convictions, but also the direction they feel is best for our Great Commission cooperation as Baptist churches in the future.

Through the Illinois Baptist, IBSA.org, and other channels, IBSA is providing churches with objective information about and from the SBC President nominees and other issues anticipated at the Convention. IBSA will host a reception for Illinois Baptists at the St. Louis convention center on Monday night following the Pastors’ Conference and just prior to the convention’s start on Tuesday morning. So please, stay engaged and informed!

It’s also important that representatives from your church arrive as registered messengers, and not just as guests. Remember to elect messengers in advance at a church business meeting and register them online if possible. If you need help with this process, contact us here at IBSA.

A second important reason for coming to St. Louis is the evangelistic opportunity called Crossover that takes place just prior to the Convention. In fact, many Illinois churches could participate in Crossover on Saturday, June 11, return to worship in their own churches on June 12, and return for the Pastors’ Conference and Convention the following week.

Metro East Baptist Association Director of Missions Ronny Carroll and others have been representing the Illinois side of the river in planning this emphasis, which includes a variety of volunteer opportunities. You can find a complete listing online at meba.org/crossover-st-louis-2016/.

The people of the cities where the annual SBC is hosted certainly notice when Southern Baptists come to town. The Southern Baptist Convention is a major event, often covered in the news. Church messengers saturate the convention center, hotels and restaurants, and sometimes outside protesters try to step into the spotlight to advance their agendas.

This very public setting provides a wonderful opportunity for thousands of evangelistic volunteers to come and bring the host city both sacrificial service and the good news of the gospel. What takes place in the reporting, worship and business sessions of the SBC meeting itself is vitally important, and worth our time as messengers from Illinois churches, especially this year. And what takes place out in the streets at Crossover can be eternally significant to those who may meet Christ there. It’s well worth our time, both in St. Louis and in our own communities. And these are two very good reasons why I hope I will see you in St. Louis.

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org.

Metro St. Louis leaders ready for Crossover partners

Crossover-Banner-smallSt. Louis | As Southern Baptists across the country turn their eyes to St. Louis, Ronny Carroll is more than ready to receive a few thousand extra laborers in order to achieve a great harvest.

“With the manpower coming, our churches can really pull off something God-sized,” said Carroll, executive director of missions for the Metro East Baptist Association, which serves the Illinois side of the St. Louis area. “The preparation alone has already given our churches a boost of energy and excitement in anticipation of what God’s going to do.”

Crossover St. Louis will take place on June 11, just before the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting, which will be held June 14-15 at the city’s America’s Center. Crossover will include more than 70 service and outreach projects throughout five counties in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Prior to the 2015 SBC annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, thousands of seeds were planted resulting in at least 345 people who made professions of faith. Carroll is hoping to double that this year.

“We are praying for 1,000 souls to come to Jesus and for 27 new churches to be established,” he said. “I believe God is going to do his job, we just need to be ready for his movement.”

Carroll said that during the last few months and even years, God has been paving the way for an epic revival of hope and healing to break out in St. Louis. And he said God has used Southern Baptists every step of the way.

“Look at all that has happened, in particular the flooding that occurred around Christmas, where Southern Baptists have been the hands and feet of Jesus,” Carroll said, referring to SBC Disaster Relief efforts in St. Louis just a few months ago. “At one level, Crossover will tie into the work that has already been done and add one more dimension to the truth that Southern Baptists, as individuals and as churches, really care about the people and the communities and quality of life they have. They are primed and ready to receive the eternal hope and salvation that Christ offers.”

And to do that, Carroll said the plan for Crossover St. Louis is to “keep it small, but make it huge.”

Crossover will impact churches in six different associations in both Missouri and Illinois. But, because of the unique needs within each association and community, the projects are indigenous to what will make the biggest impact in a given neighborhood.

“Each church has its own local vision and the 21 projects on our side of the river reflect the unique flavor of our communities,” Carroll said. “We are working with city officials and mayors for some of our cleanup projects and planning block parties, or fiestas, in some of our growing Hispanic neighborhoods.”

Tom Firasek, ministry and partnership coordinator for the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association, said organization-wise they are already miles ahead of where past Crossover events were at this stage of the preparation process.

“We met with Rich Halcombe (director of missions in Columbus) and other Columbus Southern Baptist leadership and spent the day learning what works, what doesn’t and what logistical needs might come up,” Firasek said.

“When you are about to support and rally behind 75 or so highly visible events at the same time, you want to be sure to orchestrate everything with excellence, while at the same time pointing to Jesus and proclaiming the gospel every step of the way.”

In addition, Firasek said between 100-150 seminary students will be joining the effort in St. Louis during the week leading up to Crossover.

“We would love to see God open up the needs and challenges of St. Louis so that some of these folks would consider planting their lives here or making ongoing partnerships here,” Firasek said. “In the metro area we have one church for every 7,500 people. We need more church starts.”

With Crossover St. Louis just a couple months away, Carroll said their biggest need is for more volunteers to commit to join them.

“If God’s leading you to be a part of Crossover, please commit to join us soon so we can get you partnered with a project,” he said. “Also, we would love for you to join us in prayer. We are praying God will flood us with his mercy and grace and that He will prepare the lost people to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”

Carroll said they are also praying for churches to be ready to plug new Christians into their ministries and for church plants to grow quickly from the influx of new believers across St. Louis.

“God has already opened so many doors for the gospel to be presented in a mighty way here,” he said. “Pray that we will be faithful with the doors he’s opened.”

For more information on projects taking place during Crossover St. Louis visit the Metro East Baptist Association website at meba.org or visit namb.net/crossover.

Kayla Rinker is a freelance journalist in Missouri.