Missourians flock to Music City
Evangelistic zeal motivation for Crossover Nashville
By Allen Palmeri
June 14, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – Hundreds of Missouri Baptists are expected to participate June 18 in the Crossover Nashville evangelistic initiative that is anticipated to include upwards of 12,000 registered volunteers armed with the Gospel and deployed throughout Middle Tennessee before the June 21-22 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
About 200 Missouri Baptists had registered by the end of May, with churches like First Baptist Church, Lebanon; Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Norborne; and Lynwood Baptist Church, Cape Girardeau, leading the way.
First Lebanon’s group is determined to put forth a maximum effort for Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch, with whom they have a special relationship. Welch designated their church his Missouri stop Sept. 23 on a 50-state bus tour to encourage Southern Baptists to evangelize more passionately and reach a goal of one million baptisms in 2005-2006.
“We’re mobilized because we’ve bought into Bobby’s one million souls saved,” said Gib Adkins, First Lebanon’s national coordinator for missions.
John Mohler, pastor, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, said he is delighted that their country church of about 50 is going to send five members of the youth group, supported by three adults, to evangelize.
“I believe that we as a church have spent way too many years inside our own doors,” said Mohler, a bivocational pastor and motorcycle rider who has seen four new families join the church through the Bikers for Christ ministry in which he participates. “We need to get outside in the community. We’re doing a lot of efforts this year to do that (and) this is our first youth mission trip for our church. We thought it would be a good way to get them started and a good, fun thing to do to build some enthusiasm for the coming years.”
About a dozen members of Lynwood Baptist Church, all fully trained in the FAITH Sunday School Evangelism Strategy co-founded by Welch, will be working through the connections of church member Shirley Talley, who has relatives in a Nashville church.
“They’ll be able to show up, ready to go,” said Lynwood Pastor Derek Staples.
Welch is looking for 12,000 Southern Baptists to assemble at the Gaylord Entertainment Center on the morning of June 18 and re-gather for a celebration service after massive door-to-door visitation. The “Everyone Can” Kingdom Challenge, which is the official one million baptisms campaign, will be launched at the annual meeting of the SBC.
“What a great time to be a Southern Baptist,” Staples said. “What a great time to be a pastor in Nashville.”