Crusade can count on heavy Southern Baptist involvement
By Allen Palmeri
KANSAS CITY – Southern Baptist churches make up nearly one-third of the total number of churches participating in the Heart of America Billy Graham Crusade June 17-20 at Arrowhead Stadium, according to Sherman Barnette, crusade director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
A total of 500 churches are working on the crusade, Barnette said. Of that figure, 157 are Southern Baptist.
“Baptists are committed to evangelism, so that just really interfaces with what really we’re all about," Barnette said. “What we are about is making disciples and partnering with the area churches and pastors to do everything that we can to encourage and help the churches do an even better job of evangelism and discipling new believers. Usually Baptist churches are really consistent with what our purpose for the crusade is all about."
Barnette said that April and May will be months for crusade officials and church volunteers to pay close attention to doing things properly.
“The crusade is a process," he said. “It’s not an event. It’s not just something that comes off four days in June and then it’s done. There’s a process that goes on.
“It’s basically the sowing-reaping principle—we’re going to reap in proportion to our sowing. So we’re in the preparation part. We’re preparing the soil, we’re sowing the seed, we’re cultivating, we’re watering and we’re preparing the harvest. We need thousands of churches, and thousands of people from those churches, involved in the sowing."
Missouri , Kansas , Nebraska , Iowa , Oklahoma and Arkansas are all going to be potential drawing areas for the crusade, Barnette said.
“This is an opportunity that probably will not pass this way again for a long, long time," he said. “It’s not just about filling a big stadium, because you could have just about any kind of big event, a concert or whatever, and if you get the right people, if you do the right advertising, you can fill a stadium. But what this is about is evangelism. It’s about making the Gospel unavoidable all over this six-state region."
March 18, 2004