LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Even storied, 135-year-old Churchill Downs — home of the Kentucky Derby — will be among the ministry venues as Southern Baptists engage in Crossover Louisville ’09.
BP file photo
Bobby Worthington, right, explains the gospel to Nathaniel Harris, 20, before Harris prays to receive Christ during Crossover San Antonio in 2007.
Now in its 21st year, Crossover is an evangelistic thrust to share the gospel of Jesus Christ the week before the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in each year’s host city.
Crossover Louisville ’09 will kick off with Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) on Sunday, June 14, and will culminate the June 19-20 weekend prior to the June 23-24 SBC annual meeting at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Crossover will be jointly sponsored by SBC’s North American Mission Board, the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Long Run Baptist Association in Louisville.
“Our objective is to share Jesus and have a lasting impact on metro Louisville,” said Charles Barnes, longtime Baptist lay leader in Louisville, retired banking executive and chairman of the Crossover Louisville ’09 steering committee.
“We’re not interested in things that will have some glamour for only a week or so and then die,” Barnes said. “We hope it will spark us to a new era of growth among all our churches and as a catalyst to move forward more aggressively.”
Barnes said the Long Run Baptist Association includes some 160 Southern Baptist churches, and about 40 of them will participate in 32 block parties in various Louisville neighborhoods.
Five churches will band together for a single block party in Veterans Park in the Louisville suburb of Jeffersontown.
Hundreds of Southern Baptist volunteers from around the nation are expected to come to Louisville to support Crossover events — the block parties, an international fair featuring nine different ethnic groups, a separate Hispanic fair and door-to-door evangelism by ICE (Intentional Community Evangelism) team volunteers from NAMB and across the country.
BP file photo
Richard Leach, center, servant/ministry evangelism team leader at the North American Mission Board, shows a tract with the gospel in 2007.
Metro Louisville’s 1 million population includes some 50,000 Hispanics, with several hundred living right around Churchill Downs, working as jockeys, trainers, groomers and in other capacities, said Joshua Del Risco, NAMB’s coordinator for multiethnic evangelism in Alpharetta, Ga.
With help from Yurian Santiesteban, Southern Baptist chaplain at Churchill Downs, Crossover volunteers will visit the racetrack, witness to the Hispanic horsemen and invite them to nightly revival services at 10 area Hispanic churches, including a new church plant located almost across the street from Churchill Downs, Iglesias Baptista Victoria (Victory Baptist Church).
“When we leave Louisville, these 10 young Hispanic churches will be expected to continue their growth and keep implementing the things we learned during Crossover,” Del Risco said.
Victor Benavides, coordinator of urban evangelism for NAMB, said planners are praying for at least 2,000 salvation decisions and six-to-eight new church plants.
For additional information about Crossover Louisville ’09, to register as a volunteer or to participate in ICE, go to www.crossoverlouisville.com.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board.)