God does ‘abundantly beyond’ expectations during Crossover 2018
As Jerry Jewel and his team of evangelists ascended the staircase of an apartment complex, Jewel noticed a young man in the parking lot opening the hood of his truck. Feeling compelled to speak to him, Jewel told his team to continue on without him.
Jewel ventured to the parking lot, introduced himself, and inquired if the man was having trouble with his vehicle. The man, whose name was Sergio, said “no,” explaining that he was simply “adding some water.” Not one to waste time, Jewel said, “Sergio, just bottom line, what I’m here for today is to find out if you know about Jesus.”
Sergio replied, “Well, kind of.” Jewel dug deeper. “If you were to stand before Jesus today,” he said, “and He were to ask you why He should let you into heaven, how would you answer?”
“That’s a really tough question,” Sergio said. “I don’t really know.”
Jewel asked Sergio if he would like to know how to answer such a question, and Sergio said “yes.” Jewel then shared the Gospel with him, and he noted that Sergio “was obviously listening, paying attention.”
When Jewel finished presenting the Gospel, he said, “Sergio, would you like to surrender your life to Jesus today?” Sergio replied, “Yes, I would.”
Jewel led Sergio in “a typical prayer of repentance and asking Jesus for salvation,” and Sergio prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. They then discussed what it means to be a disciple of Christ, and Jewel gave him a Bible.
“It was so easy to share the Gospel with him,” says Jewel, a Master of Divinity student at Southwestern Seminary. “And Sergio’s words, right before he prayed to receive Jesus, were, ‘It’s really that easy?’ It was an amazing thing.”
This story is typical of those experienced by the 175 participants in this year’s Crossover, the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual evangelistic outreach prior to its annual meeting. Students from multiple SBC seminaries assembled on the Southwestern Seminary campus for mornings of worship and teaching from various pastors and seminary professors, and then they hit the streets for door-to-door witnessing during the afternoons and evenings. By the end of this organized effort, June 4-10, 340 people had committed their lives to Christ.
God wasted no time in saving the lost during the six-day outreach. Not long after teams dispersed throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex on the first day, Southwestern evangelism professor Brandon Kiesling, who coordinated the Crossover efforts for five of the six SBC seminaries, wrote on Twitter, “Only an hour into our 1st evangelism time for #Crossover18 and already heard of one person accepting Christ! Lord, do it again!”
By the end of the first day, the Crossover teams had visited more than 3,000 homes, made 324 full Gospel presentations, and seen 26 people make professions of faith in Christ. Day two would prove even more fruitful, with teams seeing 31 total professions.
During class on the morning of the third day, Kiesling prayed “that in the days ahead, we would see [these results] multiplied.” God answered these prayers, as progressively more people came to know the Lord each day for the rest of the week. Fittingly, during worship on that Wednesday morning, the group sang, “Greater things have yet to come, and greater things have still to be done in this city.”
Among the fruit seen that evening, Donald Young had the opportunity to share the Gospel with seven teenagers. Young and his team were witnessing in an apartment complex, and he bore in mind a challenge presented in class that morning—“Don’t make God ask you to do something twice.” The group of seven teenagers passed by Young and his team twice.
“And as they passed a second time, those words resonated with me,” says Young, a master’s student at Southwestern’s extension center in San Antonio. “I said, ‘Yes, Lord.’”
Young and a fellow team member approached the teens and shared the Gospel with them. One of the teenagers, a 14-year-old named Trey, responded by placing his faith in Christ.
Young, who was recently let go from a teaching position, was greatly encouraged by this experience. “The Holy Spirit said, ‘You put the cookies on the bottom shelf where the kids can reach them. That’s what I need you to do,’” Young says.
“That encouraged me, so I am compelled to go spread the Good News of the Gospel. I am just ecstatic to be a vessel for Him.”
When teams reassembled on Thursday morning, Kiesling told them, “I severely underestimated what you all are capable of and what God can do through an army this size. That’s a good problem to have.”
Kiesling excitedly told them that, after just three days, the teams had “exceeded the amount of homes that I thought we were going to do all week long, which is awesome. … God is on the move here in Fort Worth.”
The efforts continued through Saturday, and the Holy Spirit moved numerous people to salvation. Using the hashtag #Crossover18, some of the teams posted celebratory photos of those who came to know the Lord throughout the week, inviting others to rejoice with them over the great things God was doing. Teams connected these new converts to local churches who committed to follow up with them and disciple them.
By the end of this six-day period, the Crossover teams had made 19,464 contacts, had 3,180 Gospel conversations and seen 340 commitments.
“Now that Crossover 2018 is in the books, I can see that I clearly underestimated what God can do through a large group of committed soul-winners,” Kiesling says. “I planned for 10,000 homes in 6 days; God doubled that. I planned for 2,000 Gospel conversations; God gave us more than 3,000. I planned for 200 commitments to Christ; God gave us 340.
“God has a way of showing us that no matter how much we think He can do, He can do abundantly beyond what we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). To God be all the glory!”
On Sunday, June 10, the Crossover participants served as counselors at Harvest America, an evangelistic crusade that reached more than 100,000 people who attended either in person (at AT&T Stadium) or online. More than 3,000 people responded to the Gospel through this event and are now being followed up with by local churches.
Following the conclusion of this event on Sunday night, master’s student Dakota Adair wrote on Twitter that, despite Crossover having ended, God was still on the move. He explained that he had just led Donald, his Lyft driver, to the Lord.
“I hope this is an encouragement that God’s work is not done,” he said. “Keep sharing the good news.”