By Shannon Baker
BCM/D National Correspondent
BALTIMORE—More than 20 churches of the Baltimore Baptist Association (BBA) gathered together at Manna Bible Baptist Church in Baltimore on June 2 to worship, pray and cast vision for next year’s Crossover, an evangelistic outreach that precedes the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. The worship, fellowship, and preaching in humility were intoxicating.
Thousands of Southern Baptists will converge in Baltimore on June 10-11, 2014, for the annual Southern Baptist Convention. Through the combined efforts of the BBA, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D), and the North American Mission Board (NAMB), there will be multi-faceted evangelistic opportunities to serve the area through Crossover.
As in past years, there will be pre-convention events and opportunities for sharing an intentional gospel witness through service with the residents of the host city.
Cindy Irizarry, who directs Crossover Baltimore’s mobilization and logistics, said the Baltimore Baptist Association has enlisted several churches in the Baltimore area to host a range of Crossover evangelistic events leading up to and on Saturday, June 7.
Bob Mackey, BBA’s director of missions, urging participants to be mindful as they pray for God to raise up partners from all over the country, said, “Make no mistake about it. The single most partners that we have developed in the last seven years … have come from the states of Maryland and Delaware. That’s just to let you know, our brothers and sisters who are a part of our state convention near us have a passion to partner with us—in addition to others from 25 other states for the same thing.”
In a challenge to encourage passionate planning and praying, Tally Wilgis, pastor of Captivate Church, pointed to the astronomical cost and time spent by participants at the Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore’s horse racing of the Preakness Stakes.
Just a few weeks earlier, on May 18, 2013, “117,203 people flooded the race course across the street” where “over $80 million was wagered—exchanged hands—in the week leading up to the Preakness, $50 million alone on that one race,” Wilgis noted.
The state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore took in an excess of $40 million through economic revenue, he added.
“The race lasted one minute, 57 seconds, and 54 tenths/second. The goal of this race, which lasted less than two minutes, was to see which horse would get across an imaginary line first,” he said.
“And then it was over.”
Wilgis observed that people who don’t know the Lord are preparing well over a year in advance for a race where horses will cross an imaginary line because of “expectation for what might happen a year from now.”
Pointing to Ezekiel 37, where God brings life into old, dry bones, Wilgis urged the pastors and church members to plan next year’s Crossover with even greater anticipation.
“We gather together … with a hopeful and prayerful optimism that maybe, just maybe, the Lord might see fit to bring to Baltimore an event far more than any horse race. We’re coming together to seek God to have His Spirit fall on us and stir a citywide revival.”
Following this message, Dale South, pastor of Long Green Baptist Church, led participants to pray and brainstorm potential outreach ideas for their specific communities. Individuals gathered in groups to pray and write down their ideas. Then they brought them forward to be compiled and shared at a later date.
In closing, Pastor Robert Anderson, of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown and BCM/D president, prayed, thanking God in advance for “sending laborers to the harvest.”
View photos of this event here.