By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
BALTIMORE (BP) — Members of nearly two dozen churches in the Baltimore Baptist Association gathered at Manna Bible Baptist Church in early June to worship, pray and cast a vision for next year’s Crossover evangelistic outreach.
Crossover, held in each SBC host city since 1989 in Las Vegas, will precede the convention’s 2014 annual meeting in Baltimore.
Cindy Irizarry, who directs Crossover Baltimore’s mobilization and logistics, said the Baltimore Baptist Association has enlisted several churches to host Crossover evangelistic events leading up to and on Saturday, June 7, prior to the SBC’s June 10-11 sessions.
Bob Mackey, the association’s director of missions, requested prayer for God to raise up participants from all over the country.
“Make no mistake about it,” Mackey said. “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,” he said, referencing the range of states from which volunteers have traveled for Embrace Baltimore, a strategic focus on ministry and evangelism in the city in recent years.
To encourage passionate planning and praying, Tally Wilgis, pastor of Captivate Christian Church in Towson, Md., pointed to the large amount of money spent on the Preakness horse race, held at nearby Pimlico Race Course.
In May, more than 117,000 people flocked to the race course and more than $80 million was wagered in the week leading up to the Preakness, including $50 million on the day of the race, Wilgis said during the June 2 Crossover Baltimore planning meeting.
The state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore took in an excess of $40 million through economic revenue, he added.
“The goal of this race, which lasted less than two minutes, was to see which horse would get across an imaginary line first,” Wilgis said. “And then it was over.”
Wilgis observed that people who don’t know the Lord already are preparing for the Preakness in “expectation for what might happen a year from now.”
Pointing to Ezekiel 37, where God breathes life into dry bones, Wilgis urged 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,” Wilgis said. “We’re coming together to seek God to have His Spirit fall on us and stir a citywide revival.”
Also at the meeting, Dale South, pastor of Long Green Baptist Church in Glen Arm, Md., led participants to pray and brainstorm potential outreach ideas for their specific communities. People gathered in groups to pray and write down their ideas. Then they brought them forward to be compiled and shared at a later date.
Robert Anderson, pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Md., and BCM/D president, closed in prayer, thanking God in advance for “sending laborers to the harvest.
For more information, visit http://www.embracebaltimore.com/crossover.