LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) – Thousands of gospel seeds were scattered last week as Kentucky Baptists ran, walked, talked and knocked their way across Lexington.
Under the Crossover Lexington banner, the Kentucky Baptist Convention and local churches with the Central Kentucky Network of Baptists, attracted about 1,400 people to a collection of evangelistic events over the past six days. Among the strategically targeted events were a children’s basketball clinic, a Hispanic men’s soccer tournament and a women’s holiday entertaining workshop.
“A lot of effort was spent planning outreach events that would attract people of all walks of life – different ages, genders and cultures – but the main focus was to share the hope that can only be found through Jesus Christ,” said KBC Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Gray.
“Thanks to our ministry partners, volunteers and our Kentucky Baptist Convention staff, at least 53 people indicated a decision to follow Christ. Decisions that might not otherwise had happened.”
The most direct evangelistic push was teams of volunteers who helped local churches reach their communities by going door to door telling residents about Jesus. About 1,000 homes and apartments located near Southern Heights and Consolidated Baptist churches, situated on opposite sides of downtown Lexington, were visited by Kentucky Baptists. Volunteers invited people to church and offered to pray with them.
“We found people very open to a visit and hearing the gospel,” Gray said. “One young man, Caleb, a Christian for only two years, shared his faith for the first time. I’m certain it won’t be his last.”
Gray and door-knocking teammate Kenny Rager, KBC Church Evangelism Associate, said they were encouraged to be invited inside by two separate homeowners wanting to hear more about Jesus.
“People are never going to hear the gospel if we don’t do things like this,” said Mercer Associational Mission Strategist James Harley. He was going door to door in the Stonewall Community with Southern Heights Baptist Pastor Bill Boldt.
Harley said his hope was volunteers helping Southern Heights Baptist on Saturday would be inspired to use front-door evangelism in their own communities.
Boldt agreed. “We’ve got to raise it up a level. Stop living in fear and start walking in faith. Stop serving ourselves and start serving the community. We have to turn the church inside out and get outside the walls of the church,” the Lexington pastor said.
On the east side of the city, there was more door knocking going on only this time residences were largely occupied by Hispanic or Latino families. Speaking through an interpreter, Maria Gomez of Lexington said she welcomed the invitation to attend Consolidated Baptist and the new Spanish-language version of “Find It Here,” a book containing an explanation of the gospel.
Midway through an indoor soccer tournament Saturday night at the Lexington Ice and Rec Center, Mexican pastor Braulio Martinez spoke of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11–32 and gave a simple, but powerful gospel presentation.
KBC Church Planting & Development Associate Job Juarez interpreted the message. “He was drawing a picture of many of us who are walking away from God, trying to go through life on our own. Braulio asked, ‘and how’s that working for you? It’s not working, and you know it.
The enemy is stepping on you, but God is there waiting for you with open arms.’”
The crystal-clear message stirred hearts and several people made decisions to follow Christ, including 7-year-old Jeremiah Coyote.
“I did things wrong,” said Jeremiah, who attends Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Lawrenceburg. “I wanted God to forgive me and help me do things good.”
Ten other people, all men participating in the soccer tournament, also prayed to receive Christ as their Savior that night while about 150 others looked on.
Additional Crossover highlights
The Great Exchange with Tom Rush was held on the University of Kentucky campus and guided members of the Baptist Campus Ministry in sharing the gospel with fellow students. They used surveys to allow people to open up about their spiritual backgrounds and their understanding of God, Jesus, and Christianity. Lexington Regional Campus Minister Danny Currie said the surveys led to 44 gospel conversations on campus and two decisions for Christ.
The Gathering, featuring meth-addict-turned-worship-pastor Stephen McWhirter and Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader/speaker Aaron Hogue at Manchester Music Hall attracted 270 college students and led to two giving their lives to Christ.
Evangelist/illusionist Brock Gill was the main attraction at a middle and high school evangelism event at Gano Baptist Church in Georgetown. “Seeing 16 students trust in Christ was the absolute highlight of the evening,” said KBC Church Evangelism Strategist Andy McDonald. The event drew 200 people thanks to the partnership between KBC, Gano Baptist and Central Kentucky Network of Baptists.
“Some evangelistically driven events can only be done, or done better, when churches and associations pool their resources, pray together and focus on reaching the community together. I believe that is what we saw with the Brock Gill outreach,” McDonald said.
CrossCourt basketball clinic was held at West Jessamine High School and brought out 175 elementary-age students and their families. While the kids were learning fundamentals on the court, 30 adults attended an optional seminar called, “Raising Athletes of Character.” All involved heard a gospel presentation and eight indicated they wanted a personal relationship with Jesus. Former University of Kentucky basketball players, Makenzie Cann and Jarrod Polson, shared their testimonies.
Fifty-four runners turned out on a brisk Saturday morning to participate in the God and Country 5K. Awards were given for the top finishers and everyone left with a commemorative T-shirt and a Bible.
Holiday Eats and Treats was held at Lexington’s Campbell House and women were encouraged to bring their unchurched friends to learn holiday entertaining tips and recipes. More than 160 women heard a gospel presentation by Kentucky State University BCM Assistant Director Demica Jones.
Saturday Night with Mr. Shineyhead may sound like a funny name for an evangelistic event, but not as hilarious as Deaf comedian Patrick “Shineyhead” Fischer. About 75 members of Lexington’s Deaf community and their guests attended an evening dinner and a show. A gospel presentation in
American Sign Language led one person to becoming a Christ follower.
Rounding out six days of evangelistic events was the Gala Come and See dinner for members of Lexington’s Hispanic community. More than 200 people attend the elegant evening filled with worship music and ending with a convicting gospel presentation. The hearts of 13 people were changed and they gave their lives in service to Christ.