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Crossover brings gospel with a Hispanic flavor to San Antonio events

Nearly 1,000 accept Christ in week-long emphasis


Jonathan Blair/BP

Sabrina Hernandez, 10, a violinist with Mariachi Agape readies to play during Festival of Praise June 9 during Crossover San Antonio. “The highest percentage of San Antonio’s Hispanic population surrounds Gudalupe Plaza,” said Roland Lopez, Hispanic coordinator for the San Antonio Baptist Association, in referring to the location of Festival de Alabanza. “We’ll try anything to share the gospel with those needing to make decisions.”

SAN ANTONIO — Georgia Baptists joined 1,000 other volunteers from around the nation for a weeklong Crossover emphasis prior to the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in mid-June. The evangelistic event culminated in a massive two-day soul-winning extravaganza on June 9-10.

Volunteers ministered in 20 block parties in stifling 90-degree weather, distributing thousands of free water bottles along with healthy doses of food, tracts, and a gospel invitation.

Roland Lopez, Hispanic church planter coordinator for the San Antonio Baptist Association, said the over-arching goal was to win souls to Christ, rekindle the fire of evangelism in the lives of local believers, and start at least 25 churches.

Nearly 1,000 guests attended the largest Crossover event on June 9, the Festival de Alabanza (Festival of Praise) in Guadalupe Plaza west of downtown San Antonio.

Charles Price, director of missions for the association, said about 600 professions of faith had been recorded in the week leading up to the massive block party roll-out. Up to 40 churches were involved in the June 9 event.

While Crossover was directed to all unchurched groups, it did have a decidedly Hispanic flavor to attract the 65% of the city’s population which is of Hispanic descent, Price added.

Ray Jenkins of Fayetteville, who served as parliamentarian of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists last year, ministered at two of the block parties and praised Crossover as a way of energizing people to share their faith.

Jenkins, a member of First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, has attended every Crossover but one since it was launched at the SBC meeting in Las Vegas in 1989. More than 38,000 people have prayed to receive Christ as a result of the annual evangelistic campaign.

Joe Westbury/Index

Mark Sterling, who leads the GBC’s prayer ministry, shares Christ with a San Antonio resident during the day’s block parties. Nearly a thousand professions of faith were registered through such encounters scattered around the city.

Joe Westbury/Index

A play area at the Festival de Alabanza, such as this bean bag toss, kept children preoccupied while their parents enjoyed the festival and had opportunities to hear the plan of salvation.

Joe Westbury/Index

Hispanic churches staffed a free food court at the Festival de Alabanza for a day-long block party in downtown San Antonio. Numerous professions of faith were recorded at the location. Since Crossover originated during the SBC annual meeting in Las Vegas in 1989, more than 38,000 people have prayed to receive Christ as a result of the evangelistic campaign.

Joe Westbury/Index

J.W. Hutchens of Sugar Hill, Crossover block party coordinator, left, discusses evangelism strategy with Roland Lopez, center, as Gilbert and Becky Gamboa of San Antonio listen in. Lopez said the strength of the Crossover follow-up would be dependent on laypersons like the couple who had already started three house churches. “God is using laypersons throughout our city to start house churches, or simple churches, in their garages and living rooms,” Lopez explained.

Joe Westbury/Index

A San Antonio Hispanic Baptist layman, left, shares his faith with a local resident during one of the Crossover block parties. Nearly 65% percent of the historic city is Hispanic.

Joe Westbury/Index

A child takes his chance at breaking a piñata during supervised games. Such children’s activities allowed parents to enjoy a mariachi concert by a nationally recognized group.