By Robert Lemoine, Regional Reporter
OUACHITA PARISH – Northeast Louisiana Southern Baptists saturated their area repeatedly for four months with the Word of God.
Many events across the parish offered fellowship and evangelism to the communities under the anticipation of Crossover this year.
Things took place differently this year as compared to years past. Historically, most of the events leading to Crossover take place the weekend before the annual meeting, which took place this year Nov. 12-13 at First Baptist Church of West Monroe. This year, the community outreach started about four months in advance and covered a wide area.
“The block parties were spread out over time to allow more churches to participate,” said Bodie Spicer, Pastor of Cheniere Baptist in West Monroe and Evangelism Team Chairman of Northeast Louisiana Baptist Association. “However, the real outreach for Crossover was achieved by door-to-door evangelism in the surrounding communities the weekend prior to the annual meeting.”
During the four months previous, “We had block parties at 13 different locations all across Ouachita Parish,” Spice continued. “They began with one with my church at an apartment complex off Washington Street in West Monroe. We had some ties to this complex and just decided we would have an outreach there. We had a wonderful time, the gospel was presented and many responses were seen.”
A three-day regional evangelistic crusade was also held in the Monroe area that met at Calvary Baptist, McClendon Baptist, and First Monroe on separate nights. Bill Britt, Jack Daniels, Jerry Chaddick, and Jimmy Robertson preached at the event.
“We had 11 professions of faith and many other decisions,” Spicer said.
A evangelism-based bass tournament took place in September at Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville. About 50 boats entered, with two men in each boat. The tournament resulted in one known profession of faith.
The final event was a performance by Real Encounter, a group of Christian BMX and Motocross athletes. They visited several area schools where they spoke and had small demonstrations giving a taste of the grand finale held at West Monroe High School.
A promotional demonstration took place at Pecanland Mall in Monroe, where Kendick Banks, Youth and College Minister at First Baptist Monroe, “volunteered” to be jumped over by a bicycle. After Banks got up from lying on his back on the floor, he said, “I trusted him.” Other area Youth Pastors were then jumped over to demonstrate their faith.
The audience for the finale was between 700 and 800 students and adults. Of those, 25 made professions of faith.
As of Nov. 16, “the total reported salvations were 105,” Spicer said. “Approximately 3,000 people were presented the Gospel during these events. Thirty-six Bibles were given out along with hundreds of tracts.”
Cheniere Baptist followed up with the apartment complex they visited and gave each resident a turkey for Thanksgiving. Plans are to do the same for Christmas. “This shows the community that these witnesses for God are not worried about filling pews, but filling lives,” Spicer said.