By Tobin Perry

As Phoenix-area Southern Baptists prepare for next summer’s SBC annual meeting, they are praying that a new addition to Crossover activities could lead to long-lasting spiritual fruit.

At the invitation of the North American Mission Board, Southern California evangelist and pastor Greg Laurie has scheduled his national Harvest America outreach at the University of Phoenix Stadium for June 11, which will coincide with Southern Baptists’ Crossover efforts.

The Crossover crusade, which will be simulcast nationally, will include a gospel message by Laurie and music from top-name Christian artists.

Arizona Southern Baptists already have been organizing and praying that God will use the crusade in big ways.

“We believe this event could result in the largest evangelistic impact we have ever seen in Arizona,” said David Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. “We are encouraging all of our churches in Arizona to participate and get involved either through challenging their people to pray, invite, attend and bring others with them or serving as volunteers or being a follow up church — or all of the above!”

Noe Garcia, senior pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church, serves on the local advisory team for Harvest America Arizona.

“I firmly believe that the Lord is working in a mighty way through Greg Laurie,” he said. “Just look at how God has used him in the past. It gets me excited for how He is going to use him here in Phoenix, especially for a place that desperately needs Jesus and needs restoration. We’re excited as a church to encourage that, support that and be a part of what God is doing here in Phoenix.”

The crusade will overlap with the first evening of the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference, with conference organizers urging local SBC churches to participate in the outreach.

“We hope local pastors will rally their churches, invite lost people and get as many people out to the crusade as possible,” said Dave Miller, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, and president of the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference. “We would like nothing better than to see thousands of Arizona residents be introduced to Jesus through this event.”

Phoenix is one of 32 cities where NAMB is focusing resources through its Send North America church planting effort. According to NAMB’s Center for Missional Research, there is only one Southern Baptist church for every 19,338 people in metro Phoenix.

“We need every Arizona pastor to get their churches behind this crusade,” said NAMB President Kevin Ezell. “This is an incredible opportunity for church members to invite unchurched co-workers, family members and friends to an event where they will hear the gospel.”

For more information about participating in the crusade, visit www.HarvestAmerica.com. (BP)