Sports camps, surf lessons some of the ways volunteers have engaged the community through Crossover 2022
After a few moments of awkward silence, Jami approached a karaoke microphone to sing in the parking lot of Friendship Baptist Church in Yorba Linda, California.
While singing, she became emotional. His father, a former Hell’s Angel, had been incarcerated during his childhood. She shared how God delivered her from a life of pain, grief and confusion.
“I felt that surrender, not being enough, dealt with a lot of pain and insecurity from an early age,” she said, then shared that God had healed her and equipped to help others who have gone through difficult times.
Jami’s song and testimony were part of Crossover, an annual event that precedes the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention being held this year in Anaheim June 14-15. As she and other volunteers shared with a crowd of locals gathered at Friendship Baptist, others were scattered at more than 30 other events around the greater Los Angeles area.
At two churches, First Southern Baptist Church of Anaheim and First Baptist Church of Cypress, volunteers held sports camps for children and teens.
Dante Perez said he has long been keen on reaching the FSBC community through sports outreach, so this year’s Crossover effort was a perfect fit.
“I’ve been praying for some time for an opportunity like this that would bring families together so they can learn more about Jesus,” Perez said.
Church staff members helped recruit adult and student volunteers from the congregation and the church’s Anaheim Discovery Christian School to serve. At camp, about 50 children and teens enjoyed playing together in three skills and drills workshops focusing on baseball, basketball and soccer.
At a fourth station, children heard the gospel through object lessons that included foam darts, water balloons, and sports analogies.
“A chance to hear the gospel”
At FBC Cypress, the kids in attendance did something similar, weaving their way through the stations with street hockey, basketball, gaga ball and soccer, as well as listening to a Bible study and a presentation of the gospel.
“Every child has the chance to hear the gospel at least once…but we also have incredible volunteers in all sports who share their testimonies, who pray with the children,” said Pastor Trevor Cooper.
He said events like sports camp show that the FEB Cypress community is there and ready to serve.
“We try to give this church an identity through the gospel and through our sports camp, simply inviting the community to hear about the gospel and to hear the Word, but also to know that we exist here for the community,” he said. .
Chris Lohman, pastor of Garage Church in Huntington Beach, said his church’s Crossover event aims to do the same.
“We want to build relationships with our local community,” he said. “We are very relaxed. No one is judging – everyone in our church has already [made mistakes]. We just want to love people. Our job is to make it realistic for them to come to a place where they can feel loved and learn more about God.
That’s why Lohman was on the beach on June 11 with four surfboards and a team of volunteers. He wanted to teach people how to surf and maybe bring them to a place where they might also want to learn more about God.
“That’s why we do everything we do,” he said.
See photos of Crossover here.
EDITOR’S NOTE – For more stories about events and meetings surrounding the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, visit thebaptistpaper.org/sbc2022.