Crossover Orlando touches lives with the Gospel
Nov 21, 2012
By MARGARET DEMPSEY-COLSON & AMANDA SULLIVAN

“We are bringing the Gospel to them,” said Melvin Adams, who helped lead a basketball clinic for men and older youth in the community surrounding the church. 

Retired from the Harlem Globetrotters, Adams shared the story of his difficult upbringing, sprinkled with humor, to make a connection with the largely unchurched basketball players.

The Saturday basketball clinic was just one component of a multifaceted Crossover outreach into the community. Throughout the week, the church also coordinated a mobile dental unit, held a senior adult friend day, and conducted a block party at nearby Poppy Park.

To passersby, Poppy Park looks like any other park—and it is. But to church planter Kevin Adams, the park is a ripe location for ministry—especially among youth. As pastor of Kirkman Community Church—a ministry effort of First Baptist Church of Central Florida, the Florida Baptist Convention, GOBA and NAMB — Adams’s main goal is “to reach people,” he said. 

SPORTS First Baptist Church of Central Florida in Orlando interacts with the community’s unchurched via a basketball clinic for men and older youth during Crossover. FBC photo
The youth of the community are familiar with Adams and his church, as the group has been visiting the park every Sunday and Wednesday for the past year. But Saturday was extra special as the Strength Team was on hand.

When the Strength Team took the stage, the crowd of youth—and a smattering of adults—began to grow. Hartso asked for two small children as volunteers to test the authenticity of the steel bar Bishop planned to later mold into a fish. 

Bishop raised the children above his head while they clung to the bar. He whirled them around like a helicopter. 

“My favorite trick was when he turned the bar into a fish,” Maurice Small, 18, said of Bishop and the team. “This was really inspiring for people.”

Small, who started attending the service in the park three months ago, said he was recently baptized by Pastor Adams at Kirkman Church which meets bi-weekly on Sundays at nearby Eagles Nest Elementary School.

HARVEST Enrique Sanchez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista de la Trinidad in Apopka, (right, above) asks those who came to pick up clothes and food at a Crossover event to listen for a few minutes to the Strength Team share their testimonies. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
“I knew about God, but I didn’t know I could be saved,” he said. 

When the Strength Team gave an invitation for salvation at the park, 15 of the boys responded. 

Adams said the block party is a shot in the arm for the church plant which has struggled attracting supporting members, but doesn’t lack youth in need of the Gospel.

Bautista de la Trinidad

Pastor Enrique Sanchez, of Iglesia Bautista de la Trinidad, knows what it means to meet people where they are. The non-descript building that acts as the community’s church served merely as a backdrop to the Crossover event.

More than 25 adults and young people indicated they wanted to accept Christ afterwards. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
White tents filled the small yard, covering several folding tables. On each of the tables were organized piles of used clothing, food, shoes and office supplies—and each and every item was free of charge.

“All the clothes and food were donated from people in the community,” Sanchez said. 

As the Strength Team began its performance on a dirt stage, the 100 people meandering around crowded close. Bishop and Hartso began sharing the Gospel. 

During the Strength Team’s salvation invitation, about 25 people—mostly all adults—raised their hands to accept Christ.

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