HOUSTON (BP) ­- Hundreds of Southern Baptists will arrive for Crossover Saturday in Houston the weekend leading up to the Southern Baptist Convention's June 11-12 annual meeting.

As in previous years, Crossover participants will help host block parties and special outreach events on Saturday, June 8, to share the Gospel.

This year Southern Baptists will have additional opportunities to share Christ through ministry evangelism as Crossover Saturday aligns with a local Baptist initiative to serve the city.

Houston's Union Baptist Association's new three-year "Loving Houston" initiative will be launched with a weeklong series of events culminating in a day of Crossover Saturday outreach with Southern Baptist volunteers working alongside local churches as they serve the city and share Christ.

Al Gilbert, the North American Mission Board's vice president for evangelism and executive director of NAMB's LoveLoud ministry emphasis, said Crossover Saturday will create a mosaic of outreach throughout the greater Houston area.

"From the very beginning Crossover was designed to bless the city hosting the annual meeting," Gilbert said. "Since Houston is one of the largest cities in the U.S., there is a need for many different kinds of opportunities for the people who live in Houston and for those who will be coming to town a day early."

Gilbert said Crossover Saturday will include all of the traditional components of evangelism training, block parties and special events in a daylong series of events to cap a weeklong local association-wide effort.

"We are doing this because we are Christ-followers," said Tom Billings, executive director of the Union Baptist Association. "Jesus went about doing good and taught His followers to do the same. By doing good we hope folks will ask, 'Who are you and why are you doing this?'

"This will give us opportunities to share the love of Christ in words as well as deeds. Sharing Christ is our ultimate motive, but not an ulterior motive. We are not trying to manipulate people into becoming Christians. We are doing this because we are Christians," Billings said.

For more information on Crossover Saturday, June 8, visit www.namb.net/crossover. To join the Loving Houston outreach opportunities, visit www.lovinghouston.net.

Reported by the North American Mission Board's communications staff. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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