|Biracial makeup of witnessing team opens doors during Crossover effort
--By Ferrell Foster
CLARKSTON, Ga., June 12--Tegga Lendado is black. Jerry Atkins is white. Together, they
went door to door in the Atlanta suburb of Clarkston June 12, conducting a survey of
spiritual needs and beliefs and telling people about their Savior.
Lendado said the men's difference in color drew people's
attention in Clarkston, where people from varied races and ethnic groups live in the same
neighborhoods. "It made them interested," said Lendado, pastor of Ethiopian
Bible Church, a Southern Baptist congregation that is part of Clarkston First Baptist
People's interest increased when Atkins, an independent Baptist
pastor from East Bend, N.C., confessed to being a racist 30 years ago, Lendado said of his
partner. The white man told people that "Jesus is the one who heals. ... He took that
away from me."
"They listened to him very intently," the Ethiopian pastor said. "He said
Christianity is not a white man's religion." And the pair related the biblical story
of the Ethiopian eunuch coming to Christ.
Lendado and Atkins did not lead anyone to Christ, but both
reported back to the church their excitement about opportunities to share Christ. The
effort was part of the Crossover Metro Atlanta effort surrounding the June 15-16 Southern
Baptist Convention annual meeting in Atlanta. Clarkston First Baptist Church was among
more than 25 churches surveying their communities with the assistance of volunteers from
across the country.
Atkins did relate a "tremendous response" from a
22-year-old Vietnamese woman who is Buddhist. She had never before heard of Jesus. She was
very receptive and open, Atkins said, but would not pray to receive Christ until she could
speak with her father. Clarkston First Baptist Church sent out 25 people in 10 teams for
two hours of surveying and witnessing. One person prayed to receive Christ.
Ken Magness, of Panhandle Baptist Church, Hampton, Ga., reported
that four people prayed to receive Christ as part of that young congregation's
door-to-door witnessing. Nine people from Panhandle, which averages about 50 in Sunday
school, visited 67 homes. The church had no volunteer help from other Southern Baptist
churches, but Magness said the local members who led people to Christ are excited and want
to continue surveying the neighborhood.
Mike Hutcheson, of Brookhaven Baptist Church in Atlanta, said two
people professed faith in Christ as 20 teams visited 374 homes. "Our folks were just
really encouraged" that people were so receptive. Tony Peace, of Eastside Baptist
Church in Riverdale, said the church had no professions of faith Saturday but discovered
some "really good prospects" that will be contacted.
A total of approximately 1,500 to 2,000 Southern Baptist
volunteers not affiliated with sponsoring local churches are participating in this year's
Crossover effort, which included a variety of other events and strategies for personal
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