Circumstances don't change our mission

By Rusty Ellison

Published: May 1, 2020

A little more than two months ago, SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd introduced Vision 2025, a five-year initiative centered on reaching every person with the gospel in every town, every city, every state and every nation.

Rusty Ellison

A little more than two months ago, the premise of this column had to do with Crossings' never-ending efforts to reach Gen Z, the young generation, with the gospel.

A little more than two months ago, our entire Crossings team was excitedly anticipating a record-breaking summer with more than 19,000 campers pre-registered!

A little more than two months ago, we were preparing to engage students at Crossings On Mission in Chicago this summer.

>A little more than two months ago, we were continuing our plans to take the Crossings Experience to Skycroft in Maryland, a ministry partnership with the Maryland-Delaware Convention.

A little more than two months ago, we were meeting in anticipation of the launch of our exciting new Crossings Kids Day Camp this summer.

A little more than two months ago, we were meeting with our design and build team on our much-needed dedicated Cedar Crest kids camp.

A little more than two months ago, though approaching my 71st birthday in May, I couldn't wait for camp to get here and see how God was going to impact thousands of students and kids that were coming our way!

But all that was then.

Now, a little more than two months later, I write with the awareness of how our lives and world have been turned upside down as we cope together with the spread of COVID-19. As we go to press, the virus is not contained and continues to impact most of the way we live, work, play and worship.

So I come back to Ronnie's Vision 2025. Given the times in which we find ourselves, is it realistic for Southern Baptists to continue to embrace the vision Ronnie has cast?

I believe wholeheartedly that it is. The details of Floyd's vision are available elsewhere, but one of the five initiatives is directly related to Crossings: "Turn around our ongoing decline in reaching, baptizing and discipling 12- to 17-year-olds in the prime of their teenage years."

Floyd goes on to issue the charge: "If we will focus on this age group and see a turnaround in baptisms for the next five years, we will turn around the entire baptism decline in the Southern Baptist Convention. We'll also see more teenagers called into the ministry of the gospel, surrendering their lives to the ministry by serving here in one of our local churches or being sent to serve as a missionary globally."

A little more than two months ago, that was our belief, our hope, our expectation at Crossings as we partner with nearly 700 churches this summer to reach the generation of which Ronnie Floyd speaks.

That's still our belief! Paul's words in Romans 15:13 provide encouragement in our current circumstances: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Rusty Ellison is vice president of development for Crossings. He can be reached at