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Seminary students aid Baltimore church outreach

June 16, 2014 : Liberty University News Service

Volunteers hand out popcorn at Crossover.A trailer from Liberty University arrived at Seventh Metro Church in Baltimore, Md., earlier this month — with a party in tow.

Well, all the makings of a party, that is.

A team of 44 students from Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary arrived at the church on Friday, June 6, ready to unpack snow cone and popcorn machines, sound equipment, tents, tables, a bounce house, and games for a party held the following day.

The party was part of Crossover, an annual evangelistic outreach that takes place the weekend prior to the annual Southern Baptist Convention in the city where the convention is held. It attracted 700 people from the downtown Baltimore area. Students interacted with community members, served food, painted children’s faces, helped children with arts and crafts, and played basketball and other games. College students and members of Southern Baptist churches came from all over the country to participate in outreach events held throughout the city.

Liberty’s Center for Ministry Training (CMT) organized the trip for the seminary students, using supplies from its block party ministry.

The Gospel message is preached during an evangelistic outreach event in Baltimore.Guests were not only treated to tasty treats and fun games, but were presented with the Gospel message.

Seminary student Vince Valeriano, who coordinated the trip, said partnering with the local church through these “servant evangelism events” is one way that Liberty students are learning hands-on ministry.

“The pastor (at Seventh Metro Church) told me we were a huge blessing,” he said. “It was really awesome seeing believers who were complete strangers before this event coming together as the body of Christ to humbly assist others in the mission given to us by Jesus.”

Valeriano said he was proud of Liberty’s team. Some of them traveled from campus and some came from their homes — one as far as Massachusetts — for the one-day event.

“Everyone who showed up had a servant’s heart; they were always asking if they could do more. It was inspiring to see our Liberty Seminary students going out of their way to encourage the people of the community with the message of God’s love and His gospel,” Valeriano said.

Children play during the Crossover outreach event.The church connected with 20 people who made professions of faith at the event, and hundreds more left their contact information. Many guests indicated they wanted to visit the church again.

The CMT regularly partners with local churches and other ministries in hosting block parties and sports evangelism events throughout the year at sites across Virginia and in other states along the East Coast. The mission of the CMT is to create ministry opportunities and cultivate a ministry consciousness at Liberty, not just for those seeking to become vocational pastors or church planters, but so all students can learn to be intentional and missional Christ followers.

“We train Champions for Christ by providing all students at Liberty with practical ministry training and opportunities so that they can be equipped for ministry in all spheres of life when they leave Liberty,” said Dr. David Wheeler, CMT director. “Our ultimate purpose is to train up all Liberty University students to become multiplying disciple makers and church leaders who are missional Christ followers who desire to fulfill the Great Commission in every area of life, regardless of their vocation.”