Excitement was palpable at Angel Stadium of Anaheim this past weekend, Aug. 15 – 17, as more than 116,000 people packed the stands of the famed baseball stadium over three nights to attend the 25th annual Southern California Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie-the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history. From crowds of teens to extended families to the Mayor of Anaheim, each evening the outreach, called the “2014 SoCal Harvest”, drew a diverse crowd that gathered for a singular message of hope.
According to a news release Laura McGowan Communications, that message of hope is the same one that Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie-who has been called the “evangelist of the future” by Billy Graham–has delivered at every Harvest Crusade event since 1990, when he and the late Chuck Smith co-founded the outreach. Staying true to form, Laurie took the stage each evening of the 2014 SoCal Harvest to offer those in attendance a chance to know God in a personal way.
“God can forgive your sin and the guilt that goes along with it. He loves you,” said Laurie. “Have you heard His voice? After 25 years, I know there’s nothing I can say to make you believe in Jesus. All I can do is deliver the news, sharing it with you. You have a choice: you can say yes to Him or you can say no to Him.”
By the end of the weekend, some 12,791 people indicated their faith in Christ at the SoCal Harvest Crusade, including 11,366 people who walked to the outfield of Angel Stadium, and another 1,425 who made that decision online after viewing the Internet broadcast of the crusade.
The 2014 SoCal Harvest took on a celebratory tone with a Sunday night fireworks display that accompanied “America’s worship leader” Chris Tomlin as he sang “God’s Great Dance Floor,” and a musical medley from Grammy-nominated vocalist Crystal Lewis, who has performed at nearly every Harvest Crusades outreach in Orange County.
Harvest also reflected on the past 25 years with video flashbacks and testimonies from past participants who experienced spiritual change after attending a Harvest Crusade event. Laguna Hills resident Greg Munck was a Marine waiting to be deployed to Kuwait when he attended the very first Harvest Crusade outreach in 1990, and it was there that he committed his life to Christ, finding the peace he was desperately searching for.
“I don’t know where I’d be without that moment when God brought me to this place through Greg (Laurie),” Munck said. “That was the greatest moment of my life, when God captured my heart and I surrendered everything to Him at the Harvest Crusade. Every year going back is li ke a privilege.” (The Press-Enterprise, Sunday, August 17, 2014)
Additional musical artists who performed at the 2014 SoCal Harvest included NEEDTOBREATHE and Phil Wickham on Friday; Skillet, Sidewalk Prophets and Phil Wickham on Saturday; and for King & Country on Sunday. During the Friday evening program, Laurie interviewed former mobster, Michael Franzese, who has been described by media as the “Prince of the Mafia.”
All nights of the 2014 SoCal Harvest were broadcast on the Internet, where 62,733 people from all 50 states and 121 countries around the world watched the outreach. In addition, 1,425 Internet viewers made professions of faith in Christ after watching the Harvest Crusade online. The 2014 SoCal Harvest is archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org
With a trademark ability to present a clear gospel message in a culturally relevant format, drawing on the latest in current events, contemporary Christian music, and technology, Greg Laurie’s Harvest events have been attended by more than 6.5 million people worldwide since 1990, both in-person at stadium and arena events and via live Internet broadcasts. Laurie serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America, Harvest Christian Fellowship which has campuses in Riverside and Irvine, Calif. He serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
In addition to the 2014 SoCal Harvest, this year Harvest with Greg Laurie will host the Dallas Harvest at the American Airlines Center (October 5), which will be simulcast to thousands of locations nationwide for a coast-to-coast evangelistic outreach called Harvest America.
To learn more and find a Harvest Crusade near you, visit Harvest Ministries Online
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