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Todd Agnew (center) and band members leads worship at Harvest Crusade
"We don't know what's going to happen," Laurie said in an interview given to the Orange County Register recently. "But the end of your own personal world might be near, and my objective is simply to prepare people to meet God through a relationship with Jesus Christ."
Another 40,000 people watched or listened to the outreach via live Internet broadcasts and podcasts, according to Harvest staff members.
“Every word in the Bible is inspired, indeed it is breathed by God,” Laurie said while his outdoor sermon was broadcast on video podcasts for the first time. Audio podcasts were available for the first time last year.
The central theme of each night's Harvest Crusade was focused on a message of God's love and free gift of salvation. Through the course of the crusade, during Laurie's invitation, Harvest officials said 9,233 people walked on to the field of Angel Stadium to make public their newfound relationship with Jesus Christ.
In addition to Laurie's nightly talks, the Southern California Harvest also featured music from some of Christian music's most popular artists, including Newsboys, David Crowder Band, Joy Williams, Todd Agnew, Kutless, Crystal Lewis, Hawk Nelson, and MercyMe.
Amplify Youth Night: Sending the Message Loud and Clear
Harvest's Saturday night program geared toward youth, called Amplify, lived up to its name as 45,000 people packed out Angel Stadium to rock at a high decibel to favorite Christian bands Hawk Nelson, Kutless, and the David Crowder Band.
The stadium balconies literally rocked and swayed as the crowd jumped, danced, and sang along to the music before settling in to listen to a message from Laurie entitled "What is the Meaning of Life?"
"We are all searching for meaning and purpose in life," Laurie said. "Maybe some of you were let down by your parents or come from a broken home. The world doesn't have the solution. The answer is not within, the problem is within. God offers you a new life tonight, not just beyond the grave but now--a life worth living."
High-Tech Tools Help Harvest Reach Around the World
Throughout the crusade, Harvest continued to broaden its reach by pioneering the use of live internet broadcasts and podcasts.
"We want to use all the tools at our disposal to share the good news of the gospel," said technology director Paul Eaton.
In addition to providing banner ads for blogs and Web sites, Harvest also generated live webcasts and a variety of podcasts throughout the weekend outreach that were available for download on iTunes. The podcasts showed the behind the scenes side of Harvest, including back stage interviews with musicians, volunteers, and others who work to put together each crusade.
One woman who watched the live internet broadcast from her home in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., e-mailed: "Thank you so much for this [webcast]! It was quite the emotional night last night. I cried big tears with the online counselor, felt a huge weight lifted, and then tears turned to laughter after I said my salvation prayer. I want to thank all of you who put together the Harvest Crusade--especially Greg Laurie for delivering such a wonderful talk."
Greg Laurie, who founded the evangelistic Harvest Crusade events in 1990, also serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the 15 largest churches in the U.S. During the past 17 years, the Harvest Crusades have drawn more than 3.3 million people to events in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
In addition to holding crusades previously this year in Christchurch, New Zealand (April 28-30) and Anaheim (Aug. 11-13), Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie will visit San Jose, Calif. (Oct. 13-15).
Harvest Crusades can be viewed at www.harvestcrusades.org
Contributing: Laura McGowan, Newsroom.Harvest.org
Photos by Harvest Staff and Tony Ashlin
Media Note: ASSIST current stories "Harvest Crusades still offer a choice" at http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s06080052.htm and "Harvest Crusades Adapt to Change, But Message is Timeless" at http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s06080016.htm
|Alex Murashko is a freelance journalist living in Southern California. He has a Communications/Journalism degree from California State University Fullerton. He has been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times Orange County edition and the Press Enterprise in Riverside. Email: AlexMurashko@yahoo.com.|