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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Greg Laurie is ‘going back to church’ following a record-breaking Harvest USA crusade and now huge crowds at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LOS ANGELES, CA (ANS) -- Greg Laurie, who recently saw his Harvest USA Crusade at Angel Stadium, Anaheim, become “the largest single presentation of the gospel in American history,” and also drew huge crowds to Dodger Stadium for Harvest LA, says now he is looking forward to “going back to church.”

Dan Wooding interviews Greg Laurie at Dodger Stadium

The annual “2012 Anaheim Harvest” outreach in Anaheim was attended by some 78,000 people over two nights, Aug. 25 – 26, and this year was capped off by a Sunday evening broadcast called Harvest America, which was viewed live by people in 2,400 venues from California to the Carolinas.

Now when I caught up with him, the crowds were packing into the Dodger Stadium on September 8-9, where Laurie again hit a home run for Christ as thousands responded to his appeal for people to come forward onto the field to receive Christ as their Savior.

Before the opening night began, I asked Laurie how he could top the Anaheim event, and he replied, “I don’t really see our events as one topping another. Each one has its own unique features to it. I think with Anaheim that was Harvest America the second night and it was a whole different strategy and, to our understanding, may have been the largest evangelistic outreach in American history, and conservatively, one of the largest. And so that’s what that was.

“This here at Dodger Stadium is different as this is more focused on LA proper and so I’m going to be thinking a lot more about the LA area where at Anaheim, especially on the second night with Harvest America, I was thinking of the whole country when I was speaking. So I wanted to be a little more directed to this area than I was then.”

As Laurie’s preaching style was similar in many ways to that of Billy Graham and also that he is a board member of Mr. Graham’s ministry, I asked him if the great evangelist had been in touch with him about the meetings.

With a huge laugh, Laurie replied, “Yes actually, and he said, ‘Please stop mentioning that I know you because it’s embarrassing’. No I made that up!

“I haven’t heard from Billy for a while, but he told me that he prays for us and then sees us on television later. You know, so much of what I do is inspired by him; not only watching him, but getting to know him personally. He’s been sort of my model in evangelism for sure -- except he looked a lot better doing it and he had more hair!”

I then asked what he planned to do after these latest crusades were over, and again, in great spirits, he said, “Yes, I’m gonna go to Disneyland. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to say (laughs). No, we’re going to take a break and when I’m not doing these crusades, I pastor a church. I really enjoy doing that and I’m looking forward frankly to just getting back to the teaching I was doing previously.

“And then, of course, we’re going to start working straight away on the next Harvest America because it’s a three year plan our goal is to reach as many people in three years as it took us twenty-two years to reach in live attendance. So we’re going to continue on with that plan. We hope to multiply the sites that we’ll be going to reaching even more people so we’ll be getting on with that immediately.”

Greg Laurie, who founded the evangelistic Harvest Crusade events in 1990, also serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in the U.S., Harvest Christian Fellowship, which has campuses in Riverside and Irvine, Calif. During the past 23 years, the Harvest Crusades have drawn some 4.4 million people to events in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Laurie also serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The final 2012 Harvest Crusade event has been taking place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles September 8 - 9. For more information, go to http://la.harvest.org/.

I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.

Note to the broadcast media: I have available an MP 3 audio file of this interview. If you would like to broadcast it, just send me a message at danjuma1@aol.com with details of your station or network, and I will e-mail it to you.


Dan Wooding, 71, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 49 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. Dan recently received two top media awards -- the “Passion for the Persecuted” award from Open Doors US, and as one of the top “Newsmakers of 2011” from Plain Truth magazine. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is “Caped Crusader: Rick Wakeman in the 1970s.” To order a copy, go to: http://www.amazon.com/CAPED-CRUSADER-Rick-Wakeman-1970s/dp/1908728302/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335474883&sr=1-1

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