The gospel of Jesus Christ is essential to providing hope for a sharply divided America now more than perhaps any other time in its history, said Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie.
The need for evangelism is more important than ever before, said Laurie, while his team prepares for SoCal Harvest planned at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 18-20.
“Despite the divisions and distractions dividing our nation and disorienting our culture, I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ remains the hope of the world and is more needed in our nation now than at almost any other point in our history,” he said.
This year’s mega-outreach is preceded by an ambitious evangelism training program in the weeks preceding the SoCal Harvest. As Laurie notes, “Jesus did not say that the whole world should go to church. He said that the church should go to the whole world.” Laurie’s Tell Someone Events are a series of rallies held across Orange County, the Inland Empire, and Los Angeles designed to provide tools and training for people interested in sharing their faith with others.
As many as 10,000 people are expected to go through the training at area churches, July 26 – August 3.
Organizers said Laurie’s messages go straight to the heart of the questions front and center in the minds of all people: Why am I here? Is this all there is? How can I start over? Is God real? What happens when I die?
After nearly three decades of large-scale evangelism, Laurie remains passionate about conveying to audiences locally and around the world the eternal hope that is found through a relationship with Christ. He knows what it’s like to be in desperate need of hope.
Like many who came of age in the 1960s, Laurie was on a search for the meaning of life, as stated in a news release about the upcoming outreach. Born out of wedlock to an alcoholic who went on to marry seven times, Greg started drinking, partying, and taking drugs to escape the insecurity and dysfunction of his family. But his life was suddenly changed when he encountered a group of young Christians on his high school campus in Newport Beach, California.
As Laurie notes, “We may lose sight of God, but He never loses sight of us.” Today, after nearly 30 years of holding Crusades in Southern California, he is living proof that “God’s plans for us are better than any plans we have for ourselves.”
In addition to the nightly message from Laurie, top Christian artists performing include Crowder, Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist Lecrae, Jeremy Camp, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, Andy Mineo, American Idol finalist Danny Gokey, NBC’s The Voice finalist Brennley Brown, and worship leader Phil Wickham (artists vary by night).
The SoCal Harvest comes on the heels of Harvest’s largest outreach to date—a one-night event held on June 11 called Harvest America, which drew a combined audience of nearly 945,000 people, organizers said. A crowd of 38,000 packed the University of Phoenix Stadium to listen to Laurie in person, while another 907,000 — from coast to coast and around the world — watched or listened to the simulcast via the web, Trinity Broadcasting Network, the 3,700 plus HarvestAmerica.com host sites, and on Facebook Live.
The SoCal Harvest begins at 7 p.m. each evening (gates open at 5 p.m.) and is free of charge. Angel Stadium of Anaheim charges $15 for parking fees for cars and $30 for buses. Each night the event will be interpreted in Spanish and signing for the deaf will be provided.
All three nights of the 2017 SoCal Harvest will be broadcast live via the Internet at www.harvest.org, and daily blog accounts of the crusade will also be made available. Updates about the Harvest outreach will be posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or search #HarvestSoCal.
Founded in 1990 by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, Calif., and Maui, Hawaii, Harvest Crusade events have been attended by more than 7.8 million people worldwide, both in-person and via live Internet broadcasts. He serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Editor’s Note: This article includes information obtained from a news release provided to TogetherLA.net by Laura McGowan Communications.