PHOENIX, Ariz. — Harvest America at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday (June 11) reached audiences across the country and around the world with a message of God’s love in what became the single largest event in the history of the organization.
Evangelist Greg Laurie took the stage Sunday evening in front of a live audience of 38,000 gathered in Glendale, Arizona, as well as even larger simulcast and broadcast audiences. Before the sun went down in the Valley of the Sun, the gathering had gone down as one of the largest one-day evangelistic events in American history.
“Earlier this year we proclaimed 2017 the ‘Year of Good News’ with the singular mission of bringing the gospel to as many people as possible,” said Greg Laurie, the founder of Harvest America who has been called “the evangelist of the future” by Billy Graham. “Our goal remains to deliver that message through as many channels as possible in order to reach all the way to the ends of the earth, and Harvest America 2017 demonstrated what’s possible in this new world.”
In addition to the 38,000 people who attended the free Harvest America outreach at the University of Phoenix Stadium, millions around the world participated in Harvest America 2017 through a live broadcast via Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), which this year broadcast Harvest America live for the first time on its global family of networks which spans 174 countries; online streaming via www.HarvestAmerica.com and on World Net Daily; live radio broadcasts carried by more than 600 radio outlets; and live simulcasts to more than 3,758 host locations across the U.S., including churches, homes and theaters.
The online stream at www.HarvestAmerica.com was viewed live in 83 countries around the world. The broadcast was additionally available on Facebook LIVE.
Appearing onstage with evangelist Greg Laurie was Phoenix’s own American Idol Jordin Sparks, as well as popular Christian artists NEEDTOBREATHE, MercyMe, Trip Lee, Phil Wickham and NBC The Voice’s Brennley Brown.
All who participated in Harvest America united behind one message, the eternal hope that can be found through a relationship with Jesus Christ, which was presented by Laurie during his talk which answered the question, “what is the meaning of life?”
Referencing the story of the prodigal son, Laurie said, “Maybe you don’t know God or maybe, like the prodigal son, you know God but you’ve turned your back on Him. Maybe you have things that should make you happy, but don’t make you happy. What’s the answer? Jesus. The missing piece you are looking for is Jesus Christ, because he will give you the meaning in life that you want.”
Laurie continued, “If you decide to come back to God, He wants to throw his arms around you and say welcome home son, welcome home daughter, I’ve missed you—just like father of prodigal son. The father ran to the son, and that’s what he will do if you come to Him. He accepted the son as he was, in tattered rags. You might think that you need to clean up your life before you come to God, but He says come as you are and he will forgive you, he will accept you, he will change you. You’re not too old or young.”
Laurie preached from one of Billy Graham’s Bibles, a Bible first given to the Hollywood icon Steve McQueen after his conversion. McQueen is the subject of Laurie’s latest book, Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon, which releases Tuesday, June 13.
Inviting those in Phoenix and those watching around the world to put their faith in Christ, Laurie urged, “One sin is enough to keep you out of heaven. Every one of us has sinned. God doesn’t grade on a curve, but that’s where Jesus comes in. You must recognize you are a sinner, but then you must recognize that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you. If you want your sins forgiven, if you want your guilt taken away, if you want to find meaning and purpose in your life, come forward. I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seats and make a stand for Jesus Christ.”
At the end of the evening, thousands of people walked down to the floor of the University of Phoenix Stadium to indicate their decision to follow Jesus Christ, and thousands more registered their commitment online or at host locations nationwide.
More than 420 local churches and up to 10,000 volunteers participated in Harvest America 2017, many of whom are members of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), which is gathering in Phoenix for its annual convention this week. The SBC and its North American Missions Board (NAMB) collaborated with Harvest America to make the outreach its 29th annual Crossover evangelism event. Crossover support included local community service, street evangelism and a “Tell Someone” rally held Friday night.
“We are unbelievably grateful for the support of local churches throughout the Valley of the Sun, the Southern Baptist Convention, the North American Mission Board, and especially for Kevin Ezell who saw what we envisioned from the beginning,” said Laurie. “Together, we all worked to bring the Gospel to this community and to bring it from this community throughout the world.”
Before Harvest America 2017, Greg Laurie’s Harvest events had drawn more than 5.7 million people to stadiums and arenas around the world since 1990, with another 1.8 million people attending virtually via the internet.
Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie will hold its next outreach, 2017 SoCal Harvest, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, Aug. 18-20. On June 10, 2018, Harvest Crusades will take Harvest America back to the Dallas Metroplex.
In addition to founding the Harvest Crusades, Laurie also serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America, Harvest Christian Fellowship, which has campuses in Riverside and Irvine, California, and Maui, Hawaii. He serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.