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Harvest with Greg Laurie Concludes 2008 Events, Drawing 13,000 to Madison Square Garden Over Weekend
2008 Harvest Crusade Outreach Draws Some 167,000 People to Three Events Spanning Both CoastsRIVERSIDE, Calif., October 20, 2008—Traversing the country with events at Angel Stadium of Anaheim and the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia earlier this year, Harvest with Greg Laurie concluded its 2008 season this past weekend with a one-night evangelistic outreach at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, October 19. Some 13,000 people attended the New York Harvest, many of them bringing friends, neighbors, and co-workers to hear the message of hope presented by Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie.
At the end of the evening program, some 1,380 people stepped forward to make a profession of faith in Christ—an overwhelming number, with responders outnumbering prayer counselors.
More than 130 New York and New Jersey churches worked together over the past year to host the New York Harvest, following up a 2007 preview rally at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, which drew 9,000 people.
The Sunday evening Harvest outreach opened with a prayer from New York pastor A.R. Bernard, followed by music from popular Christian artists MercyMe, Relient K, and the Katinas, as well as a 300-member community-wide choir. Although the music covered genres ranging from from pop to gospel to alt rock, all of it paved the way for Laurie's message. Addressing a crowd diverse in age and ethnicity, Laurie said, "If you want to know that you will spend eternity in Heaven, you must receive the eternal gift that God wants to offer you tonight. Did you know you can be a good or moral person and not have a relationship with God? I don't care how old you are, God can change you. I don't care how moral you are, you still need Christ."
Sharing with the audience both the grief and the eternal hope he has found in the death of his father, and more recently in the recent death of his 33-year-old son, Christopher, Laurie said, "Don't think of me as a pastor, think of me as a regular guy. I'm just a father who misses his son, but I'm a person who found that God's strength was there for me during the lowest moment of my life. If I didn't have Christ in my life, I don't know how I could bear it. But because I am a Christian and because Christopher is a Christian, I know I will see him again."
Laurie continued, "Christopher is in heaven tonight. Not because he is my son, but because he became God's son. There is no more important decision you will ever make than to put your faith in Jesus Christ, because it literally has life or death consequences attached to it."
2008 Harvest Event SummaryThe Harvest with Greg Laurie events drew some 167,000 people to three events in 2008 (Anaheim, Calif., Aug. 15–17; Philadelphia, Penn., Oct. 3–5; New York City, Oct. 19), and more than 16,000 of those in attendance made professions of faith in Christ.
In addition to those in attendance at the Harvest events, Internet broadcasts of the Southern California Harvest and the Greater Philadelphia Harvest (www.harvest.org) received more than 45,000 hits to the live stream. The Internet broadcasts are archived and available for viewing. Video podcasts or blog accounts of each event are also be available at http://blog.greglaurie.com/.
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 largest churches in the U.S. During the past 19 years, the Harvest Crusades have drawn more than 3.8 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 and Samaritan's Purse.
The 2009 Harvest Crusades will kick off with a three-night even in Rapid City, South Dakota in May.