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21st Annual Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie Deliver Message of Hope to 118,000 Southern Californians over Weekend
Crowds Pack Out Angel Stadium of Anaheim for Three-Day Evangelistic Outreach Featuring Greg Laurie, Dr. James Dobson, Steven Curtis Chapman, and OthersRIVERSIDE, Calif., August 9, 2010—"Hope" was the central message of the 21st annual Southern California Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie this past weekend, August 6 – 8, and the theme clearly struck a chord with Southland residents as more than 118,000 people packed out Angel Stadium of Anaheim over three nights, many of whom came seeking spiritual answers.
The Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie have been a mainstay in Southern California since 1990, and have drawn more than 4.1 million people to evangelistic outreach events around the world. The 2010 Southern California Harvest was hosted by more than 300 local churches and supported by more than 6,000 volunteers.
Drawing from his own experience of grief and loss over the death of his son Christopher in 2008, Riverside, Calif. pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie told the audience gathered at the Harvest Crusades each night about the hope they could find in a relationship with Jesus Christ. In an interview with The Orange County Register, Laurie said, "I still experience great pain and deep sorrow – I probably will for the rest of my life. But I've also found great comfort through Christ, and it's a message I want to share with people who are hurting." (August 5, 2010)
This message of hope culminated on Sunday with a first-of-its-kind program called, "An Evening of Hope," where a capacity crowd of 48,000 people gathered at Angel Stadium to hear Laurie discuss issues of pain, suffering, and loss with psychologist and author Dr. James Dobson and Grammy Award-winning musician Steven Curtis Chapman, who experienced the death of his youngest daughter, Maria Sue, two years ago.
Addressing the pain of loss that eventually everyone will go through, Laurie asked the crowd, "Why do bad things happen? The answer is this." After a pause he said, "I don't know. But as Christians, we do not sorrow as those who have no hope because we will see our loved ones again. If you are a Christian, you are reassured by that hope."
Chapman later added, "God restores and redeems what he takes away. There are no words for the pain of loss, but our hope is in the resurrection. Emmanuel, God is with us."
Chapman and MercyMe took the stage to perform music that reflected the theme of the weekend, and as he did each night of the Harvest Crusade, Laurie concluded the Sunday evening program with an invitation for those in attendance to walk onto the outfield of Angel Stadium to put their faith in Christ. Over the course of the weekend, 11,789 people did just that.
In addition to performances from Steven Curtis Chapman and MercyMe, the 2010 Southern California Harvest also featured music from David Crowder Band, Crystal Lewis, Phil Wickham, Sanctus Real, OC Supertones, Revive, and The Katinas.
Apart from the crowds gathered at Angel Stadium, people from 47 countries around the world watched the 2010 Southern California Harvest live, with 290,000 connections made to the live Harvest HD webcast – more than double the previous record for cyber attendance. In addition, 768 webcast viewers filled out online cards indicating that they prayed with Laurie to make a commitment of faith. Each evening of the Harvest Crusade is archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org.
Video podcasts and blog accounts of each message were also made available at http://blog.greglaurie.com/, as well as "behind the scenes" updates from Greg Laurie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greglaurie and on Facebook. And, for the first time, Harvest implemented a texting feature that allowed cell phone users to receive updates about the Harvest Crusade throughout the weekend.
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 21 years, the Harvest Crusades have drawn some 4.1 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.
2010 Harvest Crusade events are also scheduled for Chicago (Allstate Arena, Sept. 24 – 26) and Seattle (Key Arena, Nov. 5 – 7).