11,699 Declare, “But Now I’m Found,” by Making Decisions of Faith
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
ANAHEIM, CA (ANS -- August 29, 2016) -- It was a weekend of spiritual transformation for thousands in attendance at the 27th annual Southern California Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie, held at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Sept. 23–25, 2016.
Some 105,000 packed into the stadium over the course of the three-night “2016 SoCal Harvest” outreach to hear a message of hope from Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie, and by the end of the weekend, 11,699 people -- more than 10% of those in attendance in-person or via the live Internet broadcast -- registered commitments of faith.
The 2016 SoCal Harvest featured a nightly talk from Laurie and music from top Christian musical artists including Chris Tomlin, tobyMac featuring Hollyn, Skillet, for King & Country, Phil Wickham and KB.
Actor and director Mel Gibson joined Greg Laurie for an interview on Sunday to discuss the role that faith has played in the films he has produced in recent years and. much to the enjoyment of the large audience, they also briefly arm wrestled, but neigher actually won. Discussing his plans for a new film based on the resurrection of Christ, Gibson said, “I made the ultimate super hero film in The Passion of the Christ. Real super heroes don’t wear spandex or have special 3-D effects, they do something super human.” (To see the interview with Mel Gibson, which includea the brief arm wrestling segment, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZHuzzEKHfU).
People from all walks of life shared their personal stories of faith from the stage during the Sunday evening program, writing descriptions of who they used to be on one side of a cardboard sign -- “I was sentenced to life in prison.” “I was in a cult.” “I was addicted to cocaine.” -- and then flipping the signs over to reveal the message, “But Now I’m Found” as the Harvest Crusade Band performed “Amazing Grace.” At the same time, thousands of people throughout Angel Stadium held up their own cards until white signs blanketed the stands.
Greg Laurie spoke with a sense of urgency to the crowd gathered each night, addressing questions that many people ask: Why am I so empty inside? What happened after I die? Why am I so lonely?
“Everyone needs Jesus -- from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, every man, woman, boy and girl,” said Laurie. “You can come to Him and be forgiven of your sin. You’re either going to say yes or no, but are you willing to bet all of eternity on it?”
“I’m just the delivery boy, I’m just here to get the Good News out. But it’s up to you to decide what to do with it,” Laurie continued. “Jesus loves you and he said follow me -- that’s the choice. You can walk out of Angel Stadium with all of your sin in the rearview mirror.”
At Laurie’s invitation, 10,881 people streamed onto the outfield of Angel Stadium through the course of the weekend to make commitments of faith. Another 818 made decisions of faith via live Internet broadcasts.
Live Event Webcasts/Broadcasts/Social Media
All nights of the 2016 SoCal Harvest were broadcast on the Internet, and 51,014 people watched live from 149 countries and all 50 states. In addition, 103,198 viewers participated through Facebook Live. The 2016 SoCal Harvest is archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org.
The 2016 SoCal Harvest was broadcast locally on KKLA-FM and KFSH-FM and via satellite across the country on CSN Radio and Radio Nueva Vida. In addition, each night of the Harvest Crusade aired live on TCT TV Network, God TV (god.tv/tunein/us), and JUCE-TV (jucetv.com).
With a trademark ability to present a clear gospel message in a culturally relevant format, drawing on the latest in current events, contemporary Christian music, and technology, Greg Laurie’s Harvest events have 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. In addition to founding the Harvest Crusades -- the longest-running annual evangelistic outreach in U.S. history -- Laurie also serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America, Harvest Christian Fellowship, which has campuses in Riverside and Irvine, Calif., and Maui, Hawaii. He serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie will hold its next outreach, Harvest Georgia 2016, at Atlanta’s Infinite Energy Arena, Sept. 23–25, 2016.
Media Note: For more information about the 2016 SoCal Harvest events, or to arrange an interview, contact Laura McGowan at (847) 347-5206 or at email@example.com, or access the Harvest Newsroom at www.newsroom.harvest.org.
Note: I would like to thank Laura McGowan for her invaluable help in preparing this report.
Photo captions: 1) Greg Laurie speaking on the final night of the crusade at Angel Stadium. 2) Greg Laurie makes a point. 3) Greg Laurie and Mel Gibson arm wrestle. 4) Part of the audience at Angel Stadium. 5) Crowds flock onto the field to receive Christ on the final night of the 27th Annual Southern California Harvest Crusade. 6) Dan Wooding with Laura McGowan at Angel Stadium. 7) Dan Wooding interviews Greg Laurie at a pre-event for the crusade.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria, West Africa, of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, who then worked with the Sudan Interior Mission, now known as SIM. He now lives in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for some 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of the ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of some 45 books. He also has one weekly radio show (Front Page Radio) and two TV shows (Windows on the World – with Mark Ellis and Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding) all based in Southern California. Besides his US broadcasting and journalism, Dan has also worked as a writer with Billy Graham at his overseas crusades in Moscow, Russia; Essen, Germany; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. You can write to Dan Wooding at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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