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By Warren Duffy
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Plans have been announced by popular Christian evangelist Greg Laurie for a crusade that will be a “coordinated event across America” using the newest cutting-edge media to connect “1,000 churches” in a massive, coast-to-coast revival.
At a kickoff event for more than 300 Southern California pastors in Angel Stadium here, Laurie said, “This will be a one-day, one-church, one-message event across this nation.”
As the grounds crew took a break from preparing the infield for the Angels’ home opener under clear, blue skies, Laurie asked local church pastors and pastors across America to “work together so that your people bring their people and America turns back to God.”
Harvest Crusade began as a three-day annual event at the Anaheim ballpark in 1990. The 2011 Crusade expanded to a second Southern California venue, historic Dodger Stadium, which housed an overflow audience. Events again will be staged at both ball parks in August, but the Tuesday announcement focused on “Crusade America,” Laurie’s live-streaming crusade Aug. 26. In cities large and small, the Crusade team expects to include 1,000 churches coast to coast.
Laurie recounted that the past 22 years of crusades have attracted more than 4 million people worldwide with 400,000 responding to the Gospel message to “come forward to receive Christ.” His strategy for reaching an ever-increasing number the next three years is focused on the live-streaming of closing night at the Anaheim crusade.
John Collins, long-time director of the Harvest Crusades, explained any local church pastor in any city across the nation can be part of the big event by clicking on the newly designed website www.harvestamerica.com and signing up to be a host church. A comprehensive local crusade plan is available, free of charge, to assist organizers at local churches to create an event in their community. They can then join via live streaming with the anticipated crowd of 55,000 at the Anaheim stadium.
Collins said “CRUSADE AMERICA” on the 26th will feature music by Jeremy Camp and Mercy Me.
“Local churches can join with other churches across the nation and with our live audience at Angel Stadium,” he said. “When Greg invites new believers to come forward for prayer, pastors from coast to coast will be welcoming their audience to come forward at the very same moment.”
Laurie said, as his audience of Southern California church pastors cheered, “We are believing God for a nationwide revival on August 26th.”
A video, shown on the outfield scoreboard at the ball park, featured Laurie on a lonely city street explaining that over the past 50 years, “God has been taken out of our classrooms, out of the courts and out of our culture. It’s time for America to turn back to God.”
Addressing the challenges of organizing a nationwide event, Laurie said many have asked him, “‘What if we fail?’ And I answer them, ‘What if we succeed?'”
The budget for the two-day event and the Crusade America national broadcast is expected to exceed $1 million. Laurie said only $110,000 of the budget remains to be raised.
Collins invited Christians across the nation to click onto the Harvest America website and enter the names of “your family and your friends and even the well known” who need to be reached through the Aug. 26 nationwide streaming broadcast.
He explained that the innovative “Prayer Cloud” at the site already contains some 12,000 names. Everyone is invited daily to be part of the crusade. When someone clicks on the site, names are rotated across the computer screen to pray for each person.
Already 1,800 people nationwide have agreed to pray daily for the names listed on the “Prayer Cloud.”
The Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium will be a two-day weekend event, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-26. The nationwide Crusade America broadcast will be the focus of closing night. It will begin at 4 p.m. Pacific Time so churches in the Eastern time zone can start their local events at 7 p.m.
Laurie stated, “We’re believing churches will join us in Brooklyn, in Austin, in Chicago and coast to coast and be part of what God will be doing in cities large and small.”