Final rehearsals and volunteer briefings lead into evangelist Franklin Graham's Central Canada Festival opening in Winnipeg, Manitoba, today. This is Graham's 12th evangelistic gathering in the nation.
Coming out of the largest outreach ever to happen in Ecuador with more than 140,000 people, Graham is picking up local news and preparing himself for a widely diverse city this weekend.
Following news in Canada, Graham is "well versed in what's going on" in the local area, according to his media spokesperson Todd Shearer. "He wants to make his message as topical as he can for the folks there."
While the gospel message is preached the same around the world, the evangelist makes sure he's familiar with the region he gets invited to preach at to place local context around his words.
The Harvest Crusades evangelist, Greg Laurie, follows the same technique. He makes sure he's up-to-date on the latest news to make his renowned down-to-earth messages relevant to the thousands he speaks to.
In San Jose last week, Laurie recognized the city as "home to the largest concentration of technology expertise in the world."
"We're living in the Information Age," he told attendants at his first ever Silicon Valley Harvest Crusade, mentioning cell phones and Blackberrys equipped for accessing e-mails and headlines. "There's no escaping all of this information."
Laurie models largely after the crusades of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, now headed by Franklin Graham.
This weekend, the three-day Franklin Graham Festival will feature top Christian artists Rebecca St. James, Newsboys (who performed at last week's Silicon Valley Harvest Crusade), Tree 63, Casting Crowns and Michael W. Smith.
Saturday morning's KidzFest will be geared toward young children with puppeteer and ventriloquist Lesha Campbell and BMX bike stunt team Chaos on Wheels. A special "Student Night" concert will follow.
Correction: Wednesday, October 25, 2006:
An article on Friday, Oct. 20, 2006, about the Franklin Graham Central Canada Festival incorrectly reported the number of festivals Graham has held in Canada. The Christian Post confirmed with Franklin Graham spokesperson Todd Shearer that the Central Canada Festival was Graham's 12th evangelistic gathering in the nation, not second.