More than 400 churches and venues have signed up to host a live simulcast of Harvest America, an event that is still more than four months away and is the first effort of its kind by Greg Laurie and his ministry.
Laurie is looking to take the Harvest Crusades, which are large-scale evangelistic outreaches primarily held at stadiums and arenas, to the next level.
He plans to draw on the success of last year's Harvest webcasts from Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles and Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., during which individuals watched from every state and 32 countries around the world.
The concept of Harvest America, which will be held Aug. 26 in Anaheim, includes the hope that churches and Christian leaders that host the event in their own cities can establish a direct relationship with those attending and those making decisions to commit to Jesus Christ.
"Now, with HD-quality video available through Internet streaming and satellite, people could fill churches, theaters, coffee houses, and living rooms, linking together as One Church in thousands of locations," Harvest organizers said.
Harvest America staff member Scot Camden, who along with others from the ministry are touring the U.S. to sign up hosts, says the response has been encouraging.
"It seems that everyone we talk to understands the need for spiritual awakening in our country and is able to catch the vision for this unique outreach event," he wrote in a recent blog post on the group's website.
The Harvest team recently visited Illinois and had meetings with churches, ministry associations, and radio stations.
"The Lord blessed our time there with fruitful meetings; each meeting was a positive one. We were able to get commitments from church leaders to either become a host location or to review the information we had provided and prayerfully consider involvement," Camden stated. "All three radio stations we met with were excited about Harvest America and we will be partnering with each of them to promote the outreach in the Greater Chicagoland region over the coming months."
The team was also able to connect with a local pastor who recalled the tremendous impact a Chicago Harvest made that was held in 2010.
"We saw hundreds and hundreds of people come to Christ. It was an amazing, amazing event and life-changing for a lot of people," said the Rev. Fred Joob, a senior associate pastor at Christian Life Church in Mount Prospect. "Now, this is the next step to reach the entire world for Christ. Greg has taken on a huge step of faith here."
Laurie, along with the encouragement of Calvary Chapel movement founder Pastor Chuck Smith, founded the Harvest Crusades ministry 22 years ago in Southern California's Orange County. Harvest events have since taken place every year and have included stops in other parts of the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
At two of the first Harvest America campaign meetings to enlist church leaders last month, Laurie met with more than 400 pastors and ministry leaders in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.
"We know the solution for America is not a political one. It is a spiritual one. We know we need an awakening – a revival," Laurie prayed at the beginning of the meeting in Anaheim. "We pray Lord that the revival, if you would be so gracious, start right here. There is some 300 churches represented (at the meeting), but in reality we are all part of the Church, your Church, the Church that you love, the Church that you gave your life for."