Harvest Extends Local Outreach to Global Audience

Harvest Ministries announced plans to continue the global reach that contributed to its huge success at last summer's Anaheim crusade. The regional evangelistic crusades are becoming global events through new technologies to spread the culturally relevant gospel messages worldwide.

For the 17th straight year, Harvest will draw tens of thousands of people on Aug. 11-13 both in Southern California to Anaheim's Angel stadium and online through live podcasts and webcasts.

"Harvest is adapting new technologies to spread the gospel to a worldwide audience," said Harvest Crusade founder and evangelist Greg Laurie, according to the ministry. "In essence, these are becoming global crusades. The events are local, but through technology, the message is going global."

Last year, a total of 100,000 people made their way to the stadium where Laurie and top Christian music artists presented the gospel in word and music. Plus, more than 50,000 people fro m 61 countries tuned into the crusade via Internet and podcasts, averaging two million hits per night. Over 8,000 people made professions of faith over the three-night crusade.

"It's fantastic to think how many people all over the world can now hear the gospel message of hope in Christ through local Harvest Crusade events. It's literally as easy as downloading a podcast onto your MP3 player," said Laurie.

Technology has picked up speed among churches and Christian ministries that have kept in step with the increasing blend of the Web and outreach. New forms of technology including the MegaVoice MP3-style audio player have catered to what many call a tech-savvy generation.

"The ability to get the podcast regularly onto my iPod to listen to on the road or at times of leisure is truly a gift fro m the Lord," said one man fro m Washington, according to Harvest.

The upcoming Anaheim Stadium event will feature Newsboys, David Crowder Band, MercyMe, Kutless and Crystal Lewis. While the music has kept thousands standing within the stadium and streaming online, many attendants have commented on the simple and direct message fro m Laurie that spoke to their hearts in whatever format received.

For the first time this year, Harvest is making a template available on the Internet for SWAT (Students with a Testimony) Team teens who share the gospel message with people on the streets at each crusade post their testimonies.

The first 2006 Harvest Crusade saw 21,000 people in attendance and over 2,000 decisions for Christ in Christchurch, New Zealand. Following the Anaheim event, Harvest Ministries will hold their last crusade of the year in San Jose on Oct. 13-15.