(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
Popular megachurch pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Texas is preparing for a major "Night of Hope" event in Miami, which organizers say will be streamed live and reach hundreds of thousands of people, offering a highly interactive social media experience.
"We're excited to be working with Joel Osteen Ministries for the fourth consecutive year on this very important event," said Brian Boyd, chief executive officer of Media Connect Partners (MCP), which is working alongside Joel Osteen Ministries for the April 20th event at the 37,000-seat Marlins Park in Miami.
"It is, truly, a 360-degree interactive event connecting the online audience with the Osteens and the crowd in the stadium. You're there no matter where you are."
Osteen, who ministers to over 40,000 every week at Lakewood Church, has brought "Night of Hope" to cities coast to coast around America, and is hoping the praise and worship events will continue to get bigger and continue reaching people. Earlier this week, Trinity Broadcasting Network, one of the largest Christian networks in the world, said that it will again partner with Osteen's ministry to broadcast the Miami Event.
"The stadium celebration will bring together people of different backgrounds for an inspirational night of praise and worship. Hope is restored and lives are changed with Joel and Victoria's powerful message of God's love for each of us," a description for the event states.
MCP is going to be using a number of social media tools, such as integrated streaming video, chat, Facebook and Twitter to engage viewers watching live from around the country, who will be able to directly interact with the preacher and the people at the stadium. Twenty-five LED screens throughout the stadium will help include as many people as possible in "America's Night of Hope."
"The format we've created with MCP allows online viewers to become active participants," explained Andrea Davis, senior director of Media Relations and Social Media at Joel Osteen Ministries.
"This year, we're offering a deeper and richer experience for those inside the stadium using their mobile devices and for the much larger audience that cannot attend in person. It allows us to bring God's message of love and hope to entirely new audiences."
Buzz for the big event is growing, and Miami knows it has big shoes to fill with "Night of Hope" being a great success in other major cities in the past, such as Yankee Stadium in New York, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, and Nationals Park in Washington D.C. last year.
"More than ever before, people are looking for hope in their lives," Osteen has said about the upcoming event. "I like to tell them that 'God's dream for your life is bigger than your own.' That is what the 'Night of Hope' in Miami is all about: inspiring people to expect God's best for them."