WASHINGTON In less than two weeks, tens of thousands of people will see the National Mall in Washington, D.C., converted into a platform for the Gospel as part of the largest and most comprehensive campaigns ever assembled by the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association.
For the first time ever, evangelist Luis Palau will be bringing an evangelistic festival that over 4.5 million people around the world have already experienced to the nation's capital, Oct. 8-9.
"We want to just elevate the God-consciousness of the area," said DC Festival Director Andrew Palau, one of Luis Palau's three sons, in a phone interview with the Christian Post. "We want to make Jesus famous."
According to the younger Palau, preparations for the large-scale outreach event are "going great" as DC Festival staff and participating churches busily engage themselves to bring thousands to Christ. Since his arrival to the capital two years ago, hundreds of churches have jumped on board to take part in a festival that is to spread the gospel across some 14 city blocks.
"We come at the invitation of the churches," said Palau.
What began as an invitation by 200 churches in the Tri-State area has now become the joint effort of nearly 900 churches over the last two years.
While the festival serves to set the city ablaze with the Holy Spirit and capture the hearts of the people with Christ, Palau highlighted the work of the churches as key to the growth of the new believers.
The festival is a "catalytic tool that allows us to capture the believers' attention to go deeper," commented Palau on the mobilizing work of the DC Festival and the church communities.
It is the network of the believers and churches that must continue to hold strongly for discipleship.
"It's so much more than just those two days," he added.
Wanting to maximize the evangelistic work of the festival, Palau explained the festival team will be remaining in the city for another six months after the event to keep the fire burning among the churches and new believers.
"A lot of important work happens after the festival," he said. "The critical part is following up new believers and believers."
Rather than a quick come and go event, the DC Festival has invested years of preparations and network building and will continue serving for months more.
"[We're] looking to long term," said Palau.
"We want to feed that fire and ensure that those sparks and flames don't go out unnecessarily," he continued. "You have to watch what the Holy Spirit is doing and invest in those areas."
As the festival staff continues months of counselor training, leader conferences and such, Palau commented how the Holy Spirit has already come upon them even before the festival's opening.
"We've already had 800 decisions for Christ in the process," he said. "The spirit is moving even as we're preparing.
"People are just really hungry spiritually hungry and responsive."
Noting the spiritual hunger in the city and the potential of the network communities, Palau said he wants to "mobilize God's people, expressing the powerful reality of the unity of the bond of Christ that is among us as believers in Christ."