Evangelist Luis Palau drew more than 55,000 people this past weekend during his two-day CityFest that capped off a massive Christian community service campaign.
The crowd gathered at the North Shore Riverwalk to celebrate the success of the Season of Service in Central Arkansas. The Season of Service is a new component of Palau festivals that calls on local Christians to serve their community in the months preceding the actual evangelistic festival.
For the Central Arkansas festival, the Season of Service campaign began in July and included service projects that addressed homelessness, hunger, health and wellness, education, literacy, neighborhood revitalization, and families in need.
By this past weekend, more than 4,500 volunteers had served at more than 175 projects, according to the Luis Palau Association.
During the festival, Palau's messages focused on the needs of young people and challenges facing families. His messages touched on the topics of fatherless children, financial challenges and sexual temptation.
After his messages, Palau extended an invitation to attendees to begin their life in Christ.
Besides evangelistic messages, the festival also featured Christian music performances, action sports and family fun activities. Some of the top names in contemporary Christian music, including TobyMac, Kirk Franklin, Newsboys, and country singer Craig Morgan, performed. Meanwhile, the Livin It action sports demos featured the Outcast BMX team, the Untitled Skateboard team, and extreme athletes from United freestyle motocross team.
The festival also featured a "Homeless Outreach Event" project in cooperation with the Arkansas Homeless Coalition. The project served an estimated 600 people with services including housing and legal assistance, haircuts, free clothing, hot meals, and medical care such as flu shots.
"It was so great to see so many people come together in our community for CityFest," said festival attendee Adam Jordan, according to the Luis Palau Association. "From the churches and businesses that partnered together to make it happen, to politicians from both parties sharing the stage, to seeing kids play in the Family Fun Zone. It was awesome to witness and be a part of."
The next Palau festivals will be in Kingston, Jamaica (March 20, 2010); Yakima, Wash. (July 17-18, 2010); Kampala, Uganda (Sept. 24-25, 2010); and Santiago, Chile (Oct. 29-30, 2010).