Calling it an event “years in the making," California evangelist Greg Laurie drew thousands of people to hear the Gospel at his latest Harvest outreach in Boise, Idaho.
The crowd packed the two-night event held at ExtraMile Arena last Saturday and Sunday, with over 21,000 in attendance and more than 144,000 watching online.
Over 3,000 people responded when Laurie extended the invitation for them to come forward and commit their lives to Christ.
Initially slated for 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic, Boise Harvest involved over 100 local churches and the surrounding Treasure Valley area, partnering and planning for more than three years.
Speaking with The Christian Post, Laurie said some weren't even sure the Harvest event would ever come to Boise.
"This event was different because it had been postponed over two years. We were set and ready to go and COVID hit, and it just kept getting pushed off and pushed off, and perhaps some people in Idaho were not sure we would come at all," he said. "But we had made a commitment, and I saw the great commitment they had made, continuing to ask for it, pray for it, working together over 100 churches. So I thought we’ve got to go and do this.
“And it was without question one of the best crusades we’ve ever held in our 30-year history.”
Since 1990, Harvest Crusades have been held in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Roughly 6.5 million people have attended Laurie’s crusades in person, and an estimated 600,000 have made professions of faith in Christ through Harvest outreaches.
In 2012, the event was expanded as an annual nationwide simulcast event called Harvest America, broadcasting Harvest events into churches, theaters and living rooms across the country.
Harvest events are designed to be opportunities for Christians to invite family members, coworkers, friends and acquaintances to hear the life-changing message of the Gospel in an environment that is entertaining and non-threatening, according to the program's website.
In 2020, SoCal Harvest was canceled for the first time in over three decades due to the coronavirus pandemic. Harvest resumed in 2021 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, but only as a one-day event.
Laurie, the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship megachurch based in Riverside, compared the extended hiatus to the story of Elijah. God called the Old Testament prophet to “walk boldly into the court of King Ahab and speak as a mouthpiece for God. Then the Lord told Elijah to ... basically just wait."
"And sometimes, when God tells us to wait, it doesn’t make sense to us," Laurie added. "But the Scripture says He makes all things beautiful in His time."
When COVID hit in 2020, Laurie said it was time to pivot from in-person crusades to what he called a “cinematic crusade." Harvest took everything learned from the live event production and put it into something that could be watched on a phone or TV screen.
Laurie also launched "Harvest at Home," the online service which exploded from about 10,000 viewers to about 200,000 viewers as the pandemic raged on.
“It reminded me of Romans 8:28 — that God can cause all things to work together for good,” he said.
The Boise event featured performances from Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, Jordan Feliz, Andy Mineo and the Harvest Worship Band. Laurie presented two messages on what it takes to fulfill a soul and Christ's solution to the problems of fear and the unknown.
“So, what is the meaning of life?” Laurie asked. “It is to know there is a God in Heaven who loves you and has a plan for your life. Why are you here on this earth? To walk with God in a friendship, a relationship, with hope for this life and the afterlife.”
He also spoke directly to those in attendance who came as skeptics or even to debate Christians.
“No matter what sin you have committed, God will forgive you,” Laurie said. “Maybe you came here to mock Christians tonight. Maybe you went out of your way to argue with believers. I used to be like that too. I never planned on becoming a Christian when I did.”
Laurie shared his testimony of how he came to know Jesus and his life changed forever at the age of 17.
At the end of each night in Boise, Laurie invited attendees to make a public profession of faith as the Harvest Worship Band played.
Thousands rose from their seats and made their way toward the stage as they committed their lives to Christ. They were met by local pastors and volunteers, who were able to lead them in prayer and invite them to a local church community.
During the final invitation, Laurie says the floor was so full that follow-up counselors had to climb up to the third level of the venue to hand out more than 2,500 Bibles.
The success in Boise, Laurie says, has prompted him to seriously consider holding similar outreaches around the country.
"They were just responding to everything so beautifully, and it was just a warm, memorable experience," he told The Christian Post. "And I look forward to going back there again sometime in the future."