A little under two weeks ago, Pastor Greg Laurie and Harvest America hosted Harvest America, a one-night event, with the intent on proclaiming the message of the Gospel of Jesus to the nations. In its twenty-sixth year, Harvest America Crusades have reportedly seen more than 476,100 people come to Jesus. They’ve also managed to reach more than 5.6 million people through Harvest events.
Their latest event alone saw more than 25,000 people make decisions to follow Jesus. AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX was full of 82,000 people and more than 180,000 tuned in via simulcast in 123 countries. Participants heard from musicians like Switchfoot, Lecrae and Chris Tomlin, and then Pastor Greg Laurie took the stage to share the Gospel.
The numbers are impressive, to be sure. However, what is more impressive is how Laurie and his staff stay the course with the message they know Jesus has given them to preach. And how dedicated they are to making sure that all have a chance to hear the Gospel and know the Lord. As we look at how God continues to use Harvest America, there are three key things we can learn from Greg Laurie and his team.
Stay On Mission
It’s probably one of the buzziest statements in the church today, but it is sound advice. Harvest America operates out of one mission: to make the Gospel known to all nations & help believers mature in their faith. Everything they do revolves around this.
As leaders, we need to look at what God has called us to do and where we are in comparison. Do we have mission drift? What do we know Jesus is requiring of us versus what is popular or trendy? Faithful obedience to the call of God is necessary, no matter if we are planters, waterers or reapers of the harvest.
Follow-up Is Necessary
Knowing that more than 25,000 people came to Jesus is amazing. And there is a reason to celebrate! However, what happens when the euphoria of the crusade goes away, and someone is left to face and grapple with the decision they’ve made? That is where follow-up comes in. Harvest America makes sure that people have a way to follow up on the decision they made for Jesus. In Arlington and simulcast locations there were follow-up teams set in place to help connect new believers to churches.
Is this true for our churches? Do we have ways to plug in new believers to the church? Are we making new Christians a part of the vibrant fabric that is the body of Jesus or are they getting lost in the shuffle? We won’t be able to catch everyone, but it is our responsibility to shepherd and raise up new Christians as best we can, especially in the early months of their faith.
The Simplicity of the Gospel Still Resonates
Harvest America hones in on one simple truth: Jesus Christ died to save you & reconcile you back to God. Come to Him for repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. They present the Gospel in simplicity; meeting people right where they are. If you watch any of Laurie’s sermons, you’ll see that they are full of illustration, but all pointing back to this ultimate truth.
It’s tempting and often easy to get wrapped up in the next big trend in ministry. Or to try to reinvent our worship services or sermons to attract people to the gospel. But what is true for Harvest America is true for our churches and has been true for thousands of years: people are in desperate need of Jesus. When He launched His earthly ministry, some of his first words were, “Repent and believe the Gospel.”
Often we lose sight of the beautiful simplicity and relevance of this truth. Harvest America may have the entertainment and some of the hype, but when it comes time for the message, its delivery is simple and to the point. As leaders in our churches, can we honestly say the same thing? Or is it time to take a look at where we are and maybe cut some of the extraneous trappings that we attach to the Gospel?
To be sure, Harvest America isn’t the only one who does these three principles well. But as brothers and sisters in the Lord, we can rejoice in the work Jesus is doing in the lives of people around the world through them. And we can learn from them.
We’re not all called to be Harvest America. However, we are all called to be the body of Christ, boldly proclaiming the Gospel where we are sent and to glorify the name of Jesus until He returns.