RIVERSIDE, Calif., November 8, 2010—Seattle is the most technologically wired city in America, and although its residents are “connected,” many of them are not connected to God. But a hunger to know God clearly exists, as was demonstrated this past weekend, November 5 – 7, when more than 39,000 people packed out Key Arena to listen to the message of hope offered by Southern California pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie during the Greg Laurie: Seattle Harvest.
In addition to the 39,000 in attendance at Key Arena, some 160,000 more connections were made on the internet by people watching the Seattle Harvest live online. Throughout the weekend, 4,225 people made decisions to put their faith in Christ, either in-person or online.
Nearly a year in the making, the Seattle Harvest was hosted by more than 300 area churches—from the Kitsap Peninsula to North Bend, and from Olympia to Lake Stevens—and united congregations across denominational lines in a fresh new way. Praying for the outreach on Saturday night, Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church said, “This used to be the least-churched city in America, but it’s not anymore. People are meeting Jesus, and more are going to meet him tonight.”
Key Arena filled to overflowing two of the three nights of the Seattle Harvest, with standing room-only crowds in attendance to listen to music from popular Christian musicians like Jeremy Camp, Kutless, MercyMe, and Jars of Clay. In addition, Washington Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar was on-hand on Friday evening to share his inspiring personal story of faith.
The music and Coach Romar’s story served as a preface for the message presented by Greg Laurie each night as he addressed matters of eternity, faith, and the hope we all have in Christ. The crowd gathered went silent as Laurie challenged, “What do you live for? Everyone lives for something. Is it pleasure? Is it knowledge? Seattle has the highest percentage of college graduates than any other city in the U.S. This is noble, but if you leave God out of the equation, it’s empty.”
Similar to other Harvest Crusade events this year, the Sunday evening program was designated “An Evening of Hope,” where Laurie addressed issues of sorrow and the hope we have in Christ in the midst of crisis. Laurie, who lost his son, Christopher, in an automobile accident in 2008, teamed up with Nick Vujicic—a man born with no arms and no legs, who founded the organization Life Without Limbs—to offer encouragement to people who are suffering loss of any kind.
When Laurie asked him how he finds joy, despite having no limbs, Nick Vujicic responded, “It’s not about the outside, it’s about being complete on the inside. I had no idea that God would use a man with no arms and no legs to be His hands and feet.”
Laurie encouraged people looking for comfort in the face of loss, “From the moment you were born, you’ve been on a quest; you’ve been searching. God has placed eternity in your heart, and what you are longing for is something this world cannot deliver. You are homesick for a place called heaven, and Jesus tells you how to get there. You can have certainty that you’re going to heaven if you put your faith in Christ.”
Apart from the crowds gathered at Key Arena, people from 15 countries around the world watched the Seattle Harvest live, with 162,768 connections made to the live Harvest HD webcast. In addition, 1,588 webcast viewers filled out online cards indicating that they prayed with Laurie to make a commitment of faith. Each evening of the Harvest Crusade is archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org.
Video podcasts and blog accounts of each message were also made available at http://blog.greglaurie.com/, as well as “behind the scenes” updates from Greg Laurie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greglaurie and on Facebook.
Greg Laurie, who founded the evangelistic Harvest Crusade events in 1990, also serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in the U.S.
During the past 21 years, the Harvest Crusades have drawn some 4.1 million people to events in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Laurie also serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.