History of Harvest
A "Lost Boy" Finds His Way:When Greg Laurie attended local baseball games as a kid in Southern California, he had no idea he would later preach to the masses from second base at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Through God's intervention, Laurie overcame a troubled childhood and drug-laced adolescence to become a passionate evangelist and preacher, founding Harvest Christian Fellowship® in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in the U.S.
"Jesus People" and Beyond:At age 17, Laurie became a Christian and gave up drugs and alcohol, joining the Jesus People—hippies who rejected substance abuse for a relationship with Christ. He matured in his faith and eventually became the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., and was eager to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to Southern Californians in a non-traditional way. In 1990, with little more than personal experience, deep conviction, and great vision, the Harvest Crusades® were born as Laurie, along with Chuck Smith, pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, developed a simple strategy for presenting Christ's gospel message in a contemporary format. A plan evolved for a casual evening of hip music, authentic worship, and a clear presentation of a biblical message.
Reaching a New Generation:At a time when many in the U.S. were questioning the effectiveness and the future of modern crusade evangelism, Laurie and Smith believed that large-scale evangelistic outreach had great potential for a new generation. The format would be contemporary and would appeal particularly to youth.
"I strongly believe that we've got to communicate the gospel so that it can be understood by secular-minded people," writes Laurie in his autobiography Lost Boy. "Otherwise we just end up talking to ourselves."
Remarkably, more than 90,000 people attended what was the first Harvest Crusade in 1990, featuring Greg Laurie as the evangelist.
Taking God's Story to the World:Since 1990, crowds totaling more than 4.7 million people have attended Harvest events across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Events scheduled for 2013 include the 24th annual Southern California Harvest at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California (August 23–25), and the Philadelphia Harvest at the Wells Fargo Center (September 28–29).
The Philadelphia Harvest will be simulcast to thousands of locations for a coast-to-coast evangelistic outreach called Harvest America. The inaugural Harvest America program was simulcast from Angel Stadium in 2012 and drew some 367,849 participants, making it one of the largest evangelistic outreaches in U.S. history.
Technology—Harnessing the Power of Story:Beginning with its first live crusade webcast in 1997, Harvest has pioneered the use of innovative technology to share its message of faith and hope with the world. Since that time, more than 1.4 million people have participated in live Harvest Crusade events via the Internet.
In 2013, all Harvest events will be broadcast live on the Internet at www.harvest.org, with live interactive content also available to iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android users. In addition, Harvest will provide video podcasts and blog accounts of each of Greg Laurie's messages, available at http://blog.greglaurie.com. "Behind the scenes" updates from Greg Laurie leading up to each Harvest event will be available on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greglaurie and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/harvest.greglaurie.
Beyond the Crusade:Besides conducting evangelistic outreaches, Harvest Christian Fellowship produces A New Beginning, an international radio program with messages by Greg Laurie. In addition, Harvest produces a weekly 30 minute television program called GregLaurie.tv, which is available at GregLaurie.tv (www.GregLaurie.tv) and can be viewed via the Harvest app for iPhone, iPad, or Android. The program also airs weekly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, The Church Channel, and American Forces Network TV.
Media ContactLaura Swickard McGowan
Phone: (847) 328-8009
Cell: (847) 347-5206