When was the last time you attended a huge “crusade?
I’ve been to a couple including one that attracted about 700,000 people in South Korea. They said it was 700,000 people but then again, I’m not really sure how you confirm that sort of attendance. While I’ve never attended a Billy Graham crusade (which I regret since he’s such an iconic figure), I once attended a Greg Laurie Harvest.
Speaking of Greg Laurie (a megachurch pastor and evangelist), he was in Seattle this past weekend for the “Seattle Harvest” whatchamagacallit in Key Arena – former home of the Seattle Sonics. From their recent press release:
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.
Someone recently asked me why I as a pastor and leader in the city of Seattle didn’t use my time and energy to help promote this event. I was asked why I didn’t use my church pulpit or “influential blog” to promote the event.
Do I have anything against Pastor Greg?
Absolutely not. Much respect for Pastor Greg Laurie.
Do I have anything against these large evangelistic crusades?
It’s not my personal favorite expression of Christianity but then again, I rest in knowing that God works and speaks in so many varied ways. I am thankful that these crusades are not the totality of the expression of God’s movement. Similarly, Quest is not the way to do church…it’s simply one response.
I chose not to participate because 1) I wasn’t asked and 2) If I was asked, I would have declined simply because of my limited time and bandwidth. But more relevantly, while I’m really pleased (and amazed) at the number of folks that came and the number of people that made “decisions,” I really don’t know of many people at Quest that would have resonated with this kind of event.
In fact, I’m curious if even a handful of folks attended. Anyone?
But the main reason…
…one of the main reasons why I wasn’t personally invested is because I really don’t know many friends or neighbors that are non-Christians that would have been at all attracted to the event. In fact, it may have been the complete opposite experience.
But it really is amazing to read reports of the number of people that made decisions. Hopefully, there are even more substantive stories of people living out their lives that reflect God’s beautiful story and mission of Redemption & Reconciliation.
I would be converted to be the #1 supporter of mega harvests if…
I hope and pray that Seattle may be filled with more justice, compassion, mercy, and humility as a result of the event. I pray that issues of trafficking, prostitution, homelessness, domestic violence, access to education, racism, and other social inequalities might be impacted as a result of the event.
These changes would certainly make me a dramatic convert of these mega harvests, crusades, and whatchamacallits.
The packed out Seattle Harvest and the continual growth of several megachurches in the area makes me wonder if I’m a little off about the “post-Christendom” world we live in.