Pastor Greg Laurie's Harvest Ministries recently celebrated 40 years of ministry with a weekend celebration, looking back at what the Lord has done and looking to the future.
"I am not a big one for looking back and certainly not one for living in the past. However, to think back on what God has done is just overwhelming," shared Laurie on Tuesday.
Through God's intervention, Laurie overcame a troubled childhood and drug-laced adolescence. At age 17, Laurie became a Christian and joined the Jesus People – hippies who rejected substance abuse for a relationship with Christ. After maturing in his faith, Laurie eventually became the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA, 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.
Since then, crowds totaling more than 4.7 million people have attended Harvest events across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Hundreds of thousands more have participated in live Harvest Crusade events via the Internet since Harvest launched its first live crusade webcast in 1997 to share its message of faith and hope.
Last year, more than 450,000 people participated in Harvest Crusade events, making it one of the largest evangelistic outreaches in U.S. history.
Besides conducting evangelistic outreaches, Harvest Ministries produces A New Beginning, a nationally-syndicated radio program with messages by Laurie. In addition, television specials featuring past Harvest Crusade events air internationally on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. In 2006, Harvest: Greg Laurie was honored with NRB's Media Award for Best Television Teaching Program.
"As I have reflected on what God has done these past 40 years, I would have to say, next to the name 'Jesus,' the word that comes to mind that sums up what we have done is ‘faith,’" reflected Laurie. "From our very beginning, we have taken bold steps of faith. Faith is belief plus action. Faith sees what could be. And faith has no back door.“
"God has honored that faith that comes from hearing His Word and we give Him all the glory," Laurie concluded.
In addition to speaking and assisting other ministries, Laurie has authored over 70 books including Signs of the Times, As I See It, Hope for Hurting Hearts, Married.Happily., Essentials, What Every Christian Needs to Know, Upside Down Living, and The Greatest Stories Ever Told.
His church, meanwhile, has grown from a Bible study group of 30 people to a congregation of some 15,000 people. Today, Harvest Christian Fellowship is one of the largest churches in America, and consistently ranks among the most influential churches in the country.
Published: March 21, 2013