Thousands of Jesus followers and hundreds of churches throughout West Michigan came together for a yearlong, region-wide outreach campaign that culminated over the weekend with a two-day evangelistic festival in downtown Grand Rapids.
On the first day of CityFest West Michigan, more than 15,000 people showed up to kick off the weekend festivities. On the second and final day, more than 18,000 people packed Ah-Nab-Awen Park while more than 78,000 people viewed the festival online via Facebook Live and a LiveStream on Palau.org.
“We're still waiting on decision numbers, but we're rejoicing over a great evening,” the Luis Palau Association reported.
Hosted by 435 churches, businesses, and nonprofits, the City Fest campaign with Luis & Andrew Palau focused on serving the region and proclaiming a powerful message of hope in Jesus through multiple evangelistic gatherings, revival meetings, training events, and community service initiatives.
“We want the city to know what we're for, not what we're against,” shared evangelist Luis Palau in a press release. “We are for the brokenhearted. We are for the depressed. We are for the orphan and widow. We are for the lost, the grieving, and the hurting. But more than that, God is for them. Jesus died for them. And there is nothing more important or life-changing that we can share with them than the Good News of Jesus Christ – that He loves you, died for you, rose again for you, and wants a relationship with you.
“That is what we want to communicate through CityFest,” added Palau, who was able to join his son, Andrew, for the festival – his first speaking appearance at a Palau festival since being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in January, and his first time out of his home state of Oregon since the diagnosis.
Included in the campaign were multiple outreaches and gatherings throughout “festival week.” Events included prison outreaches, an evangelistic luncheon for business and civic leaders, a gathering of more than 1,100 women, as well as a Latino Festival on Friday night. All this led up to the two-day festival at Ah-Nab-Awen Park September 8-9 that featured award-winning artists TobyMac, Lecrae, and Mandisa, and other popular performers. The festival also hosted an interactive family fun zone filled with inflatables, games, crafts, sports challenges, stunt demos from professional skaters and BMX and freestyle motocross riders, and multiple presentations of the Gospel.
Many notable Michigan leaders put their names and energy behind CityFest, including Minnesota Vikings quarterback and Michigan native Kirk Cousins, and Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway, owner of the Orlando Magic, and longtime friend of Luis Palau who recently passed away.
Grand Rapids mayor Rosalynn Bliss also threw in her support for the festival and surrounding service effort, recognizing the great good it brought to the region. “We are extremely excited to have CityFest right here in our city,” she shared in a recent video.
To date, the Palau Association has worked with thousands of churches and helped launch successful, ongoing city Gospel movements in hundreds of cities throughout the United States and around the world, accelerating the existing work of the church community involved.
The association’s long-term goal is to help facilitate a sustained Gospel movement led by local churches and cultural leaders with a vision to continue in unity and to see their cities transformed through the powerful message of Jesus Christ.
By NRB Staff
Published: September 13, 2018