Online Attendance Soars at Greg Laurie's Anaheim Harvest Crusade

08/16/2011 21:46

UCN: Organizers report that 115,000 people attended Angel Stadium event over three days, 404,000 watch online.

Attendance at the Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium dipped slightly for the second straight year, event organizers said Monday.

But they say the small dip in in-person attendance was insignificant compared to the dramatic rise in people who watched live online. (Those numbers were released later in the day.)

Some 115,000 people attended the free crusade, over three nights that ended Sunday, with live Christian music, a sermon by Pastor Greg Laurie and an on-stage interview with World War II prisoner of war Louis Zamperini.

In 2010, attendance was 118,000; the year before, 126,000. The highest attendance was in 2001, with 156,000 over five days during a long Independence Day weekend.

Although the event is free, event organizers carefully count the number of people who pass through the turnstiles, escorting staff and media through side gates to ensure an accurate count.

This year, some 404,000 people - locally and from around the world - watched the Crusade online via harvest.org. That's compared to the 130,000 who watched online last year, said John Collins, executive director of the Harvest Crusade.

"What we're seeing online is very heartening," Collins said. "With social media, the number of people watching on the Web is just blowing up."

At the end of each night, Laurie invites people down to the stadium's field to recite "The Sinner's Prayer" and make a profession of faith that they will follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Some 11,905 people who attended made a profession of faith this year, organizers said. Another 376 who watched the Crusade online made a similar commitment.

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