Going on 30 years, SoCal Harvest is one of the largest evangelical outreach events in the world. In normal times, it takes place for three days in August at Anaheim Angel Stadium, attracting tens of thousands of people.
This time around, like every other big gathering in the state, SoCal Harvest has become a victim of coronavirus safety restrictions.
But that does not mean Harvest Church, with locations nationwide, has gone quiet. “We are continuing to get the gospel out,” said John Collins, executive pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside.
Pastor Greg Laurie founded SoCal Harvest with the late Pastor Chuck Smith, longtime spiritual leader of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
Instead of in-person Harvest festivals, Laurie is leading what he calls a “Cinematic Crusade,” featuring music and sermons. Streaming Labor Day weekend, the movie is produced by Jon Erwin – who directed “I Still Believe,” starring Shania Twain and Gary Sinise.
“It will be great,” Collins said. “I think it will reach more people than we normally do in Anaheim.”
When stay-at-home orders shut down churches in March, Harvest was already positioned to seamlessly transition to all-virtual services, he said.
“We have become creative about using social media platforms,” Collins noted. “And we appear on television stations across the country.”
With church doors closed for now, Laurie has shared his Sunday sermons on an online program called Harvest at Home.
“We want to be responsible in protecting our members while at the same time offering opportunities for worship,” Collins said.
Whatever local health mandates may be, Collins said, “not a lot of people are comfortable going into large gatherings right now. When they are ready to come back, we will be here – wearing masks and socially distancing.”
Source: Orange County Register