Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California has hailed 2017 as an "epic" year, saying 25,000 people have decided to follow Jesus Christ through his ministry during the time period.
"2017 was an epic year for Harvest Ministries. With all of the outreaches combined, we have seen 25,000 people make professions of faith to follow Christ. Glory to God!" Laurie wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
In a short video message, the megachurch pastor attributed the success to the ministry's various efforts, including the "New Beginning" radio broadcast, TV programs, online outreach, and the Steve McQueen movie and book that he had released earlier this year.
"The Bible says Heaven breaks out in applause over one sinner who comes to repentance; so that's a lot to rejoice about," Laurie stated, as he asked people to consider a year-end gift to Harvest so that the ministry can finish strongly financially and prepare for "great opportunities" in the coming year.
In August, over 10,000 people made the decision to dedicate their lives to Christ at the 29th annual SoCal Harvest revival crusade held at the Angel Stadium in Anaheim. About 92,000 people attended the three-day event, while another 47,000 people watched it online, according to The Christian Post.
Pastor Richard Garcia, Harvest's director of follow-up, noted that the figures are based on the number of decision cards sent to the ministry.
New believers at Harvest events are usually met with thousands of volunteers who pray with them and write down their information on cards that allow other volunteers to connect them with local churches and pastors.
"We count every card because everyone matters," Garcia told The Christian Post at the time. "We see, on average, 10 percent of the attendance every year here at Harvest. We had 92,000 people attend over the weekend. That is pretty typical and it was pretty awesome this weekend. We go into it with the expectation that we will mostly see 10 people make a profession of faith," he added.
Garcia noted that about 80 to 85 percent of people who submit the decision cards indicate that they were brought to the event by a friend.
At the end of each night, the volunteers sort the decision cards by region or country and when a person indicated that they already attend a church, the card is usually given to that particular church for a follow-up.
During the sorting process, representatives from dozens of follow-up churches are present to receive the decision cards earmarked for their churches. According to Garcia, at least 80 local Southern California churches have signed up to be Harvest "follow-up churches."
During the Harvest event in August, 10,071 decision cards were received, with 9,008 coming from those in attendance and 1,063 from online viewers.