Local News

California Evangelist Draws Thousands to RBC Center

Posted June 22, 2007 11:55 p.m. EDT

— People came by the thousands, some lining up three hours early, just to see California Evangelist Greg Laurie at the RBC Center Friday night.

Laurie is hosting what he calls a Harvest crusade this weekend. About 250 local churches came together to invite him to the Triangle.

It took the churches 14 months of planning to get him, and most people who heard him speak Friday said it was worth the wait.

“He has always inspired me on the radio, so I had to come and see him,” said Alice Fenton, a Harvest attendee.

As many as 50,000 people are expected to hear Laurie speak over the weekend long crusade, which combines Christian rock and a message of faith.

“My mom has talked about Greg Laurie since I was a little kid,” said Christina Wood.

Guy Barrese said he’ll probably attend the Harvest all three days.

Some have compared Laurie to the Rev. Billy Graham. Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, said he has been a friend of the family for 18 years.

The Graham family has supported him from the beginning. And even though it was a little more than a week ago when Lotz lost her mother, she says that's all the more reason she had to come.

“I thought of how many people would be coming tonight,” Lotz said. “And they’re going to hear about Jesus tonight and put their faith in Jesus. So when that time comes for them to step into eternity, their loved ones will have the assurance that they’re in heaven and they’ll see them again. So, it’s very meaningful for me to be here one week later and be participating in an event like this.”

Friday was just day one of the Harvest crusade. Laurie will be back again Saturday and Sunday nights.

About two dozen off duty officers are helping with crowd and traffic control. Organizers said they expect to fill every seat at the RBC Center.