Midtown: Community

Raleigh Memorial simulcast offered for evangelical speaker Greg Laurie

In 2007, more than 42,000 people from 220 local churches came to a three-day Harvest Crusade in the Triangle to hear nondenominational evangelical speaker Greg Laurie.

This Sunday, Laurie won’t be here, but people around the country and world will be listening as the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California speaks from Angel Stadium in California. Some will watch it on their computer at their kitchen table, others will listen on a car radio, and many will attend group events to watch on video screens.

While Harvest has been holding an annual crusade for 22 years, this is the first outreach of this scale, with more than 1,700 sites already registered, far exceeding the goal of 500.

“We are about to go into a contentious presidential election,” said Steve Nobel, regional ambassador for Harvest Ministries. “For us as Christians, events like this help plant a big flag for the gospel and remind people that while politics is important, the gospel is preeminent.”

Nobel has organized a free local gathering for Harvest America at 6 p.m. at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. Before Laurie speaks at 8 p.m., Matt Papa Band, a local contemporary Christian band, will play.

Laurie’s daily radio show, “A New Beginning,” airs on more than 500 radio stations.

“Greg Laurie has an amazing ability to connect with people. When he communicates the gospel, people respond,” Nobel said.

At the end of the message, Laurie will encourage those watching remotely and at the stadium to publicly profess their faith for the first time or renew their faith.

When people make a profession at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, counselors will pray with them and help guide them on their new journey, Nobel said. Each person will be given a Bible and a book geared to new believers. Volunteers will also follow up to help each person find a church community and give them spiritual guidance.

Those not able to make it to a group simulcast can watch the event from their own home via the Internet, satellite TV or radio. Nobel encourages people to invite a neighbor over for dinner and watch Laurie together.

“To people that are skeptical about church, I tell them that they are going to be walking into a welcoming place and hearing an encouraging message,” Nobel said. “If someone already has a vibrant relationship with the Lord, I encourage them to bring a friend or family member who doesn’t know God. This is an easy way to reach out to people.”

For more information or to stream the event over the Internet, visit www.harvestamerica.com.

Concert in the park

Richland Creek Community Church is holding its second annual Community Concert in the Park from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, at Joyner Park, 701 Harris Road, Wake Forest. Bring a chair or blanket and listen to Chad Lister Band and the Richland Creek worship ministry. The concert is free, and refreshments will be provided. For more information, call 919-556-9292 or visit www.richlandcreek.com.

Great Day of Service

The community is invited to participate in Edenton United Methodist Church’s fourth annual Great Day of Service beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at the church, 228 West Edenton St., Raleigh. After eating breakfast and worshipping together at the church, volunteers will head into the community for a variety of service projects, such as sorting clothes, assembling meals, writing letters to troops overseas and housecleaning for charitable organizations.

Most projects last three hours with opportunities available for all ages and abilities. Organizations participating in the outreach include Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, Raleigh Rescue Mission, Interact and The Green Chair Project. Child care is available for children 3 and younger; the registration deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 4, for babysitting. To participate, register for a project online at www.esumc.org.

North Hills 5K

Runners and walkers from the Triangle will be raising money for the North Raleigh Ministries Backpack Buddies program at the North Hills 5K Race, at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at Trinity Baptist Church, 4815 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. Backpack Buddies provides nutritious food for children in North Raleigh to eat during weekends and school breaks. Fees are $25 for the 5K, $15 for the 1-mile run, $10 for the Senior Stroll and $5 for the Kids’ Dash. For more information or to register, visit www.northhills5k.com.

Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at nrnews@newsobserver.com.