Beliefnet News

Half a million people participated in Anaheim’s 22nd annual Harvest Crusade — 115,000 in person and 404,222 online, reports Eric Carpenter writing for the Orange County Register newspaper.

Hosted by 215 churches from Riverside to Irvine to Temecula, the event hosted by local pastor Greg Laurie drew people from 34 states and 11 countries. At the end of the three-day crusade, sponsors said 11,905 people at Angel Stadium had made decisions to put their faith in Christ.

Online, people from 50 states and 63 countries around the world watched the outreach, according to sponsors. Of those, 376 indicated a salvation decision.

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, reported Carpenter.

“What we’re seeing online is very heartening,”  John Collins, executive director of the Harvest Crusade. “With social media, the number of people watching on the Web is just blowing up.”

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