Four years ago, the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association (LPEA) scrapped its traditional evangelistic crusades in favor of citywide festivals (CT, Jan. 8, 2001, p. 24). More than 800,000 have attended the 10 family-oriented events in cities such as Syracuse, Boise, and Seattle.
In March, LPEA will refine its festival model for a different audience: college students on spring break. And, in a new twist, 1,000 churches across the country will link to the beach party via satellite.
"When churches invited us to Fort Lauderdale, they said the city needed us," evangelist Luis Palau, 68, told Christianity Today. "But we knew it could be a national outreach also. You often see some nasty spring break reports. Now, while people are watching television out of prurient interest, here we come nationally with the news of Jesus Christ."
More than 700 Florida churches are sponsoring lpea's March 22-23 Fort Lauderdale Beachfest. Bob Coy, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, said Florida churches like the "user-friendly" focus.
The LPEA will create miniature versions of its Florida spring break event in major U.S. markets. On March 22, the Church Communication Network (CCN), which provides satellite programming for churches, will beam a live two-hour feed from Beachfest nationally. The broadcast will be the center of at least 20 mini-festivals in larger markets. These will include Syracuse, New York, and spring break hot spots such as Panama Beach in Florida's Panhandle.
LPEA staff members have organized these "mega-parties" as small festivals for youth. They will have bands, speakers, and adventure sports, designed to complement the live feed. In Seattle, more than 30 youth groups will host the event in a local sports arena.
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