Europeans to participate electronically in crusade.

Evangelist Billy Graham is used to large crowds—like the 70,000 who overflowed Moscow’s Olympic Stadium last year. So his traveling team may feel a bit cramped when they set up shop in a comparatively modest 7,000-seat auditorium for his Pro-Christ crusade in Essen, Germany, later this month.

Unlike North American Christians, Graham’s German hosts prefer the smaller, though not exactly intimate, setting. Ulrich Parzany, chair of the national executive board of Pro-Christ and national general secretary of the German YMCA, confesses that Germans have a bias against large events: “Even within the church,” he told CHRISTIANITY TODAY in an interview, “the Christian pastors do not like mass rallies.”

The solution was to adapt the “live-link” technique the Billy Graham team pioneered in Great Britain in 1989. Television equipment set up in Essen’s Great Hall will link that live evangelistic crusade with 386 remote sites to which German-speaking Christians can bring their friends.

Parzany believes the combination of a central meeting with the live-link system happily weds two goals: The relative intimacy of neighborhood gatherings with the prominence of a national media event. “We feel it is even easier to get unchurched people to neighborhood meetings than to carry them three hours by car to a big stadium. This system gives the opportunity to plan many local events close to the local church and make it a catalyst of personal evangelism within the neighborhood. There has not been an event like this before in Germany. But the individual will not experience a huge mass rally, where he may get lost.”

Originally, German church leadership sought to solve the problem by proposing that Graham ...

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