Luis Palau begins an eight-week Chicago campaign April 4, the largest U.S. effort ever undertaken by the 61-year-old Argentine-born evangelist. The $2.2 million crusade is the first major evangelistic outreach in the Windy City since Billy Graham's last event a quarter-century ago.

More than 1,500 churches are participating, one-third of which have predominantly minority membership. Nearly 15,000 people have attended evangelism training courses to counsel non-Christians who make a profession of faith. The Luis Palau Evangelistic Association (LPEA) is hoping for a total attendance of 500,000.

"The main chore in large cities is persuading church leaders that crusade evangelism is worth the effort," Palau told CT. "Now comes the harvest time."

Rather than an emphasis on nightly rallies at one location, the LPEA has established nine regional sites for events at various times. Six of the venues are in the Chicago suburbs. Women, men, youth, and various ethnic groups will hear Palau in breakfast and lunch gatherings. Other evangelists will be conducting affinity meetings, including Tony Evans, Ron Hutchcraft, Rabi Maharaj, and E. V. Hill.

Reconciliation will be a theme of the assemblies. "My dream is that there will be a complete breakdown of the walls," Palau told CT. "We have many people of different cultures on the committee who are equal decision-makers, not just tokens."

Palau will preach at 26 night meetings in locales from Waukegan in the far northern suburbs to Aurora in the southwest. Seventeen of his night meetings, including five in Spanish, will be at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The crusade will conclude on Memorial Day with a service in Grant Park on Chicago's lakefront.

In addition, the crusade meetings will ...

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