By Josie Rabbit Bingham

DALLAS (BP) — “I’m not here to talk to you about religion,” pastor Greg Laurie told the crowd Sunday evening, June 10, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the Crossover Dallas Harvest America crusade.

“I’m here to talk to you about a relationship with God that you can experience,” he said. “Christ can fill that big hole that is in your heart right now. We all need Him. We all need a Savior. There’s so much stuff to distract us and emptiness to make us feel alone. Yet, Jesus, who created us, also gives us purpose. Jesus loves us all– no matter what we do or say or have done before — so much.”

In an era of divisiveness and lost hope, Laurie brought a message of unity in Christ and salvation to a crowd that preliminary counts put at 35,000 people. Laurie repeatedly pointed those in attendance back to the cross — back to Jesus.

By the end of the evening, Harvest America reported that 2,339 made salvation decisions at the event. The event was live streamed, and 100,000 people viewed online and 400 churches participated. There were 875 salvations reported from online viewers.

Leading up to the crusade, there were several door-to-door evangelism events, and Southern Baptists reported 1,015 salvations.

The crusade included musical guests Switchfoot, Crowder, Trip Lee, Phil Wickham and Chris Tomlin, who kicked off the event with a mix of new music and classic songs that supported the crusade’s straightforward, evangelistic message — the world needs Jesus.

“There is Someone who loves you and Someone who values you,” Laurie said. “He’s called Jesus Christ. He’ll give you a future worth living.”

In the wake of two high-profile suicides the previous week — designer Kate Spade and television personality Anthony Bourdain — Laurie’s message and the entire event aimed to send the hope of the Gospel to people in attendance at the stadium and those watching at simulcast locations around the world.

Sunday night’s crusade followed a week of evangelistic Crossover Dallas activities throughout the city. Participants from all over the area and the nation came into town early before the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting so they could take part in outreach activities.

Believers who brought friends to the event were encouraged by how clearly the Gospel was proclaimed.

“This was a great opportunity for people to hear, ‘God loves you,'” said attendee Brian Cole, minister of communications and worship at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Cedar Hill, Texas.

NAMB is already working with local Southern Baptist partners in Alabama to begin planning outreach efforts for next year as the Southern Baptist Convention meets in Birmingham, Ala.