USA (LPA/MNN) — On a Father’s Day Weekend when meteorologists were telling people to stay inside, more than 75,000 central Californians packed three events at a historic Luis Palau Festival in Sacramento.
Temperatures were well over 100 degrees on the grounds of Cal Expo Saturday and Sunday, where Palau’s free evangelistic outreach was staged. Major Christian artists TobyMac, Skillet, Mandisa, Phil Wickham, and Lincoln Brewster performed; the Amazing Wonders Family Experience and play area drew thousands of kids and families; and Action Sports demos showcased some of America’s top extreme athletes.
“We were ecstatic with the response from the Sacramento Valley and beyond,” says world evangelist and author Luis Palau. “We’ve prayed for an opportunity to come to the state capitol for decades and we were richly blessed.”
According to Levi Park with the Luis Palau Association, “Luis shared with everyone about God being your Father because it was Father’s Day, and I think young people resonated with that message just due to our society today.”
The celebration also represented the culmination of a six-month initiative called The Season of Service (SOS), which brought together the faith community in acts of service.
“You have the church community, you have public entities, you have non profits…all coming together,” says Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson of the initiative. “The ministry that happens within the walls of our churches is great, but what happens beyond the walls of the church is where the real ministry takes place.”
Unity was a recurring theme as churches across denominations and cultures worked together to promote the festival and meet some of the city’s critical needs. Hispanic, Russian, Chinese and other ethnic congregations joined in sharing the love of Jesus across the culturally diverse region. Palau’s son Andrew, himself an international evangelist, teamed with Prison Fellowship and extreme sports athletes to extend the outreach to inmates at Folsom and Solano prisons.
Throughout the festival week, Luis Palau shared the Gospel message in a variety of settings, including luncheons for business and civic leaders, a luncheon for women, and an appearance at the Capitol to address state leadership. His messages tied the Gospel to the challenges of contemporary culture, including the fragility of life and the important role of fathers.
Over 3,500 people committed their lives to follow Christ at the Sacramento Festival. Park says they’re now working on follow-up with those people. “We have pastors gathering all over the city to make sure that every one of those 3500+ people who came to Christ are connected to a church and are followed up on…and are connected into a body of believers. And we have some call teams continuing in an 8-week process of just following up with the new believers and making sure that they are connected and they are growing spiritually.”
Palau says, “So many of today’s young people are leading fatherless lives. We wanted them to know that there is love and hope through their heavenly Father.”