(CP) Over 4,500 people were baptised on a Southern California beach during an outreach event overseen by Pastor Greg Laurie and Harvest Christian Fellowship in what the evangelist believes could be one of the largest mass baptisms ever.
Known as the Jesus Revolution Pirate's Cove Beach Baptism, the event took place at Pirate's Cove Beach Saturday and drew an estimated 20,000 attendees. Of the thousands baptized, one of them was Laurie's granddaughter, Stella.
In comments emailed to The Christian Post, Laurie attributed the large number of baptisms to "a number of things," among them the success of the recently released film "Jesus Revolution."
"I would say the Jesus Revolution movie really impacted people and so many have come to Christ after seeing it," Laurie said. "They were so moved by the baptism scenes in the film and wanted to take the same step in life. It was life imitating art, and that art was based on my real life story and the story of many others as well."
Laurie also attributed the turnout to the SoCal Harvest at the Honda Center the weekend before, where over 3,000 people made a profession of faith to follow Christ.
"We invited them all to this baptism," Laurie said.
Laurie considers the mass baptism event "a powerful work of the Holy Spirit," referencing the large baptism events at Pirate's Cove in the 1970s.
"I was there and I was baptized myself at one of them," he said. "But this is different. First, it is much larger than anything we ever did. The line of people to be baptized was half a mile long and people waited patiently for 2 hours or more and they did not seem to mind one bit."
"We have held baptisms at Pirate's Cove but nothing we have done comes close to this event we just did. It may be the largest baptism in history."
Laurie said the atmosphere at Pirate's Cove was "overwhelming and a beautiful thing to see and be a part of," adding that there were "so many amazing stories."
"An 85-year-old man saw the 'Jesus Revolution' film and received Christ into his life and he wanted to be baptized at the same place where the movie was filmed," Laurie continued.
"His family could not believe it. One of them said, he is literally the last person they ever expected would come to Christ."
According to Laurie, Harvest will follow up with those baptized on Saturday to "make sure they are plugged into a local church" and discipled.
This is not the first major baptism event held at Pirate's Cove this year, as a few hundred churches came together to baptize around 4,100 people in May on Pentecost Sunday.
"We have never seen a crowd like that for baptisms," said Pastor Mark Francey, one of the people behind the Pentecost gathering, in an earlier interview with CP.
"As believers, we always want to be obedient to what Jesus asks us to do. My mentors taught me it's as simple as praying, obeying, then acting."
© The Christian Post