CWN.org -- Combining the biblical principles of faith and works, international evangelist Luis Palau's organization partnered with 600 Portland congregations to bring practical help and spiritual blessings to their city.
Months of community service projects called the Season of Blessing culminated in a two-day celebration of gospel music, extreme sports, and an evangelistic message from Palau last weekend.
CityFest drew more than 185,000 people to Portland's Waterfront Park Aug. 23-24, but high-profile event was only the crowning touch of a months-long effort by churches and Christian volunteers to serve their city.
To hear part of evangelist Luis Palau's message at CityFest click on the player above.
Beginning in February, congregations throughout Portland volunteered time, resources, and materials to projects addressing social needs ranging from homelessness, hunger, medical care, cleaning up the environment, and refurbishing public schools.
More than 26,000 volunteers took part in the Season of Service. The concept of combining acts of service with an evangelistic festival has drawn the attention of cities across North and South America, Europe and Asia. More than 75 delegates from potential future cities came to Portland for CityFest, as well as hundreds of partner evangelists from Palau's Next Generation Alliance.
The festival itself was a non-stop program of music, action sports and family fun. Some of the top names in contemporary Christian music appeared, including Chris Tomlin, Kirk Franklin, MercyMe, Kutless and TobyMac. Two-time X-Games gold medalist Kyle Losa headlined the Livin It Action Sports demo that also featured an evangelistic message from legendary skateboarder Christian Hosoi. In cooperation with the city of Portland, a "Homeless Connect" project served more than 1000 people with services ranging from housing assistance to haircuts and medical care.
Palau's messages focused on the compelling needs of young people and families - from fatherless kids to financial challenges and sexual temptation. Hundreds of hands were raised across the massive crowd as Palau extended his straightforward invitation to begin a life of faith. Several thousand "friends of the festival" had been trained to counsel new believers as they begin their Christian walk: over 600 participating churches will welcome them into their congregations.
Luis Palau's next festival will be in Oaxaca, Mexico in November. He will be the featured speaker in Atlanta on Labor Day Weekend for the second annual Celebrate Freedom festival.
Source: Luis Palau Evangelistic Association