The OCeeker: Harvest Orange County and Greg Laurie's Plan for World Domination

Greg Laurie wants more market share. 

The 59-year-old Christian pastor and evangelist--famous for being a disciple of Chuck Smith, leading the annual Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium of blah, blah, blah--is pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, a megachurch in Riverside and one of the largest in the country. But his roots run deep in Orange County, where he lives, and he attended Newport Harbor High School. He has preached locally for more than 20 years, including more than a year and a half recently at Free Chapel in Irvine.

Now, shockingly, SHOCKINGLY, the OC Seeker says, Laurie has set up shop in Irvine, no doubt building the kingdom of God and stealing sheep from other preachers in the process. 

Laurie founded the fellowship at 2727 Campus Drive, touted as a Harvest "campus", with the plan to preach there regularly, while also continuing his sermon duties in Riverside, through the magic of a high-definition video feed that would allow him to speak in Riverside on Sundays, then speed to OC for another morning service that would be broadcast back to Harvest in Riverside. The church also has its own campus pastor and staff. 

Confused? So is the OCeeker. Why God needs Greg to plant a church that will basically be populated by sheeple from other steeples remains a mystery. But His ways are not the OCeeker's ways.

What's clear: Greg is one smart sermonator for working an angle to get his ass out of the IE.  

March 8, 7 p.m.

Damn, where do all you people come from? The OCeeker arrived about 15 minutes after the service started, and practically had to park at Harvest Riverside. Thankfully, little signs on the sidewalk off Campus Drive and Teller Avenue directed his cigar-smoking ass to the parking lots, which were packed. In another display of America's war on Christianity, there was one sign in the industrial/office complex that said "No Harvest Parking". 

​The OCeeker strolled for about five hours toward the sanctuary, his hike temporarily blessed by the booty of a holy heina who sported tight jeans and a pair of heels that showed off her well-manicured and delicate toes. Single saints: Harvest OC is the spot for church-hopping hotties. Get some! 

Outside the plain industrial building, believers milled about under large signs advertising Harvest. A table carried merch for the house band of the night, The Afters. And, Mexican food was served up at a nearby grill. The OCeeker asked if the grub was free. It wasn't.

Inside, The Afters were already firing up the large crowd with some Jesus-is-my-boyfriend music, while a handful of parents stayed with the small children in the lobby, where they could catch Greg on a TV screen. They've got this live streaming thing down! 

The OCeeker headed directly for the sanctuary, where ushers "Dick" and "Dave" manned the doors rather politely. It would be cool if Harvest OC dropped Dick and Dave for the Dave and Deke Combo. Boy howdy, would the OCeeker love him some "Henpecked Peckerwood" before the service got going.

Again, where do all you people come from? There were easily more than a thousand people there, perhaps millions more, and the OCeeker had to take a spot in the back of the packed sanctuary. 

The Afters, whose members look like "American Idol" contestants and whose songs sounded like, hell if I know, pick whatever's playing on KFSH-FM 95.9 right now, were already in the midst of a jam. One of their lyrics said "greater things are to be done in this city." 

Thumbnail image for agran-blog.jpg
Give your soul to God, but Irvine is mine
​Not if Larry Agran has anything to do with it! 

The congregation, a mixed multitude of races and ages, stood during two songs, some lifting their hands to heaven, or the brown ceiling which spread itself over tan and blue walls in a sanctuary lit warmly by lights the hung from above. Two camera operators filmed the proceedings from the middle of the room, where a large soundboard stood. A couple of large screens showed the song lyrics. 

When the band finished its brief set, the crowd went bonkers for Jesus. Or Greg Laurie. He immediately hit the stage.

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