Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California has revealed that its virtual Palm Sunday service drew 3 million people after President Donald Trump announced the start of Holy Week and his decision to turn in to the service on Twitter.
Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest which is based in Riverside with its multi campuses in California and Hawaii, said on social media that the stunning number of new visitors includes 11,207 people who made a decision to have a relationship with Christ.
"Thanks for joining us, Donald J. Trump! A lot of new people visited us because of your tweet!" Harvest Church wrote on a Facebook post.
Pastor Laurie, who is known for his large-scale evangelical crusades shared that his church has seen nearly a 50 percent increase in online worship attendance compared to the previous week.
Although Trump said that it is "sad" that people have to watch Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday services on their computers, Laurie cited during the sermon a verse from Matthew to stress that Jesus said that when 'two or more are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them.'" According to the Christian post.
As churches across the nation observe social distancing in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, more people are watching online religious services - including President Trump.
This is not the first time that Trump watched a church service online during the coronavirus outbreak. In mid-March, Trump said he watched a March 15 church service led by pastor Jentezen Franklin at Free Chapel in Georgia, Christian post noted.
During the service of Harvest church, Associate Pastor Jason Powell said that the online response the church has received as been "unbelievable."
"We never anticipated this work that God was prepared to do," Powell said. "So what we did is we said, 'Lord, this is what we got.' We offered our fish and loaf, so to speak. God has multiplied and cast a seed far beyond what we could imagine. The past three weeks, did you know we have had over 1 million people that have joined us online for Harvest at Home."
"Literally around the globe, from Texas to New York, from Hawaii to Germany and France," he added.
"There is an open door for us right now into the world with the Gospel like I have not seen in my lifetime," Laurie continued in the sermon. "I have been preaching the Gospel for 45 years. I have never seen an opportunity like this, where people are open. We have the technology to reach them."
Laurie is calling Americans to turn their worry into worship and pray for an end to the spread of coronavirus, CBS News reported. "We can listen to worship music, sing songs, dance, play instruments and create works of art - or do whatever we do when we express our love for and awe of God." he added.