Pastor Chuck Smith looked out at the more than 51,000 people who filled three-fourths of Anaheim Stadium on Friday night and said: "We've got a lineup tonight that would make Gene Autry drool."
But instead of professional baseball stars such as Mark Langston and Jim Abbott, Smith, the pastor of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, trotted out his own team of heavy hitters for the last night of the Summer Harvest Crusade.
The six-day religious revival, which mixed evangelism with rock music in an attempt to win converts to Christianity, began Sunday and ran for five nights at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa and drew about 90,000 people, organizers said.
Friday's grand finale was moved to the 64,000-seat Anaheim Stadium to accommodate people drawn to the event through TV and radio ads, church flyers and word of mouth. The crusade, which organizers estimate cost $225,000, was underwritten by Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa and was sponsored by more than 150 churches.
There was no charge to Friday's event and no offerings were requested in an effort to remove the skepticism sometimes associated with religious revivals, said John Collins, the crusade's director.
"We want to make the gospel free of charge to remove that skepticism," Collins said.
The free admission pleased Jason Robinett, a 21-year-old professional surfer from Huntington Beach.
"Because of the scandals like Jim Bakker, people are turned off by the gospel," Robinett said. "This gives them a chance to go to a neutral atmosphere, a place where they've seen the Rams play, and be comfortable."
The evening kicked off with performances from an array of contemporary Christian musicians including Gary Puckett, Lenny LeBlanc, Crystal Lewis, Benny Hester, Jamie Ownes Collins, Terry Clark and the Maranatha Praise Band.
Next came a sermon from Greg Laurie, pastor of Riverside's Harvest Christian Fellowship, one of California's largest Protestant churches.
Sharon Krause, 28, traveled from Lancaster to the crusade because she said she wanted to recommit herself to Jesus Christ.
"I really have never been together with this many Christians in my life," Krause said. "The atmosphere really gets you energized and it's given me the kick that I needed."