For the first time in the history of SXSW, a group of Austin-area churches were given approval to host an officially sanctioned evangelistic gathering at the famous SXSW annual conference earlier this month. Excited by the opportunity and committed to making it the best it could be, they asked Andrew Palau and the Palau Association, based in Portland, Oregon, to help lead the charge.
For more than 30 years, SXSW has been a major driver of art and technology worldwide. It is where trends are set and new technology is launched. SXSW is where Twitter first caught on, groundbreaking movies have been debuted, and Grammy Award-winning musical artists have been discovered. Past speakers at the conference have included President Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Edward Snowden.
Attendees from all around the world come to learn, launch, network, and dream. They are the best and brightest in their fields, preparing to further influence culture. And earlier this month, through the efforts of Palau and several local churches, they also had the opportunity to encounter the Living God!
Taking over the iconic Stubb’s Bar-B-Q on Sunday, March 12, the Palau Association gave SXSW attendees an opportunity to experience powerful music, enjoy free BBQ, and learn from panel discussions with leading Christian tech industry experts. Throughout the day, Andrew Palau and others also shared the clear Good News Gospel and gave attendees the opportunity to commit their life to Jesus Christ.
Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel and long-standing friend of the Palau Association, joined in for the day, bringing great interest and excitement to the program as he shared his testimony as well as thoughts on faith in the workplace. Also involved in the gatherings were Grammy Award-winning musical artist Lecrae, who gave a free concert, virtual reality expert Renji Bijoy, former Meta executive Nona Jones, and tech expert Mark McClain, to name a few. Each speaker brought their own experience and knowledge to the program, sharing clearly how their faith in Christ has impacted their work and influenced their trajectory in life. Many people responded to the Gospel as a result of the testimonies and messages.
In the days leading up to the Sunday events, hundreds of local believers hit the streets to promote the events and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The results were many great interactions with SXSW attendees – some even prayed to receive Jesus right there on the street!
In the end, thousands of individuals were reached through the two main experiences and panel discussions, making it one of the larger SXSW gatherings of the year.
Carl Grant III, CEO of Capital Raise and one of the early visionary leaders of the event, said
“The strategic impact of an evangelistic event like this is so powerful. SXSW attendees are influencers from around the world. And while a venue like this doesn’t attract the sheer number of a typical Palau festival, the impact is just as great. Those we reached earlier this month are the thought-leaders of our culture. They will take this newfound faith back to their areas of influence where it will go on to impact many more.”
As is the case in all Palau campaigns, a special emphasis was placed on local leadership. The Palau Association spent several months planning this campaign, gathering pastors and believers from throughout the region and empowering them with tools and opportunities to use their own gifts to further the unity of the Church and the work of the Kingdom.
While local leaders continue to follow up with each new believer, the Palau Association will move on to support similar campaigns in cities across the globe, including efforts later this year in San Jose, Costa Rica; London, England; Klamath Falls, Oregon; Nairobi, Kenya; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Cairo, Egypt.
You can learn more about the Luis Palau Association and their worldwide work at www.palau.org.