Passion Conference 2020: A Different Pulse

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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A Reason for Hope Through Passion Conference 2020

The notions of youth presented today is definitely one that tends to tip towards the laughable side. We see it all over the culture. Teenagers are eating Tide Pods, cinnamon and live octopi while calling them “challenges.” The participants or friends will film the attempts then post such content all over social media. 

Teenagers and college students predominantly are also the biggest cause for the social justice warrior movement. We see it all over college campuses as whiny entitlement-seeking millennials yell at professors to create a home and not a space for intellectual discourse. These same college kids push forward narratives that fall short of anything substantive and regurgitate useless talking points of their equally useless professors. 

Take Notice of These College Students

Images of college students have continued to leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who look on. There is, however, definitely a side to college students much of the culture has neglected to recognize. It was on full display over the course of the New Year’s holiday as Passion Conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia.

From New Year’s Eve 2019 into January 2nd, the city of Atlanta saw an uptick in population of 65,000 college students from all 50 states and at least 80 different international countries. These young adults, representing their various college campuses, grabbed up hotel rooms and parking spots then gathered for a historic event like none other. It was housed in the newly raised Mercedes-Benz Stadium where the former Georgia Dome stood. This immense dome hosts both the NFL Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta United soccer team.

A Different Roar

This week was different as it was home to 65,000 college students who came to listen, surrender and offer their lives for what matters most. There was singing galore combined with the teachings of prominent Christian leaders, speakers, thinkers, and pastors. These days amounted to sitting under a waterfall of content focused on Christianity and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Don’t count them out!

Passion Conference

If you have never heard of what 65,000 voices sound like as they all coalesced into a single heartbeat, the feeling is nothing else. It’s a different sense. A different heart. A different kind of pulse and a roar heard outside the stadium was a blessed change. It was one where onlookers were confused while participants who were not in the know were curious about it all could mean.

Live for the Glory of God

Hosted by The Passion Conference with visionary leader and speaker Pastor Louie Giglio, Passion Conference 2020 marked not just their 19th annual conference gathering, but their largest yet. Most Christian conferences create different themes in an attempt to be edgy or new. Passion Conference has always rooted itself in one single theme: living for the Glory of God. The theology behind this is a fascinating one and each song leader and speaker presented these young intrepid college students various angles on how to look at it.

It’s a revisited element Passion continues to embody as they push forward their annual message of living for the Glory of God. Noted speakers this year were Levi Lusko, A21 Founder Christine Caine, Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, former football player Tim Tebow and Sadie Robertson from Duck Dynasty. Each poured into the students what it means to live a Jesus life to the fullest. Each session also was filled with songs of worship and celebration from popular Christian music artists such as Elevation Worship, Trip Lee, Lecrae, Tedashii, Crowder, Social Club Misfits, Hillsong United, Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe, and Passion Music.

Don’t Waste Your Life

The primary focal point of Passion Conferences is to get college students to think less of themselves and align themselves with a vibrantly focused relationship with God. This type of relationship with God is more valuable and more satisfying than anything else because everything else falls short of any satisfaction. Many of these speakers urged against wasting our existence on trivialities when eternity is at stake. What a frightening thought! Purposelessness and simply consuming things is what the culture communicates and attempts to instill into these kids.

Another goal is to turn them away from the very thing the 65,000 in attendance at Passion Conference recognized made their hearts beat differently. This conference showed the perceived reality of culture versus the reality of what went on in these days is vastly different. It showed college students do desire a life deeper than Jordans or Nintendo Switches. It showed the world 65,000 voices, hearts, souls and minds desperate for something different than what the culture is selling. These kids came hungry. They came with a desire to know why they are. They came expectant and you could hear it in the conviction of their singing as they were led in worship during each of the 8 sessions spanning the three days of the conference.

To Every Person, For Every Person

Passion Conference also seeks to lead generations to act, not just to sing. The marriage of worship and justice is what they call it. From this idea spurred many acts of mercy. It was from Passion Conference where the REAL social justice campaign known as The End It Movement emerged. This movement is about starting the conversation about human trafficking. This reality is over 30 million people worldwide are still caught up in slavery whether it’s sex slavery or forced labor.

Slavery still exists and must be abolished. End It was even recognized by former President Obama back in 2013 and moving forward, Ashton Kutcher also recognized the efforts of the End It Movement and even testified to Congress about the reality of human trafficking. Each year Passion Conference desires to do something to show college students, though poor as they may seem, can do more than just whine and cry.  

Truly Making a Difference

For Passion 2020, the effort to translate Scripture for every people group was the effort this year. There are 3000 people groups with various languages who still do not have a Bible much less a verse in their language. The 65,000 college students willingly gave over $1.2 million. Again, it was a different heart found within these college students as they willingly and cheerfully gave money. It presented a far different look from the college students we continue to see around social media.

It is difficult to be hopeful for kids today when so many do so little yet find themselves fighting for popularity. An event like this stirs hope for the new generation we are leaving behind. The cynics and skeptics can say all they want about how religion is spurring kids away from faith. They fail to recognize events such as Passion Conference where 65,000 students from all 50 states and 80 countries converged in Atlanta to learn, sing and give.

Passion Conference’s view on the generation who attended is “Don’t count them out!” An impassioned lesson we all should learn as it was college students who gave $1.2 million dollars. In 2017, it was college students who sponsored all the children from a list of four countries. College students at Passion Conference 2016 completely funded the construction of a hospital in Syria with an $800,000 price tag. 

While the culture spotlights and mocks college kids who eat Tide pods, there is still a contingent of the faithful who desire more than being consumers. With Passion Conference leading the way, we can have hope the students who attend these events will be paving the way for more.

John Lee
NRN • New Right Network
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