A Call to Action: Passion 2017
Millennials are described as many things in our culture. What about “The Jesus Generation”? That is how the people behind the Passion conference see them, and they’re helping Millennials embrace this as their calling. In the first days of this new year, 55,000 young people from 90 countries and 16,000 colleges descended on the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with a common purpose. They came to hear from God and worship him together. A group of our Accessibles were there to be a part of it.
This was the 20th year for the Passion conference, which grew out of a Bible study by Louie and Shelley Giglio as a way to reach college students interested in a deeper understanding of Christianity and God. Two decades later, Passion 2017 opened to a packed house enjoying a surprise performance by Carrie Underwood and a live video chat from space with the commander of the International Space Station!
Communicators including Andy Stanley, John Piper, Christine Caine, and Francis Chan challenged attenders’ thinking and their hearts. Though each message was unique, a theme emerged. “It wasn’t like they all talked about the same thing, but it all tied together,” said Peyton Barrett. “It started with our brokenness and being willing to suffer, and it ended with how all this is a part of your story and how God can use it in other people’s lives.”
Worship through music was an essential element of the weekend, allowing time for students to respond to God. “On the first night, all the songs were new, but by the end they were familiar, and there was this sense of being one huge family – so many individuals, yet all on the same page worshipping together,” said Bryden LeClair.
Along with experiencing the community that comes from worshipping with thousands, students got to enjoy community on a smaller scale, too. On the first night every attender joined a small “Family Group” that continued to meet and process their Passion experience together. “At first you were complete strangers with your Family Group, but by the end, it was a cohesive group, and discussion flowed,” said Christian Robles.
Passion challenged Millennials to look inward at their faith and at the same time outward, toward others, expanding their vision of what God might have for them in each direction. “There is a sense of direction,” said Christian. “It was a call to action for me going into this next semester – to be in community and to be open to sharing my story and my life and see how God uses it.”
At a time when a recent Pew Research study found that only 4-in-10 Millennials say religion is very important in their lives, Passion is pointing Millennials to what matters most – relationship with Jesus. It’s at the heart of their call to young adults “to live in such a way that their journey on earth counts for what is most important in the end.” It’s a call to be what they are – a generation for Jesus.