College kids feeling passion for conference
January 11th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

College kids feeling passion for conference

By Steve Almasy, CNN

The Passion conference is more than just a huge gathering of college-age kids, organizers say.  the recent Atlanta conference was a call for the next generation to make Jesus a focal point in their lives and to share that passion with others, they said.

"Church was never meant to be an island of self-indulgence, but a missional community of Jesus-followers so in love with Him that they can do nothing else but carry His name to the world," pastor Louie Giglio said in an e-mail this week.

The event drew more than 22,000 students to the Georgia capital's convention center and to Philips Arena. It was even more successful than Giglio had hoped for.

"It is truly inspiring to see a generation that is so hungry for an authentic encounter with Jesus ... one that exchanges consumer-driven Christ for Christ-centered obedience," said Giglio.

One of the main spots at the conference, a convention floor full of booths for 10 carefully selected charities that the Passion movement works with throughout the year. The call went out to the college kids to spend time at the exhibits and find one that moved them.

On a Monday night, the third of a four-day event, thousands of kids dressed in t-shirts and jeans weaved their way through the exhibits. They took brochures and enthusiastically chatted as volunteers explained what each cause was about.

The stereotype is that college kids never have much money, but these kids dug deep. Some even brought in containers filled with money they had raised or saved.

Some donated what little money they had, some brought material goods, many gave from there hearts, officials said. Every charitable goal was surpassed, not by a little but by a lot.

The goal was to raise $500,000 for the charities, but after the conference, Do Something Now, the fundraising campaign of the Passion Conferences, announced that it had raised $1.1 million for Compassion International, Hope International, Haiti Transformed, International Justice Mission, Bibles Unbound, World Made Flesh, Joint Aid Management, Cure International, Living Water International, and the Atlanta Mission and City of Refuge (kids brought socks and towels for the homeless).

Giglio says it is compelling to see 18- to 22-year-olds giving to the causes that matter most.

"The fact that 22,000 university-aged young people would journey to Atlanta and gather for the name of Jesus is staggering in and of itself," he wrote. "But the fact that, as a result of His grace in their lives, they would pool their resources to the tune of $1.1 million to fund 10 local and global causes signifies a massive shift."

Students got to hear from pastor John Piper, who returned from an eight-month leave of absence, Francis Chan, and Beth Moore. The students sat intently, many taking notes, writing down the references to scripture passages. Afterward, they left, so moved barely a word was uttered.

They also were treated to warm up music from Chris Tomlin and his fellow artists on the sixstepsrecords label. The resulting live album (yet to be titled) will be released March 8. Last year's CD went to No. 1 on the Christian charts and featured the radio single "Our God."

A second Passion event is scheduled for April 1 in Fort Worth, Texas. Tickets are still available, a spokesperson said.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Music

soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. k

    Quite a lively discussion. Regardless of our God given right to an opinion, we ALL, Christian, Mormon, Jew, Muslim, Buddist, Hindu...even atheist will one day answer for every choice made while here on earth. No matter who or where one resides,or who's right or wrong, there is One greater than us that is in control whether we like it or not. No matter the belief or lack thereof, one day every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord–that fact is available to all.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:18 am |
  2. June

    Thank you SO much for reporting on this event! My daughter was there from Canada and I watched it all on live stream. Gotta love technology. She was one of 12 that went together and one of over 42,000 who attended and participated in giving over $3,000,000 to the Freedom of 27,000,000 slaves worldwide today! God is using their generation to make a huge difference! I know they have in our hometown – HUGE. So...thank you for reporting this!

    January 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Willie The Pimp

      June, you must be very stupid and have obviously raised a very stupid daughter.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  3. Lisa

    Thank you, Steve Almasy, for reporting on the Passion Conference! Glad to see positive reporting on Christian events, it's very encouraging and much appreciated!
    There were actually 45,000 students and the money raised was $3.6 million.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  4. Hashman

    Hey CNN!
    That's a lot more than 22,000.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Rodney Corey

      Thank you CNN for the coverage of this life-changing event. It's refreshing to see mainstream media coverage of the Passion movement.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  5. texwpk

    mSRDVD endjfvxtsfuu

    October 11, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  6. asqcbaq

    iHQy4E dryzjtuoikyq

    October 10, 2011 at 4:01 am |
  7. Betsey

    I ltrieally jumped out of my chair and danced after reading this!

    October 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • iggy

      Well I didnt get quite that excited but I did pee all over myself.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  8. April bishop

    Thanks! I just ordered one. This will help out with all the unpredictable weather we get these

    January 26, 2011 at 5:45 am |
  9. Jackson

    Reading the article and remembering the conference was a welcome influx of hope for my generation.

    Reading the comments breaks my heart for the world around me. The ignorant will attack what they don't understand.Nothing was pushed, shoved, or forced on anyone. Just a group of people celebrating what they believe to be true.

    Sure, christianity seems a bit strange. Yet the hope, peace, and joy of those involved is the tangible proof of it's truthfulness. As you choose hopelessness, we choose hope. Why do so many stand against that?

    January 23, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Im Gay and Love to watch GLEE while sucking on goobers

      Hey Jackson, you idiot. SHYT in one hand and hope in the other then see which one fills up the quickest.

      January 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  10. Andrew

    Please fix the word "there" from the eighth paragraph, it should be "their hearts"

    January 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Rodney Corey

      CNN thank you for the coverage of this world-changing event. It's refreshing to see mainstream media take notice of the Passion movement.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  11. toby

    God, god, Jesus, Mary, the Devil are all myths-fabricated by a mind filled with fear and dread of the unknown. Peace.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)


      You soul is on the line that what you state is true BUT it is not true!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Chris

      Solid comment Toby. Solid comment?

      January 18, 2011 at 8:42 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.