Passion 2013 kicked the New Year off in fine fashion as 60,000 college students flooded the Georgia Dome for four days of worship, prayer, teaching and rallying around the cause of modern-day slavery. Passion continues to grow each year since its inception in 1997. This year saw its largest gathering to date as the packed house of 18-25 year-olds raised a cry (and a lot of money) for freedom January 1-4. Here’s a glimpse inside the Dome…
THE STATS: Although the Passion conference continues to birth some of the biggest worship songs of this decade (think “White Flag,” “Where the Spirit of the Lord Is,” “10,000 Reasons,” “All My Fountains,” etc.), Passion is more than just music, speakers and a time of learning. Passion is a movement uniting a generation of young people passionate about the cause of Christ. Of the 60,000 18-25 year-olds present at this year’s conference, 2,022 different universities from 54 countries were represented. Yep, it’s a global movement.
THE SPEAKERS: In addition to Passion founder Louie Giglio, this year’s roster of speakers included some of the foremost leaders and Bible teachers in the evangelical world today: Beth Moore, Francis Chan, John Piper, Judah Smith and International Justice Mission’s Gary Haugen.
THE ARTISTS: The majority of the artists who took to the Passion stage have been instrumental in leading the Passion charge since the beginning. Their names have become synonymous with the movement. Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, David Crowder, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall and newcomer Brett Younker served as the primary worship leaders for the four-day event. Lecrae, Kari Jobe, Colton Dixon and Jesus Culture also performed.
THE ONES TO WATCH:
- Brett Younker: You may not know his name, but you’ve likely seen his face if you’ve kept up with Passion recently. He leads worship at Giglio’s Passion City Church in Atlanta (and also happens to be married to Louie’s niece). He has an EP out titled Come to the Water, and the title track–a song Brett co-wrote with Kristian Stanfill–was sung often during Passion 2013. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Brett become the latest signing to sixstepsrecords in the near future.
Jesus Culture: Based on their high-octane performance on the second night of Passion 2013, this charismatic group from Redding, Calif., will be one you will no doubt be hearing more from this year. While comparable to Hillsong United, they have more of an edge that youth will definitely gravitate toward.
- Judah Smith: He pastors Seattle’s City Church, a congregation of nearly 6,000. It was his first time speaking at Passion, but his message on community was extremely well-received; and his Justin Bieber hair swoop, hipster glasses and great sense of humor had the audience eating out of his hand.
THE SONGS: Each year, a crop of songs are written solely for Passion. After their debut, many of them find their way into the hearts of churches around the globe. Look for these new songs to make their way into your Sunday morning services this year: “Children of Light,” “Come to the Water,” “We Glorify Your Name,” “Burning in My Soul,” “Once And For All,” “Jesus Only Jesus,” “Lord Our God” and “Shout.” One of the biggest highlights of the entire conference was Chris Tomlin’s rendition of “God’s Great Dance Floor,” now available on his brand-new album, Burning Lights, which released yesterday. Many of these songs will likely be featured on the new Passion album, tentatively slated for release March 12, 2o13. Track listing and album title had not been confirmed at press time.
“I believe that God is the God of immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine.” –Louie Giglio
“Sin didn’t make us bad; sin makes us dead… God brings the dead to life.”–Louie Giglio
“When we go through a struggle, He won’t let it pass from us if it is absolutely necessary for what we need to do on this earth.” –Beth Moore
“There is an awesome God of justice who is ready to move in power if you are ready to move in obedience… You may be that generation that manifests God’s heart for justice to the world.”–Gary Haugen
“If you really want to experience God, then go and make disciples.” –Francis Chan
“How important is community to God? God is a community in Himself… Our God is singular in character but plural in person.”–Judah Smith
“Jesus is the key that unlocks the mystery of history, and He is the center of the story.” –John Piper
“The local church is God’s way of changing the world.”–Louie Giglio
“Collectively, we become a force for justice.”–Louie Giglio
THE CAUSE: There are more slaves today than any other time in history. Today, 27 million women, girls, men and boys are trapped in slavery. The messages of Passion 2013 centered around shining a light on slavery. Stories of real modern-day slaves were told throughout the event. A candlelight vigil took place on Thursday night, and the conference ended with a strong call to action as Passion attendees launched the “In It to END IT” campaign, a movement to end modern-day slavery. Collectively, over 3.1 million dollars was raised over the course of four days. The money will be split between 18 different abolitionist organizations.
THE NEXT STEP: Join the fight for freedom! Shine a light on slavery by:
- Visiting www.enditmovement.com and signing the pledge to join the fight to end slavery.
- Follow the END IT movement on Twitter.
- Like the END IT movement on Facebook.
- Invite your friends to join, follow and like.
- Purchase a Passion 2013 Digital All Access Pass (includes main session talks, music, photos, videos and more from Passion 2013).
- Mark your calendars for next year’s Passion conference. (It was announced since the NFL will host playoffs at the Georgia Dome next year during the normal Passion window, Passion 2014 will be held over the course of an extended weekend in late January/early February. Dates are forthcoming. Stay tuned to www.268generation.com for details.)