“Our heartbeat is to see the campuses of this nation awaken to God.”
Courtesy of NASA
The Passion Movement, which held its first conference in 1997, continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Passion 2012 – a three-day event – concluded yesterday and attracted around 45,000 enthusiastic attendees to the Georgia Dome. For those like me who were not familiar with this huge event, here is a brief overview as well as a recap.
The Passion Conferences are restricted to those between the ages of 18 and 25. As explained in the previous post, Louie Giglio is the founder and architect of the Passion Movement. His student ministry at Baylor, which spanned a decade, prepared him well for his role in motivating college students to pursue their faith. Giglio has assembled a team of speakers, and those who joined him in speaking at Passion 2012 included John Piper, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, and Christine Caine. Music is a HUGE part of the Passion Movement, and the groups who performed included: The David Crowder Band, Chris Tomlin, Hillsong United, Matt Redman, Lecrae, Kristian Stanfill, Charlie Hall, and Christy Nockels. Bios for the Passion speakers and musicians are featured here.
The conference was streamed live, and each session was made available via the internet for a short time (24 hours or less after the session concluded). Because I was extremely interested in this event, I made it a priority to watch as many sessions as possible. The only one I missed was the first one because it was taken down before I had a chance to view it. Those who wish to see the conference via the internet can buy a digital all access pass for $25, which includes some additional resources. That's quite a bargain compared to what attendees likely spent to attend (travel, lodging, food, and conference fee).
Beth Moore spoke during Session Two, and I believe Louie Giglio may have preached from Luke 7 during the first session, although I'm not positive. Beth followed him by preaching from Luke 8:40-55, with special emphasis on verses 43-48. She said something about being under the authority of Giglio, but honestly, what in the world does that mean?! She preached to 45,000 people of both genders and did a fantastic job! Allow me to highlight what she shared.
WARNING TO PATRIARCHS: You must STOP reading NOW because you might actually learn something from a woman…
Beth focused on the woman with the "issue of blood". She began by explaining how this “interruption” temporarily suspended the account of Jairus and his dying daughter. As Beth began interpreting Scripture, she reminded the audience that this woman had suffered for twelve years and that the young girl was twelve years old. That was a detail I had never noticed before. The woman interrupted Jesus as he was walking among a throng of people. This diseased woman, who was not allowed to touch anyone because she might infect them, dared to touch Jesus. As Jesus walked among those in the crowd, they were probably brushing up against him repeatedly; yet He knew in an instant that some power had left him when this woman touched the hem of his garment. He asked the throng who touched him, and when the woman confessed to what she had done, Jesus pronounced that her faith had made her well. Beth shares many more details that I will not go into, but she preached powerfully! She summarized the woman’s miraculous healing by stating: "It was the faith that drove the touch that welcomed the healing.” Beth concluded by encouraging those listening to have the faith to grab onto the hem of Jesus’ garment (symbolically) and be made whole.
I couldn’t help but think of Tim Challies’ church, which doesn’t even allow a woman to read Scripture because it could be interpreted as preaching or teaching… Heaven forbid that a woman would do such a thing! How much longer will such foolishness persist?
Incredibly, another woman preached during Session Three. Christine Cainer, a “pastor” from Hillsong Church in Australia, delivered a captivating message about the sex slave industry. She also talked about how she had been abused and adopted. She was a dynamic speaker, and I am confident she motivated both the men and women in the Georgia Dome.
It's important to point out that one of the unifying themes of Passion 2012 was "Do Something Now!" According to the conference website, organizers set a goal to raise $1,000,000 to fund important causes related to the sex trade and forced labor. The website states:
"This year at Passion 2012, we want to bring this darkness into the light. We long to wrap our arms around those who are hurting and help bring an end to modern day slavery in the name of Jesus. Together, we will lend our voice to the 27 million who have no voice and do everything we can to fight for freedom. During the four days of the conference, our goal is to raise $1 million to fund incredible organizations that are fighting to bring prevention, freedom, and restoration to those trapped in slavery. Start planning now how you can be part of the amazing story that will unfold at Passion 2012. Whether you can give a little or a lot, together we are a force for good! Come ready to give as much as you can. What does $1,000,000 for freedom look like?
Restore freed child slaves
Care for freed forced labor slaves
Rescue forced labor slaves
Prevent human trafficking
Intercept trafficking victims
Provide a new beginning for exploitation survivors
The Atlanta Project (human trafficking in Atlanta)"
During the morning of the second day, Louie Giglio introduced Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle to the audience. Cagle told them that he was a great advocate of Passion and that his two sons were somewhere in the crowd.
Then Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed walked onto the stage and joined Giglio and Cagle. It was the second anniversary of his inauguration as mayor, and Giglio presented him with $100,000 (which had been raised by conference attendees) to invest in “police officers who are prosecuting sex crimes so they can turn the tide on sex crimes”, as stated by Mayor Reed. Conference attendees also donated 25,420 towels and 124,800 pairs of socks for the homeless of Atlanta.
During the afternoon of the second day, Giglio gave an update on the total giving toward their $1,000,000 goal by just the attendees. Halfway through the conference they had given $1,002,000.
During Session Four Louie Giglio, Fancis Chan, John Piper, Beth Moore, and singer Lecrae took turns reading the entire book of Ephesians. The words “Jesus Speak to Me” appeared on the big screens behind them, and each time a speaker finished reading his/her excerpt there was a long period of silence. After all of Ephesians had been read, Giglio pronounced; “This is the Word of God.” Then he asked those who had experienced God speaking to them to raise their hands. Based on his reaction, many attendees experienced the Holy Spirit speaking to them.
Francis Chan spoke in Session Five, and he is always so captivating! Anyone who has heard him speak knows that he is passionate about Jesus and his Christian walk. What I especially appreciated about Chan is how he challenged the audience. He asked them: “How do you know that I’m telling you the truth?" Immediately after asking that question, he challenged the young people to be Bereans and study God’s Word for themselves.
Session Six featured four individuals who are striving to solve the terrible problem of human trafficking and slavery. They showed a video of a female sex slave being rescued, and one of the female panelists shared how she had helped rescue sex slaves in another country. According to one of these individuals, there is a movement afoot where young people are educating themselves about forced labor and not buying products that support forced labor. This gentleman concluded: “It’s time to rise up for freedom because slavery still exists.”
John Piper spoke during Session Seven, which was the final message on the second day of the conference. He began by sharing various Bible verses:
1 Corinthians 6:19 – "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own…" (ESV)
Isaiah 43:7 – "Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (ESV)
Colossians 1:16 – "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him." (ESV)
As he introduced the topic of his talk, John Piper remarked:
“So it’s clear seems to me from those verses that God intends, Jesus intends, for your life to bring Him glory. It means for you to do everything you do, when you eat or drink all that feel all that you think all that you act, to make him look great… All human beings are created to put God’s infinite value on display. That’s why you exist. Now I want that to happen in your life for all the decades that God may give you, and to that end I have one point to make. … Here’s the main point of the message…. Seeing and savoring the supremacy of Jesus Christ frees you from the slavery of sin for the sacrifices of love. Here’s a second way to say it. Being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus frees you from the bondage of sin for the suffering of love.”
Then he shared a third way of saying it: “Faith in Jesus Christ frees you from the slavery of sin for the sacrifices of love.”
John Piper had a very serious look on his face the entire time he talked and he said early in his talk something along these lines: “There’s been a lot of freedom at this conference.” I’m wondering whether he gave Giglio a talking to after the conference ended…
Louie Giglio concluded the conference with Session Eight. One interesting piece of trivia he shared was that his dad had designed the Chick-Fil-A logo back in 1968 (?) for $75, and he noted that the Chick-Fil-A bowl was played in the Georgia Dome. Toward the end of the session, Shelley Giglio joined her husband on stage, and they listed all the endeavors that would be funded because of the generous giving of attendees. Just before the event drew to a close, they energized the crowd by announcing the total money that had been raised ($500,000 of the total was given by a generous couple who had attended Passion 2012).
The grand total was (drum roll please) $3,066,670.
That means the conference attendees gave $2,566,670.
Way to go young people!!!
Giglio then asked how many would commit to coming back next year, and he got a huge response. He explained that if they took the curtain down and opened up the entire arena, 71,000 people would be able to attend Passion 2013; however, he said in order for that to happen they would have to commit soon to coming next year.
I believe it was Shelley Giglio who made this profound remark:
“Don’t get stuck in the past when God’s leading you into the future.”
I look forward to following the Passion Movement in years to come and seeing what God does through Louie and Shelley Giglio and their team.
I leave you with a You Tube video that should serve as an allegory of our Christian faith. Jesus Christ did heal the paralyzed man. It is our mission to introduce others to this magnificent Savior who causes us to leap for joy. Be prepared for a few tears.
Lydia's Corner: Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 Psalm 49:1-20 Proverbs 22:20-21