On New Year’s Day, I loaded into a caravan of cars with some college students and leaders from my church and headed to Atlanta, GA for Passion 2013. Passion is a massive yearly gathering of college-aged students who claim to be part of the “Jesus Generation”. The movement started in 1997, intended to unite students in worship and prayer in order to spark a passion in their generation. 16 years later, the movement is still growing.
I never participated in Passion as a college student but thankfully, because I spend time with college students a few times a week now, I got to get in on it as an old person. Something about wanting a few older people to be around in case of emergency.
So that first night of Passion, as the lights dimmed, the music started, and 60,000 college students started cheering and singing, I lost it; tears everywhere. I looked around at those 60,000 attendees, and thought, they literally could change the world. When you hear 60,000 people singing at one time, you realize the power in numbers, and the strength of collective voice.
I believe in the Passion Generation.
A huge emphasis of the conference was a calling for students to make a difference in the world; to live out their faith in a tangible, practical way. The Passion movement is dedicated to ending modern day slavery. During the four days of Passion, 60,000 attendees were educated about the issue of modern day slavery, they were introduced to 10 organizations that are currently working to end human trafficking, and they were asked to give. They latched on to the call. Students committed to learning more about slavery, they committed to educating their peers back at their campuses, and they committed to giving financially. And give they did: Poor college students gave 3.3 million dollars during the span of the conference to organizations that are already doing the work of liberation.
I believe that the Passion Generation can make a difference in the world. I have already seen the Passion Generation making a difference in the world.
The whole week, I couldn’t stop staring around the stadium and dreaming.
As I looked around that stadium, I saw future teachers who will work in the toughest schools to change generations of history one student at a time.
As I looked around that stadium, I saw future lawyers, who will fight injustice, and will work to end human trafficking and sexual abuse and corporate crime.
As I looked around that stadium, I saw future business persons who will create social entrepreneurships that will change the lives of those in poverty. I saw future business persons who will generate income and ideas that will allow them to be radically generous with their resources.
As I looked around that stadium, I saw future spouses, who will marry with intention and seek a partner who will change the world for Christ. I saw future parents who will parent with intention, raising up the next Jesus Generation.
As I looked around that stadium, I saw future professional athletes and famous musicians who will use their platforms to educate people about worthy causes and who will use their resources to change the courses of nations and cities and families and individuals.
As I looked around that stadium, I saw future writers who will tell stories of redemption and love and justice and will inspire masses to know and follow Jesus.
As I looked around that stadium, I saw a sea of Jesus followers, who have their lives ahead of them, who don’t have spouses and children and mortgages car notes just yet that dictate the trajectory of their profession. I saw a sea of Jesus followers who have loads of school debt and greater loads of potential. I saw a sea of Jesus followers who want to live out a purpose bigger than that of their parents and grandparents. I saw a sea of Jesus followers who will change the world.
Passion Generation, there are older folks who believe in you, and there is a world counting on you. Don’t get sidetracked with regrets and trinkets. Dream bigger than the American Dream. There is no limit to what you can do because our God is bigger and stronger than any other. We oldies are believing in you, counting on you, praying for you, and cheering for you!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…to him be glory…” Eph. 3:20-21