Tabitha Kaylee Hawk https://www.flickr.com/photos/tabithahawk/192736131
My Passion Experience
January 10, 2019
What to Know About Passion Conference 2019
“Passion will be one of those moments that I’ll always remember from my senior year. It was an amazing experience and I was completely blown away with what the Lord was doing even on the first night. The worship was incredible, the speakers were authentic and compassionate, and I could feel me drawing closer to the Lord every passing minute. Passion is not just three days of what seems like a mundane and stale church service but a genuine glimpse of what I assume heaven will be like” (Senior Julia Lawson).
The Passion Conference is a two and a half day long trip driven towards 18-25 year olds. The mission of this conference is to motivate college students to become Christ driven leaders in their schools and push them to pursue God with their whole heart. Contrary to popular thought, 2019’s Passion Conference was held in four different locations, The State Farm arena in Atlanta, the Infinite Energy Arena also held in Atlanta, The Anthem arena in Washington D.C., and the Theatre at Grand Prairie in Dallas, Texas.
The class of 2019 seniors who participated on the trip attended the Infinite Energy Arena and consisted of Julia Lawson, Erin Oliver, Ella Wilson, Madeline Pulliam, Grace Slatery, and Emily Goddard. Chemistry and physical science teacher Mrs. Payne chaperoned along with LCA Alumni Emily Orrender. Their arena contained about 10,000 people.
The conference began after a six hour bus ride at 7:30. There was a total of 6 sessions, each beginning and ending with worship. The conference has its own band, affectionately titled the Passion Band. Each year, the band writes brand new praise songs and performs them for the first time during the first session, and are sung several times throughout the rest of the two days.
The first session consisted of speaker Louie Giglio, who is the founder of the Passion Conference, which began in 1997. Him and his wife Shelley introduced several of the speakers and are well-known throughout Atlanta, as well as the entire nation. His sermon discussed the issue of suicide and anxiety within the current generation, and how to tackle it with scripture, as well as bringing up the root of the issue. He then spoke about the issue of divorce and fatherless homes, and how they are more common than not. Gospel singer powerhouse Tasha Cobbs finished out the night with convicting worship.
The next day began at 9:30 with the second session. Chad Veach, a young pastor of the Zoe Church in Los Angeles, spoke discussing Christ as people’s anchor. His contagious smile conveyed a genuine joy for his audience and spoken words.
Session 3 began with Christian rapper Lecrae, bringing an exciting and energetic vibe to the arena. The speaker following his performance was Matt Chandler, the lead pastor of the Village church in Flower Mound, Texas as well as the President of the Acts 29 Network. Matt broke down the story of the woman at the well in a powerful and personal way, making the audience perceive the story in a different perspective.
Gary Haugen, who is the founder of the International Justice Mission, spoke during session 4, following the performance of the band Mosaic. He discussed a deep faith everyone should aspire to have and brought out a guest speaker from Kenya, who had endured a pain stricken life but was renewed by Christ.
After this session, a long break for dinner took place. Most groups left to return to their hotels and grab a bite to eat. When they returned for session 5, the Passion Band performed before Christine Caine spoke. Christine started the A21 Foundation to combat human trafficking. Her motivating sermon discussed the audience doing God’s will for their lives and not waiting any longer to do so. Her humor provided a comfortable and light atmosphere but not enough to distract from the seriousness of her words. The band Crowder ended the night in a concert-like atmosphere.
The last session took place at 9:30 the next morning, where Louie Giglio closed out the conference. Louie encouraged students to seek God before relationships, in hope that it will naturally happen according to God’s will. He encouraged students to go out and carry their fire for Christ to the schools and universities.
Senior Grace Slatery said, “My favorite part was definitely the worship. I thought it was really cool how everyone in the arena was there for the same reason and listening to the sound of people worshiping around me really moved my heart.”
Passion tickets for 2019-2020 are currently on sale, and can be purchased at https://268generation.com/passion2020/. Instead of four different venues, the conference will be held at one location, the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
Senior Camden Alcorn, who traveled with a group of seniors from Southland Christian Church, said, “Passion 2019 both challenged my faith while supplying me with tools to help it grow. The speakers were all interesting and presented new spins on old stories I had heard before. I cannot recommend going enough, it’s too good to miss!”
The Passion Conference is not a largely advertised event at LCA. The only way students may have had prior knowledge about the event is due to the testimonies of past seniors who participated. When arriving back to school from the trip, many students commented that they wished they could have gone but did not know much about it.
On Wednesday, January 9, students who went on the 2019 conference shared their thoughts on Passion in chapel, in hopes to encourage the participation of students no matter where they were on their spiritual walk.
My Passion Experience
The 2019 Passion Conference will be something impossible for me to forget. I have never experienced worship or Christ in that way before, and it helped me view stories I had grown up reading and listening to in a new and more relatable light. No matter where you are in your walk with Christ, Passion will transform your heart. Anyone wishing for a more authentic faith would be blessed from going.
The worship was probably my favorite aspect of the conference. In all honesty, worship is not my most favorite aspect of a church service. Passion transformed my take on worship. Because everyone is so engaged and focused, the worship meant so much more than I have experienced at church or chapel. I paid much more attention to the lyrics of each song which resonated with me and allowed me to pertain to my own life and faith. I was given the opportunity to hear singers I had grown up listening to, like David Crowder and Kari Jobe. Each performance was usually a different genre of music from the previous performance, which brought a fresh variety to the songs. Each note was sung with purpose and assurance, making me feel especially connected with God.
Each speaker brought their own unique sermon, yet all sessions seemed to beautifully mold together. It was apparent that all the speakers cared so deeply for the next generation and believed wholeheartedly in the mission of Passion. They all used scripture to back up their points, and brought clarity to many of this generation’s biggest issues. My favorites were Louie Giglio and Christine Caine. Louie spoke major truths, giving the audience tools to deal with the issues of anxiety, divorce, and teen suicide. Christine motivated me to find God’s purpose for my life and run with it, not waiting another minute. Each session holds a special place in my heart.
Lastly, the atmosphere was unexplainable. This was nothing like church or chapel, because everyone there had chosen and paid to be there. Each person was searching for a stronger walk with the Lord and it definitely showed. The audience cheered constantly and could not have been more joyful. It gave me a deep sense of hope that this generation is going to be okay with that many college students convicted and on fire for Christ. I would not be shocked if heaven looked very similar to the Infinite Energy Arena during worship.
I am so grateful I was able to experience Passion. I did not know much about it going in, and was not expecting what I experienced. I was reminded how crucial it is to have specific time set apart for God. I felt extremely motivated to serve more and think outside of myself, all while pursuing a deeper faith. My desire is for every young person to experience this conference and reflect on what God’s purpose is for them. After experiencing Passion, it is impossible for anyone to say God is not who He says He is!