This year's PASSION Conference has commenced on Friday in Atlanta, GA with 20,000 students coming from 1,000 universities and colleges and universities. The 3-day gathering will feature conference founding pastor Louie Giglio with guest speakers including Francis Chan, John Piper, Christine Caine, and Judah Smith. Guests Lecrae, Matt Chandler, Carl Lentz, and Ben Stuart will also participate in this gathering.
Worship for the cnference will be led by members of The Passion Band including Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, and Brett Younker. Further, newly written worship songs and old favorites will be reportoire for the event. And if we can discern from previous years, the music will most likely be taped and videoed for an album/DVD release later in the year.
According to "Christian Post," the opening session featured a message from Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion movement and pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta. He focused on Jesus Christ's final word on the cross, "Tetelestai," which means "It is finished" in the Greek language. In his dynamic style, Giglio expounded on the meaning of this word and explained the Biblical belief that when Jesus died, He died so all mankind could have eternal life.
"We're beginning where Christ ended because His last word is our first," said Giglio. "His last expression on earth makes possible all of our expressions on earth. We're going to the end of His life to find the beginning of ours-the end of His word to find the beginning of our words."
Giglio emphasized that the Gospel message is not simply one of forgiveness of sins, but also a call to surrender because of Christ's finished work on the cross. "We live in a 'me' and 'my' generation, but we are the Jesus generation united for His fame," he said. "We rally around the life and death of Jesus. We pray tonight that we will receive the Gospel and relinquish our lives in total surrender."
In recent years students have given over $7 million to provide awareness, prevention, rescue and restoration to fight modern-day slavery. Each year conference attendees are also asked to donate towels and socks - two of the most needed items at homeless shelters. "He [God] wants the people of this city to feel lifted by a gathering of this size," said Brad Jones, Passion City Church's Pastor of Community, during Friday's session. Atlanta's City of Refuge homeless ministry will receive the items donated during this gathering.