ATLANTA (BP)–Passion 07 is underway in Atlanta with more than 21,000 registered college students from across the United States and at least 30 countries. They arrived on New Year’s Day for the four-day conference that ends Jan. 4.
Attendance has increased from 18,000 last year and 11,000 in 2005. To accommodate the crowd, Passion 07 is being held simultaneously at Philips Arena and the Georgia World Congress Center, the venues linked via satellite.
The purpose of the Passion gathering is still centered on Isaiah 26:8, which says, “Yes Lord, walking in the way of your truth, we wait eagerly for you, for your name and your renown are the desire of our souls.” The idea behind Passion 07 is to motivate students to live for God.
“Making our lives count for what matters most is a worthy goal but a costly proposition, one that must be thoroughly absorbed and embraced if our lives are going to be shaped for His renown,” Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion movement, said.
Along with Giglio, other speakers at this year’s conference include John Piper, Beth Moore and Francis Chan.
Passion 07 consists of main sessions including worship and a speaker. The conference also provides a time for community groups where students get together to talk about what God is doing in their lives. At other times, students can join in on breakout sessions where they can hear speakers in smaller, more intimate gatherings. Finally, there is a time for students to relax at “Late Nites,” where they hear from artists such as Shane and Shane, Aaron Shust and Steve Fee.
Giglio spoke in the first main session on Monday night about the tremendous effect Passion could have on college campuses.
“If God truly does come in our midst, then the ripple effects of that are going back to campuses that represent over 10 million of the 16 million college students in this nation,” he told the students who represent 1,300 colleges and universities.
Also during his talk, Giglio highlighted the fact that Christ rescues people from sin.
“Passion 07 is all about Jesus Christ,” he said, adding that people currently live either in the kingdom of this world or the Kingdom of God.
God has made a way for people to be rescued from sin through Jesus Christ, Giglio noted, and those who have accepted His plan of salvation “have been transferred out of darkness into the Kingdom of His Son.”
Brandon Bryant is based in Lynchburg, Va. With reporting by Rick Hoganson of Hoganson Media in Nashville, Tenn.