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College Students Start the Year with Passion


While most college students are still enjoying the last days of their winter break sleeping in, over 20,000 young adults from all over the world gathered at Atlanta’s Philips Arena this weekend to be challenged on their spiritual wal with God at the first of three Passion 2015 conferences.

College students spent each day of the weekend in sessions of teaching and worship led by notable Christian speakers and worship leaders.

On the opening day, students filled bins with thousands of 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 Passion City Church’s Pastor of Community Brad Jones of the initiative as the first session began.

In the past few years, the students at the Passion Conferences have given more than $7 million to provide awareness, prevention, rescue and restoration to fight modern-day slavery.  
Friday night’s session started with a digital conversation, posing questions on the screen ranging from “Who has never been to Passion before?” to the heavier, “Have you experienced heartbreak this year?” Students responded with a glittering display of cellphone lights and vulnerability.

Atlanta-based pastor of Passion City Church and Founder of the Passion movement Louie Giglio shared a message on the depth of the meaning of Jesus Christ’s final word on the cross, “Tetelestai,” which in Greek means “It is finished.”

“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.” By this, Giglio explained the Christian belief that when Jesus died, He died so all mankind could have eternal life.

Other sessions this weekend included talks by renowned speakers Carl Lentz, John Piper, Ben Stuart and Francis Chan. Attendees took so social media using #Passion2015 to share quotes from the messages.  One of the most quoted messages was Chan's message on prayer, "Something is wrong when we don't long to be with Jesus."

Other familiar faces this weekend were members of The Passion Band including Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill and Brett Younker who opened each day in worship with songs from recent years like “Take it All” and “God of Angel Armies.” The band also introduced new songs, soon to be released on this year’s Passion album.

Passion Conferences has been uniting college students around the world for the past 18 years, hosting 50 events in 16 countries. Registered attendees for the three Passion Conferences in 2015 represent more than 1,000 universities and 41 different countries. The three events are being held at the Philips Arena in Atlanta on Jan. 2-4 and Jan. 16-18 and in Houston at the Toyota Center on Jan. 30-Feb. 1. It takes more than 1,000 volunteers to pull off each event, a massive donation of time by individuals from across the globe.

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