Despite recent surveys claiming the U.S. is becoming less religious, especially among young people, Christian Millennials are coming out in droves to the Passion 2017 conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
When millennials gather to protest at events such as Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter, the media hammers it home and turns it into a national lead story.
When tens of thousands of young Christians gather to make a statement, it doesn’t seem to garner near as much attention.
Getting 50,000+ people to attend anything is noteworthy, let alone what is essentially a bunch of young people going to church. The media has been quick to report and highlight the number of those leaving faith, but don’t seem as enthusiastic when the reverse is happening.
What’s happening this week in Atlanta is a huge statement. For young people of faith to come out and stand so boldly, especially in a culture increasingly hostile to those who profess it, shows there is more to the story than just a study or two claiming religion is dying.
This conference, while it’s been around for decades, also comes at a time when young people are increasingly disassociating from partisan politics. Survey after survey shows the Millennial generation – and those even younger – are much more drawn to actions over arguments, and would rather be part of the solution than a political party.
The Passion conference actually has roots in a simple weekly Bible study started by Louie Giglio and his wife Shelley back in 1985. He had just finished seminary, and focusing on students was an area of great interest for the couple.
The study grew rapidly and became a large and popular gathering, but in 1995 Louie and his wife had to leave their Waco, TX home and move to Atlanta due to a family illness.
Uprooting everything they knew, Louie prayed on the flight to Atlanta and asked God what the plan for his life was. Two years later, he had the answer: a national gathering of Christian college students called Passion Conferences.
The first conference was in Austin, TX and in the two decades since it’s gone massively global.
One of the primary focuses on the event is not just to go and be filled, but to go out and make a difference. They’ve raised millions to fight sex trafficking with the ‘End it Now’ campaign. Everyone brings clothing to donate for the local homeless.
The event perfectly taps into the desire of todays young people who are looking for answers – about meaning, purpose, life. The secular humanist agenda that dominates institutions of higher learning isn’t satisfying those answers. In fact, it often presents a view that not only doesn’t explain purpose and meaning, it outright says there is no meaning to life.
That’s what happens when God is removed from the picture – the reason for existing goes out the window, too. Without God there simply is no point to doing good deeds. Darwin’s survival of the fittest would make more sense in a god-less world, but that sort of animalistic thinking grates on our souls like nails on a chalkboard. Secularists know this, and often attempt to borrow meaning and purpose from the Christian ethos (while removing God), but they haven’t been able to make it stick.
In the meantime, many are finding hope and meaning at Passion conferences all around the globe and this year in 2017. You can livestream some of the events and speakers at their website, 268Generation.com/passion2017.