January 2-5, thousands of college students will gather for Passion '05, presented by Passion Conferences, at the Gaylord Arena in Nashville.
Speakers include Louie Giglio (founder and director of Passion Conferences), pastor and author John Piper, as well as Bible teacher and author Beth Moore. Passion's "lead worshippers" include Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman and Shane and Shane.
This conference is specifically designed for college students, those between the ages of 18 and 26 years of age. They will spend four days worshipping together and learning what it really means to live for the glory of God.
"The heartbeat of Passion is living for the glory of God -- specifically, a generation of students living radically for Christ," Giglio said. "If we're honest, phrases like 'living for His glory' can easily lose their meaning, a concept that on any given day is detached from the reality of our lives. Words are cheap. Life is hard. Making our lives count for what matters most is a worthy goal, and it is a serious proposition and concept that must be thoroughly absorbed if our lives are going to be shaped by and for His renown."
Giglio's roots in college ministry date back to 1985 when he established Choice Bible Study at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. After graduating from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, he pursued further graduate studies at Baylor.
Giglio began Passion Conferences in 1995 under the non-profit umbrella of Choice Ministries. His passion is to reach the 80 percent of America's 16 million college students who do not have a personal relationship with Christ and to deepen the discipleship of Christian students. Passion's theme verse is Isaiah 26:8, which says, "Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the desire of our hearts."
In 1996, Giglio sought the help of 25 like-minded campus ministry leaders from around the nation. In January 1997, the first Passion Conference was held in Austin, Texas, with about 2,000 students attending.
The following year, 5,000 attended a similar event. At Passion '99, the Forth Worth Convention Center (in Fort Worth, Texas) was filled with 11,500 students from six continents.
One of the key messages at Passion events focuses on worship being more than a song, but a lifestyle that glorifies God. The setting at Passion Conferences is designed to strengthen a believer's relationship with Christ, and participants come eager to serve God and seek God's will for their lives.
A special feature of Passion '05 will be smaller "breakout" sessions, called "Community Groups," "Family Groups" and "Late Nights" which will be held in various venues throughout downtown Nashville -- within walking distance from the arena. The Community and Family Groups are designed to allow students to discuss the Bible studies and teachings throughout the week in small group environments, and the Late Night sessions give students a chance to "hang out" after the evening session ends each night. Speakers and lead worshippers will join each Late Night session.
"The beauty of Passion '05 is that not only will students worship together in an arena packed with thousands of faces representing campuses from every corner of the nation, they will have the chance to sit and process what God is doing in their lives with a small group of students they can connect with," Tomlin explained.
For more information about Passion '05, please visit: www.268generation.com
Leann Callaway is a Dallas-based freelance writer.