20 Leadership Lessons All Christians Can Learn From Passion 2012
Passion is the greatest move of God in America since Promise Keepers in the mid-90s. When over 40,000 college students and high school seniors converged on the Georgia Dome the first week of January, I was one of the additional 40,000+ who sat nightly riveted as I watched the conference via streaming video.
As I have pondered the event, the following are the key leadership lessons I feel everyone in Christian leadership should apply. Also, if you have not donated to the Freedom Fund, immediately go to www.dosomethingnow.com to be part of freeing the 27 million people trapped in slavery around the world.
- Jesus – The thing I most appreciate about the Passion Conferences, Passion City Church, and anyone associated with their ministry is that everything is Christ-centered. In every activity, song, message, and deliverable, it’s all about Jesus.
- Starts With The Leader – Louie and Shelley Giglio are immersed in Jesus Christ, the next generation, and social justice. There is a singular focus to their lives and their commitment, compounded over time and with the grace of God, has resulted into what we now experience.
- Excellence – As Bill Hybels has said, “Excellence honors God and inspires people.”
- Redefining Worship – I had the privilege of attending Passion City Church this past Sunday evening after the conference. I’m paraphrasing but Louie said, “Worship is not music. Worship is living a life surrendered to Jesus that results in serving the poor.”
- Small Beginnings – Passion actually began as a small bible study with just a handful of college kids seeking God. Never despise small beginnings.
- A Great Team That Has Stability - The team assembled at Passion (staff, musicians, group leaders, volunteers, doorkeepers) are 2nd to none. In addition, most of those in key leadership roles have been together for over a decade.
- Quality Partnerships – The team at Passion vetted, partnered with, and fully resourced six organizations that are addressing slavery around the world.
- Start Early - With the help of the Passion college tour throughout the previous year, the event was well promoted and gave young people time to save money to donate to the causes that touched their heart.
- The Potential Of Youth – On Sunday evening Louie also said, “I would have never asked adults to give $1 million. I would have only asked college kids.” Because of their faith, energy, idealism and lack of clutter, young people respond to a compelling vision in a more whole-hearted and sacrificial manner than adults. After watching this conference, I don’t think there is anything this generation can’t do if they so desire.
- Make The Vision Visual – The creative team at Passion did an incredible job of telling the stories of those trapped in slavery in graphic detail. They did not attempt to sanitize the issue.
- Unfiltered Information - People respond to truth, a vital need, and urgency. Whether it was the uncomfortable and sometimes graphic stories of those in slavery or the non-apologetic communication from the Bible, all of us, regardless of the age, desire and respond best to unfiltered information.
- Make Giving Personal – The students had to stand in line, sometimes for as long as 90 minutes, to financially support their causes. This created a deep sense of responsibility and mission.
- Make Giving Electronic – Unless prepared for in advance, we are largely a cashless society. The www.268generation.com website contained easy-to-use online giving options for those watching the video.
- Provide Frequent Measurable Updates – People are down on what they are not up on. By Louie constantly providing specific updates on the progress of reaching their financial goals, he generated momentum and a sense of urgency.
- Adults Engage After Results – This was my biggest learning from the conference. After the students far exceeded the $1 million goal by raising $2,566,670 to end global slavery, an adult couple who was present were so moved by their generosity they donated an additional $500,000 to clear $3 million to address this horrific need. Young people responded to vision. Adults responded to vision but only after significant results. This learning is changing how I view fundraising.
- Celebrate Results – Great leaders throw great parties. They prioritize the celebration of what God has done.
- Provide Something New – New generates momentum. I always look forward to the Passion Conferences in part because of the new music that will be coming out.
- Orchestrate Memorable Events – Memorable events make the message and the experience stick. I will never forget the sight of over 40,000 students in a candlelight vigil in the plaza between the Georgia Dome and World Congress Center by a 9-story story hand depicting the reality of slavery. I will also never forget the How Great Is God song performed by Chris Tomlin and many international artists.
- Create Community – Passion emphasizes their Community Groups as being as important as the events inside the Dome. They understand the value of creating environments where people can do life together.
- Others – Any great work of God benefits those beyond your immediate circle. Countless workers at the Dome and surrounding areas gave their life to Christ. Many officers from the Atlanta Police Department took their own time and worked the night shift because “we are going to take care of these kids.” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was presented a check for $100,000 to launch a SVU unit to address child sex-trafficking in Atlanta. I could go on and on.
Those are the leadership lessons I learned from the incredible Passion 2012 event. What were your takeaways?
Passion 2013 will see you next year at The Georgia Dome with over 71,000 in attendance.
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