Passion City Church and the Passion Conference movement, led by Louie and Shelley Giglio, Chris Tomlin, and others is a full-fledged contagious epidemic amongst Christian students. And the contagion is infecting older adults as well. On Good Friday, April 6th, I was privileged to be part of the sold-out-weeks-in-advance crowd of 12,500 for a night of worship.
The parking lots were to open at 5:30 PM, gates at 6:30 PM, and the worship was to begin at 7:30 PM. We arrived to park at 5:00 PM thinking we were early. There were already hundreds of cars in the lot we parked in. We were probably 2,000 deep in line 2 hours and 15 minutes before the night was to begin. Once the gates finally opened, the line was literally about a mile long!
Things have changed quite a bit since my first Christian music concert in 1987 when I was one of 125 people who listened to Cynthia Clauson at First Baptist Church Cartersville (GA).
So why is the Passion movement so strong amongst Christian students and their parents? Are there principles that churches could implement for their weekly gatherings? I think so. Here are nine observations:
The Person – The focus is on nothing but Jesus. It’s all about Jesus! It is all about the cross and how that translates into our lives having freedom. The music is about Jesus. The sermon is about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus.
The Message – Each week, Louie challenges people with hard truth but does it in such a way as people say, “You know, I need to change. I want Jesus in my life.” If I can put it this way, Louie can tell people they are going to hell but does not sound like he enjoys telling you that. Listening to him makes me want to make changes in my life.
The Application – Louie and his team made the outcome of Good Friday (personal freedom through Jesus Christ) a reality in the world in which we live. There are currently 27 million people trapped in slavery worldwide. This cannot happen. Christians will no longer stand for the injustice of slavery. It is this generation that will stand up, rescue, and give freedom to those who have no voice.
Memorable Events – What is your church doing that people will remember and talk about all week? In other words, what are you doing that is “sticky.” As a special surprise guest, Julia Immonen told her inspiring story of being part of a 5-women crew who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds and awareness for the end of human trafficking and global slavery. To hear her incredible story, click the video above or go to www.RowForFreedom.com.
A Chance To Make A Difference – Louie did an incredible job of casting the vision for two halfway houses for 12-17 year old girls in Atlanta and overseas who are rescued from sex slavery. For a variety of reasons these young ladies cannot immediately re-enter the public schools and need a place for healing and transition. A special offering was taken up as thereÂ is $250,000 of additional funding needed for these homes. To provide financial support to these and other ministry needs that address slavery, go to 72 Days For Freedom to see how you can get involved. Everyone can do something. Julia used sports to help raise funds to end this heinous injustice. I can use my website. What can you do?
A Leadership Team – I was impressed the entire evening did not need to revolve around one person. The opening set flowed seamlessly as Tomlin, Christy Nockels, and Kristian Stanfill each led various portions of the worship. The amazing David Crowder also led an incredible set later in the evening. Leadership teams affect more people than single individuals.
Something New – Passion City Church is the American Hillsong. The world’s music is partly flowing out of this church. People love being early adopters and the first to experience new things. What have you launched that is new at your church recently?
Word Of Mouth – Few groups communicate with each other and can spread the contagion of the gospel like students. If churches are intentional about “being a church for young people,” speaking to young people, doing music and programming that addresses the needs of young people, your church will become contagious (that’s revival for you older people). Also, guess who pays for student activities and drives them to these events? That is right – their parents who you will get also.
It Is Fun – Life is stressful enough already. Church should be challenging but at the same time an absolute blast! If you have services and activities that do not raise the fun quotient for people, they will not return. For a picture of what that looks like, watch the video below.
The Person , The Message, The Application, Memorable Events, Making A Difference, Leadership Teams, Something New, Word Of Mouth, and Fun. If you have theseÂ nine components as part of your gatherings, your church could become a contagious epidemic as well.
Are you missing any of these? If so, which ones.
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