This week, over 44,000 college-aged young adults took over downtown Atlanta for Passion 2012. I was humbled to be a part of the 53 people who went with CCW. I cannot even begin to tell you how great this year’s gathering was. There is nothing like worshipping with thousands of young people for a few days. Based on what I am reading in the twitter-verse, students from all across the US will be going back to their homes, campuses, etc fired up and ready to do something big for the fame of Jesus. And here-in lies the problem that many pastors and leaders will have to deal with as a result of Passion.
What is that problem? Simply, it is difficult to attend a gathering like Passion and then look at the ministry of the Church the same way. Many young people will go back to their churches, campus ministries, etc with a lot of passion and hope for more dynamic ministry to happen. Leaders will have several coffees over the next few weeks where a young person is gonna demand to “do something now”. They are going to cry for stronger worship gatherings and a deeper commitment to justice in Jesus’ name. They may even ask that the Bible Study have more depth and theological grounding. All of that and maybe more will happen because 44K+ young people showed up at the Georgia Dome for 4 days in January.
Some leaders will hear all of this passion and desire for dynamic ministry as criticism. They will reduce it to the typical conference high and wait for that young adult to get distracted by the cares of the college/twenty-something life. They will find 50 reasons why music cannot get better, justice cannot be pursued and vision cannot be clarified. Worst of all, they will allow the flame that got lit at Passion to dim or even burn out so that the problem caused by Passion will just go away. But what if it does not go away…
What if young people had more than a conference high? What if the Holy Spirit deposited a deep desire for God’s name and renown to be known in the world? What if the hearts of thousands of college students got exponentially bigger across those 4 days…so big that the lusts and temptations of this life got dramatically smaller? What if these young people never stop asking for churches to clarify their vision and never stop being willing to make sacrifices for the cause of the Kingdom?
You see, if the passion caught at Passion never dies, Church as we know it will have to change. And that is the problem that I am thankful for and praying for. May the young people who were set ablaze during this year’s gathering never get tired of doing whatever it takes to spread the fame of Jesus — and may their leaders, churches and ministries welcome their passion with open arms. Keep raising that white flag kids!