More than 50,000 18-25 year olds from 90 countries and all 50 states packed the Atlanta Georgia Dome for Passion 2017, an annual conference bringing young adults from around the globe together to proclaim the name of God, with daily sessions featuring renowned speakers and artists. Returning to The Georgia Dome for the first time in four years, the three-day conference kicked off Monday, Jan. 2 and concluded Wednesday, Jan. 4, marking one of the final events held at the arena before its planned demolition this year.
Spearheaded by Passion Founders Louie and Shelley Giglio, attendees heard from Christine Caine, Beth Moore, John Piper, Levi Lusko, Francis Chan and Katherine and Jay Wolf while joining in worship led by Passion Band (helmed by Kristian Stanfill, Brett Younker and Melodie Malone), Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels and Hillsong UNITED. To the surprise of all guests, multi-platinum selling Carrie Underwood joined GRAMMY nominated Crowder on stage Monday night and performed her No. 1 hit single "Something In The Water" to an enthusiastic crowd.
Surrounding the worship at Passion is an emphasis on giving back, and the conference has raised more than $17 million for various philanthropic efforts over the years. This year, attendees participated in an endeavor to Make History Together. Students in attendance united in sponsoring more than 7,000 children through Compassion International, fulfilling all sponsorships in the countries of El Salvador, Rwanda, Tanzania and Indonesia as well as hundreds in Bolivia.
Students have also continued to fight modern-day slavery through support of The END IT Movement along with gathering tens of thousands of new towels and socks for local Atlanta homeless shelters. Working as the heartbeat behind the worshipful event, 2,500 individuals have volunteered their time as the conference’s Door Holders, opening a way for attendees to see and experience Jesus.
An early copy of The Jesus Bible (Passion Publishing, Zondervan) was given to each Passion-goer. The Jesus Bible, released Jan. 3, is filled with 66 book introductions, over 1,000 articles and seven compelling essays by Giglio who served as the general editor, alongside Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias and Randy Alcorn, helping readers follow the thread of Jesus from cover to cover. To learn more and to access a 365-day reading plan featuring devotionals from The Jesus Bible, visit TheJesusBible.com.
For the first time, Passion opened up the night sessions for Passion Alumni and adults over the age of 25, celebrating what God has done in the lives of people during 20 years of Passion. Passion's 2018 conference will be held in Atlanta's Philips Arena.
[Images courtesy of Phil Sanders & Bobby Russell]
Passion Conference Images HERE