The Passion Conference

More than 65,000 college-age adults attending the Passion Conference rung in the New Year with worship led by Hillsong UNITED.

Over the New Year holiday, my wife and I had the opportunity to take our 18-year-old daughter’s High School Ministry small group to the Passion Conference in Atlanta. The Passion Conference is an annual gathering of 18- to 25-year-olds who come together to worship Christ and be inspired to make a difference with their generation for the Kingdom of God.

The conference included teaching by John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, Tim Tebow, Sadie Robertson and Louie Giglio. The worship sessions were led by Passion, Elevation Worship and Hillsong UNITED. It was absolutely incredible getting to ring in a new decade with 65,000 college-age students at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on New Year’s Eve. You heard that right, 65,000!

Although the conference was geared for college-age students, I took a ton of notes and left tremendously inspired and encouraged. I had two main takeaways from our trip that I wanted to pass along to you.

First, there are more 20-somethings who love and are committed to the mission of Jesus Christ than I thought. And not only in a stadium in Atlanta, but all around us.

This generation is a passionate multitude and carries more zeal and desire for obedience to Christ than I have seen in my 20-plus years of ministry.

My second takeaway is a need for older generations to pour into this age group.

With all of the zeal and passion these students bring into a new decade, many of them lack the wisdom that comes with journeying deeply with God for years. Older generations have more life experience; they’ve worked through more challenges and learned from past mistakes. If we would marry the wisdom of older generations with the zeal of this current generation, it could be a powerful force for the Kingdom of God.

I would ask older readers who have walked with God for some years to consider reaching out to this new generation in the “roaring twenties.”

They are ready; they just need someone to ask. This might be asking to meet with a student for coffee. It might be finding out how to serve in Southeast’s College-Age Ministry or starting with middle school or high school. Maybe it’s taking time to have intentional conversations with your nephew or niece, or your neighbor’s child when they come home from college.

It can be intimidating to make the initial move, but shouldn’t it be the responsibility of an older generation to reach out and connect with the younger generation? As someone who spends a lot of time with this generation, I can tell you they are hungry for discipleship and for older adults to take an interest in their spiritual development.

Many of them come from homes with no spiritual leadership. They need mature, Christian adults to share the knowledge, wisdom, encouragement, obedience and love that come from a lifetime of following Christ.

Lastly, I would encourage you to pray for them. We are dependent on them for the future of the church. It doesn’t take much to recognize that our culture is ready for an awakening, and one day—today even—these 20-somethings will be the people who God uses to let Himself be known in our world.

The Lion of Judah is ready to roar. He’s ready for every tribe and tongue to bow down and worship the One true King. Let us do our part to prepare ourselves and those around us for His coming.

Dave Spruell leads the Support and Recovery Ministry at Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus.