I’ve never been one to lament that the future of the Christian church rests in the hands of those from Generation X, Y or now Z.
Maybe that’s because I’ve always believed there are great leaders and bright lights in every age and stage of life – you just need to know where to look!
Esther Fleece, Focus on the Family’s Director of Millennial Relations, is one such leader, and she’s helped Focus partner with many like-minded ministries dedicated, as we are, to reaching the next generation.
She recently returned from the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Esther attended as an invited guest of Louie and Shelley Giglio, the founders of the “Passion Movement” or the “268 Generation.”
Louie Giglio originally launched “Choice Ministries” in 1985 as a campus-based student ministry at Baylor University. It quickly grew from a small Bible study to the national youth movement it is today.
What’s it all about? From their website:
From the beginning Passion has been rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8: “Yes Lord, walking in the way of Your truth we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and renown are the desire of our souls.”
Passion seeks to gather college and university students across the nation and around the world to seek the face of God, asking Him to ignite in our souls a passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ and a desire to spread His fame to everyone on earth.
We believe God is calling out a generation of college students committed to the glory of His name in all things. God longs to bring awakening to every campus, mobilizing the students of today to finish the task of global evangelization in this generation. God is calling us out for this purpose, in this moment, for His renown.
The goals of the Passion Movement are strikingly practical and simple. In addition to encouraging youth to draw closer to the Lord, Passion invites people to “Do Something Now.” At the conference Esther attended, 22,000 young people were encouraged to give financially to ten distinct causes and charities. Featured organizations included Compassion International, Hope International and Haiti Transformed.
They hoped to raise $500,000 and wound up with $1.2 million.
“You have to remember how challenging it is,” Esther reflected, “to raise money from poor college students. These are kids who eat Ramen Noodles and cold beans out of a can!”
Whenever and wherever Passion holds a conference, organizers operate on a simple principle: When they leave the city, they want the city to be in better shape than they found it. This time around, attendees were asked to bring socks and towels for distribution to 55 of Atlanta’s homeless shelters. By the end of the 4-day conference, they had collected 18,400 towels and 88,000 pairs of socks.
I’m well aware of the cultural challenges before us, and yet I share Esther’s optimism. The Lord holds and controls everything, including all time and space. We need not be anxious about the future.
Or better yet – instead of marking it as “Give” – how about marking it as “Do Something Now – for the Lord”