Faith and Philanthropy: Passion 2016 conference in Atlanta

By: Shelia Poole

Published: Sunday, January 3, 2016

By the end of Passion 2016, there will be mounds of socks and towels - all destined for homeless shelters across the metro area and elsewhere.

Money will be raised to help build a hospital for at risk-mothers and children in war-torn Syria.

Through it all, though, thousands of young adults gathered at Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta and the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth will leave stronger in their Christian faith.

This is Passion 2016, a series of Christian-based conferences founded byAtlanta pastor Louie Giglio in 1997 to reach millions of college students around the world.

It’s become a bit of a youth-inspired movement that includes world tours, regional events and a stirring outreach ministry.

In all, more than 40,000 are expected to attend the conferences in Atlanta and Houston, which run through Monday. Tickets are sold out.

Passion 2016 will be live and live-streamed simultaneously in three locations. Each venue will have live worship music in every session—with all bands traveling between locations—and attendees will experience teaching from two speakers live while seeing the others via live-stream.

Among those attending: John Piper, Christine Caine, Ravi Zacharias and Levi Lusko. Worship leaders and bands will include Passion Band, Chris Tomlin, Crowder and Melodie Malone, along with special guests Hillsong United and Rend Collective.

In the past few years, students have donated $8 million to fight modern-day slavery through “The End It” Movement, assisting in awareness, prevention, rescue and restoration. This year, students will also donate money to build a hospital in Syria.

This year’s conferences will set the stage for Passion 2017, which is expected to draw more than 60,000 college students to the Georgia Dome.