From January 2-5, over 22,000 18-25 year olds, mostly college students, gathered in Atlanta, GA, at Passion 2011 for a time of spiritual renewal, equipping, and mobilization. The Passion Conferences, led by Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin among others, have become the world’s most influential spiritual movement for students.
At each conference, these young people are challenged to address global social justice issues with their service and financial resources. Now, I want you to remember when you were in college. How much money did you have? I remember attending Kennesaw State and going to Arby’s was a special treat.
What I love about Louie is how much he believes in and challenges young people with a compelling, life-changing vision. So how did these college students respond financially? The following information can be found in the cover of the amazing Passion 2011 CD, Here for You:
- Goal: To fund 50 surgeries for children in Uganda. Given: 141 surgeries!
- Goal: Finance 200 small business loans for Afghan entrepreneurs. Given: 387 loans!
- Goal: 15 clean water wells for villages in India. Given: 24 wells!
- Goal: 20,000 New Testament Bibles for the unchurched in Columbia. Given: 31,554 New Testaments!
- Goal: To fund 10 rescue operations to free slaves in the Philippines. Given: 29 rescue operations!
- Goal: Restoration and a future for 10 girls trapped in sex slavery in Bolivia. Given: 22 girls rescued and restored!
- Goal: Feed 1,000 at-risk children in South Africa for a year. Given: Feeding 2,225 children!
- Goal: Sponsor 150 children and provide family essentials. Given: 442 children sponsored!
- Goal: Build 15 homes in Haiti. Given: 39 homes!
- And they also provided 18,400 towels and 88,000 pairs of socks for Atlanta shelters.
This was all provided by college students over the span of four days!
Pastors and church leaders, I no longer believe that ministry should be stifled because your people supposedly cannot give. How can college students who literally have no money demonstrate that level of generosity, but those in our churches are unable to?
The reality is that there is a leadership crisis in churches. I fear that we simply do not have the courage or a compelling enough vision that will cause people to respond and sacrifice. If our people will not sacrifice financially, leadership is forced to ask a series of difficult questions:
- Have they been taught what the Bible says about money and possessions?
- Does our church have a compelling vision worth giving towards?
- When resources are given to our church, do they go to change human life, or do they go to maintenance?
- Do we need to expand the worldview of those in our churches?
- Have I personally modeled sacrificial giving and a deep, heartfelt concern for the poor, under-resourced, marginalized, and enslaved?
Pastors and church leaders, it starts with you. That is the price of leadership. People do what people see. Those in our churches have money. They will give it to entertainment, flat screen televisions, cars, clothes, etcetera. Or they can give it to their church where they can make an investment that will change the world.
If college students can give over $500,000 in four days to change the world, so can we.