When Christians come to town, good things happen

January 5, 2007 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment

It’s an introvert’s nightmare: 24,000 Christian college students converging on several blocks of downtown Atlanta for 3 days of eating together, singing together, attending lectures together, worshipping together, praying together, and generally being together most every waking moment.

passion07.pngIf you haven’t heard of it, the event is called Passion 07, and it’s the eleventh in a series of annual conferences designed to bring college students together as a body united for God’s renown.

I just returned this afternoon after attending for the first time. The speakers were good and the music was good (if unnecessarily loud), but the thing that most excited me was how the organizers made use of the massive influx of students to make a very positive, tangible impact on the community of Atlanta.

The Passion crew checked around with homeless shelters in the area to find out what items were most needed at the shelters on a daily basis. The answer: towels and socks.

passion07-2.pngSo the organizers asked every Passion attendee to bring one new towel and one new pair of socks to contribute to the cause. I never heard the official count of how many socks and towels were collected, but the mammoth mounds of cotton and polyester fluff bundled and readied in various corners of the conference center proved that there had been a major response.

This is a brilliant idea.

Ordinarily, if Atlanta hosted a 3-day event drawing 24,000 college students, the city would probably expect a raucous, party-loving crowd of people who would bring their jolly selves for the duration of the event and leave the city nothing but candy wrappers and beer bottles when they left.

This event sent a rather different message: when Christians come to Atlanta, good things happen. They give a major gift back to the city. They leave the city a better place than they found it.

If only every encounter with Christians left the world with this same impression.

(Photo credit: Passion Conferences)


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profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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