...it was still able to bring God’s presence to people in their own homes.
The Passion Conference, directed toward college students, is an annual worship and church gathering provided by Passion City Church. The conferences have grown in size and popularity over the past twenty years and now have an average of 50,000 young adults attending per year. However, the conference looked a bit different this year due to COVID-19 precautions.
Due to the potential dangers of such a massive attendance, the Passion staff had to make the decision to broadcast Passion ‘21 online this year. This change deprived viewers of the experience with the loud music, lights and live speakers, but it did not take away from God’s presence, and it allowed participants outside of the targeted age group to be involved.
“They say it’s made for ages 18-25, but I feel like it’s a really cool experience, and everyone needs to hear it,” said sophomore Joel Esasky. “You can’t really be too young to benefit from it.”
Although the conference was unable to meet in-person for 2021, it was still able to bring God’s presence to people in their own homes.
“It was really impactful because my sister has been able to go for the past three years, so it was really fun to watch it with her, not have to wait for it to come out on YouTube and just watch it live with my family and get to reflect on it,” said freshman Mabry Looper.
The two-session online event took place Dec. 31, 2020 and ended around 1 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021. This year’s conference was led by Passion founders Louie and Shelly Giglio and the Passion band. Passion 2021 also provided insight from guests Christian and Sadie Huff, Christine Caine, Crowder, Priscilla Shirer, Sean Curran and others. Over 750,000 people were able to connect online, including the 600 participants who were hosted onsite at the two Passion locations for the live conference. Both locations followed strict COVID-19 guidelines to make it safe for these few guests.
It is evident that the inability of the conference to meet in person somewhat degraded the overall brilliance but did not drastically change the outcome or the goal of the event.
“I think the virtual aspect took away a little bit because being in person is a completely different atmosphere...but I think they still did a good job presenting it in the best way they could,” said Esasky.
“Personally, I don’t think it took away from the experience,” Looper said. “It almost added because more people were able to watch it live, and we could view at the comfort of our own homes and take our own time with it. I think they did a really good job with managing COVID guidelines.”