Conference coming for students seeking passion

Charlie Hall
Charlie Hall will lead worship Monday at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, located at 1300 Columbus Ave., during the Passion 2012 University Tour.
Courtesy Photo

By Grace Gaddy

Passion is coming to Waco.

The Passion 2012 University Tour, which is traveling to 12 college cities across America, will arrive on Monday.

The tour will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Columbus Avenue Baptist Church and will feature acclaimed Christian artists Kristian Stanfill and Charlie Hall.

The goal of the tour is to “prepare the way” for the 2012 Passion Conference to be held Jan. 2-5 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. More than 35,000 people are expected to attend.

Charlie Hall, who has led worship with Passion since the first conference in 1997, said it has been incredible to watch something start out “in baby stages” and grow into such a dynamic movement.

“We really just stepped into a stream of what God was already doing,” he said.

The Passion conferences feed a movement seeking to engage college students with the message of Jesus and how he is working around the world.

“We really want to spread the fame of Jesus Christ across the world,” Hall said.

For most adults, college years hold great potential, he said.

“College students are in this incredible moment where they’re passionate and they’re ready to run with something,” Hall said.

That zeal can take flight through involvement in Do Something Now, a movement highlighted at the Passion conferences in which participants are encouraged to embody a “force for good” in the world.

Since 2007, nearly $5 million has been given to mobilize various causes across the globe.

These causes include the digging of wells, the freeing of slaves, feeding of the hungry, translating Scripture and more.

This year, Hall said the conference’s missional focus will be seeking the end of human trafficking.

“I’m really excited about it. I feel like that’s something close to God’s heart,” Hall said. “I feel like He’s going to blow us away when college students get ahold of God’s heart.”

Hall said he is looking forward to seeing passion arise in Waco during the tour.

The tour will include worship led by both Hall and Stanfill and a special live video message from Passion founder and Baylor alumnus Louie Giglio.

Hall said during the tour and the conference, his goal is to get people into the presence of God.

“The presence of God does everything,” he said. “It opens our hearts, it heals us, it causes us to look up and it convicts us. It brings repentance, it draws out our prayers [and] it draws out our worship.”

Hall said he hopes students enjoy the music, but his ultimate goal is “the presence of God and the power of God.”

“That’s kind of beyond what any human has to offer, so I just keep asking God for it,” Hall said.

Arlington senior Ryan Guadagnolo said he looks forward to experiencing both the tour on Monday and the national conference in January.

“Going to a Passion event really opens your eyes to a lot of stuff, and you end up wanting to give back to a lot of people,” he said.

Movements like Do Something Now provide a great way for students to get involved and give back, he said.

“The truth is that we’re so blessed, and we have been given so much. And what Passion does is they encourage us to realize that and then to give back to those who God loves just as much but they just haven’t been given as much,” Guadagnolo said.

Overall, the conference seeks to turn real passion into action, and the tour is spreading the word, he said.

Guadagnolo serves as one of the leaders with Vertical Ministries, the nondenominational, student-led ministry hosting Waco’s leg of the tour.

The tour began Sept. 20 in Madison, Wis., at the University of Wisconsin and will continue through Oct. 24, ending at Virginia Tech.

Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased online at

Hall said he looks forward to seeing what God will do that night.

“We would love for an awesome great group to come out and hang out with us that night and seek God, knowing that He’s with us,” he said. “So I’m super excited to get out there to Waco and to Baylor.”