Organizers say more than 22,000 people attended the four-day Passion Conference in Atlanta in 2010.
Over the years, Passion has morphed into a movement made up of educated, young Christians who call themselves the 268 Generation. Based on a passage from Isaiah 26: 8 that says “... your name and your renown are the desire of our souls,” the message forms the backbone of Giglio’s ministry to “make Jesus famous.”
The shows are also famous for producing sought-after recordings and bringing music like Tomlin's into the spotlight. At each conference, Tomlin debuts new songs. He also will perform tracks from his latest album, "And If Our God Is for Us ...," released in November.
"In the early days, we’d just press record and see what happened," he said. "Then people started wanting these records like crazy."
Giglio founded sixstepsrecords in 2000 and has partnered with EMI to distribute numerous live recordings from Passion events as well as to release studio albums. The conferences also have spawned the church (a permanent home is expected to open near Buckhead in the middle of 2011), world tours and one-day festivals.
“Passion is really such a good word for it,” Tomlin said. “It’s more than just a conference, it’s a launching pad for so many students to be engaged in the world. The college moment is so pivotal. Decisions are made that set a course for your life. We want to be there standing at that moment."
Passion 2011. Jan. 1-4. $219. Philips Arena and Georgia World Congress Center. www.268generation.com.