Passion 2017

This was the third year of leading a large group to Passion. Passion 2015 our group was 31 students and 3 leaders. Passion 2016 our group was 50 students and 5 leaders! And for Passion 2017 our group was 50 students and 5 leaders! You may be asking yourself, what is Passion?  Here is a promo video for what takes place in case you don’t know.

Passion calls students from campuses across the nation and around the world to live for what matters most. What matters most is the name and renown of Jesus. I believe in this generation and I love getting a front row seat to watch God use them to change the climate of faith around the globe.

Here within the post, you’ll see personal stories of students and leaders from this year’s group and how God moved throughout their life during Passion. If you (or you know someone who) would like to join our amazing group for Passion 2018 please send me an email (info@craighewittphotography.com) to get on the mailing list. Passion is for high school seniors to 25 year olds and their leaders. How awesome would it be to take a group of 100 students from SC to lift up the name of Jesus with other fellow believers at Passion 2018?!?!? Let’s make it happen!  #TeamJesus

Being able to attend Passion 2017 was probably one of the most amazing things I have ever gotten to experience! It was such a God thing that I was able to attend and be apart of such an amazing group! One of the craziest things that most people don’t know is that Craig asked me multiple times to come to Passion with him but I kept saying no. I would always find an excuse or just simply say I wasn’t interested in attending. So finally after him asking me again I said yes to going. And I am so glad that I said yes. Every song and every message spoke to me in many different ways. Each speaker and each band brought something different to the table for me. God spoke to me through the messages and through the songs. He assured me that everything in my life was going to be okay and that His plans are indeed higher than our own. I think one of the greatest things I got to experience was when we lit up the Georgia Dome with the flashlights off of our phones. God spoke to me so much in this moment. As I looked around the dome and saw that 55,000+ students were using the flashlights off there phones I realized that I am the light. We each have our own light that comes from God. And that us showing our light could lead to others showing their light. And if we all begin to show our light then our whole world will be a light. And then our entire world would be a huge light for God. And that would just be simply amazing! It was just amazing to see that 55,000 phone flashlights could light up the Georgia Dome. And it made me think…what could one light in my school do? Or what could one light on my team do? Or what could one light in my community do? God told me to simply : BE THE LIGHT. ~ Hannah Davis

Passion 2017 presented an opportunity for me to, again, see The Lord’s faithfulness. I stepped into the week expecting Jesus to do great things but I had no idea the freedom He was gonna give me. Before leaving for Passion I had taken a step away from God, choosing to fulfill my own desires rather than trusting God to give me His. During the first night of worship, I felt freedom that I’ve never felt before. I stood in awe of the forgiveness Jesus gives. He fulfills my desires. He fulfills my heart. He fulfills my prayers. Stepping into a building with 55,000 other Christians was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The Holy Spirit’s presence was so evident and so empowering. Singing praises to my Father, my Creator with that many people was truly a blessing. But of course Passion came to an end after three days. Most people expect to have a “high” after something like that; but pursuit of Jesus is not just a high it’s an every day choice. Passion showed me that there are other students my age who love Jesus and that maybe college won’t be so bad. Already through reading my Bible most every day and through prayer, Jesus has showed me His faithfulness following my pursuit of Him. I’ve seen friends turn back to Him, I’ve seen friends committed to showing others His glory. I’m thankful for the experience and the opportunity to go because it presented to me a place to get to know King Jesus more. ~ Rachel Smith

Passion is always a great experience! I love how you never know what to expect! You can really feel the presence of the Lord during the worship. My favorite speaker would be Christine Caine because I can follow her easily. She uses outlines and pictures that relate to her sermons. I would strongly recommend anyone who can to come to Passion next year. ~ Luke Truluck

Passion is probably the best experience and environment a college student can have! There’s just something so special about worshipping Jesus with tens of thousands of other people! The messages are so impactful and God really does communicate through the speakers so that everyone has something to take away from each session! It’s such a welcoming environment and has been in the three times I’ve gone and I plan on going as many times as they’ll let me! Passion allows everyone to take away some of the best and unforgettable memories. Definitely an experience worth trying out!! ~ Hannah Liner

I’ve wanted to go to Passion since I first heard about it freshman year. Just the thought of thousands of students between the ages of 18 and 25 worshiping Jesus together was so encouraging to me for my future. The worship experience was much more than I could have possible imagined. As a current high school senior, it gives me so much hope for finding great Christian friends no matter where I decide to go to college. Of the four universities that I applied to, I was able to meet at least two people who are current students there. Each one of them was very encouraging and assured me that each of the schools has so many people who love Jesus.

The Passion Conference was the most powerful thing that I have ever experienced. 55 thousand students worshiping and growing in the Lord together gave me such an excitement to be in the presence of God. The Spirit moved so powerfully over each and every student there. I came home from Passion with so many new friends from all over the country, and even one from Scotland! Some of these friends I made in my community group, some I made because they sat in my section of the Georgia Dome, and others I met through the group that I traveled with! I’m so glad that I traveled with the group that I did because I made so many new friends from my area that I can grow in Christ with, who I didn’t even know before!

At Passion I was also able to individually develop as a follower of Christ. Between the worship and the sermons given, I could feel my intimacy with God growing along with a hunger for him and his word. At a summer camp that I attended in 2014, the theme verse was Ephesians 3:17-18, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ever since that summer camp, that verse, and specifically the word “rooted” has always stood out to me. On the second day at Passion, I had told my community group in the morning during discussion about how that verse and word has always stood out to me. That night, Louie Giglio preached on that exact passage in scripture. In addition, John Piper had briefly incorporate the word “rooted” into his sermon earlier that morning. When Louie Giglio read that passage and was speaking about it, I could feel the Spirit of God working in me, and I was able to see the beauty of the Cross.

Finally, on the second night, they challenged everyone in the Georgia Dome to help them make history by sponsoring all of the children in El Salvador, Rwanda, and Tanzania. I could feel the Lord calling me to participate in this challenge, so I filled out the form and texted a code to a specific number to get my child. Initially, I wanted a child from either El Salvador because I can speak Spanish well enough to communicate, or Rwanda because my brother has been there so I felt that I have a small personal connection with the country. The text that I received back assigned me a young boy from Tanzania. I was quick to send the response code for a new child because I preferred a child from a different country. The next child that was sent to me was a young girl from Tanzania. This time, I said to God “are you telling me something here?” So I thought to myself, “Okay I’m going to try this one more time and no matter what country the child is from, I’m keeping him/her.” Can you guess what country the next child was from? I found myself so joyful when Joana, a three year old girl from Tanzania, appeared on my screen. I’m not sure why God wanted me to sponsor a child from Tanzania when I hadn’t really heard of the country prior to Passion, but I know that he has something great planned for me and he wants Tanzania to be a part of it, whether that part be big or small. ~ Paige Borcky

Passion was a truly unique experience for me. I had been involved in Men’s conferences in the 90’s with a similar theme. What to me made this special was the targeted age group, open venue experience along with the variety of speakers. I was really leary of going as a group leader due to my age. What I discovered was that age is an excuse, not a prerequisite. I was energized by what I saw and personally experienced. I found where God wants me to be in order to help others experience His splendor. Being a former educator and coach it was awesome to see 55,000 young people excited about Jesus. This is the type of event that needs more publicity. Instead it’s the worst that society has to offer that gets the air time. Most definitely renewed my faith in our countries future.~ Gary Mazzanna

Passion 2017 was great! I have been the past 3 years and they always find ways to change it up and surprise you. Carrie Underwood was a huge surprise and I really enjoyed her performance. I also enjoyed Hillsong’s performance even though a good bit of their songs were new. I liked Christine Caine because of the way she spoke with passion and actually showed visuals on the big screens. It was also nice to be able to hangout with friends and worship with them as well. I would definitely like to go back next year if i get the chance. ~ Cory Powers

I really enjoyed Passion more than I expected. I was very excited to see what God had in store for those three days. Between the worship and the amazing speakers I really enjoyed my time. My favorite thing was the amazing and talented speakers. My favorite speakers were John Piper and Levi Lusko. The way they spoke and how they portrayed the message was awesome. Another one of my favorite things I notice while being there was just all the different ways people worshiped. 55,000 people just worshiping The Lord different and it was so amazing. Also spending time with the group and being with friends and meeting new ones was a great experience. I’m so glad I went and if it’s possible I will go next year and then years after that. ~ Nolan Burdette

The past two years I have gone to Passion with Mr. Craig’s group. Last year, was my first time ever. I always wanted to go to Passion since high school, but it never worked out. Music is really important for my growth in my faith so that’s why Passion had always been an attraction for me.  When I could finally go last year I was so excited. I was also excited to be going with a group of 50 other students my age who also wanted to grow in their relationship with the Lord. At the time, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I understood Passion was like a big concert with some speakers here and there. Throughout the three days, little did I know I would be able to hear from some of the best communicators in the world from Beth Moore to Francis Chan and Christine Caine. I worshipped with over 50,000 of my brothers and sisters in Christ. As a high school senior or college student, I know I definitely speak for myself when I say this, but I think many us have never been surrounded by so many others who are after Christ. To be physically gathered with an army of people in one arena for one name and one purpose is one of the most beautiful things I have experienced.  In a world that’s not our own and not for us, it reminds us—it remind me that no matter what, God for us. Thank you Mr. Craig! ~ Catherine Ivey

I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend passion for the past 3 years, and each year I go, it continues blows me away and surpass all of my expectations. Passion 2017, and every other year that I have attended, has brought me closer to God, allowed me to meet some of the most amazing people that encourage me to pursue the lord with all of my heart, and continues to help me grow in my faith. Passion is truly an unexplainable experience that changes the life’s of so many young adults and I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to attend! ~ Chandler Slack

Passion 2017 showed everyone in the Georgia Dome that God’s light is still shining on us and forever will be. The focus point of each of the messages was suffering and endurance, two of the things that will bring strength in our relationship with God.

Francis Chan preached a message that is very relatable to almost everyone, especially me. He told us to not value our thoughts or the thoughts that other people have of you. Value what God thinks of you, because we were all made perfectly in his image. In today’s world it is so easy to get caught up in your flaws, and what others think of you, but we just have to remember that God is the ultimate judge, not our friends or our enemies, just God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” –Isaiah 55:8-9

Also, Levi Lusko spread an impactful message, teaching that God will never give us more than we can handle, we will break but God will always back us up with a second wind. Pain is something to be cherished, I’ve never thought of pain in this sense but it is something that makes us stronger and closer to God, both of which is a reward. We have to remember that suffering isn’t a punishment, it’s just a way for us to strengthen our faith and trust. “The only way to get to your destiny is through difficulty and disappointment” –Levi Lusko

Throughout Passion the Holy Spirit was present in everyone there; this was evident during worship and family groups. It was great growing closer to people who love and worship Jesus, and seeing God work right before me. ~ Gabi Hamilton

Passion is my favorite way to begin the new year because it sets me up to see the Lord work and move like never before.  Learning under the teaching of some of the best Bible scholars in this day is a serious blessing and worshipping with 50,000 people my age is even better. I believe in this generation more than ever after seeing everyone come out and want Jesus more. ~ Grayson Shubert

My passion experience was amazing!! I loved it so much! I have been needing an encouragement to get back on track with my quiet times and try and dig really deep in my relationship with Jesus! The best part about passion is experiencing worship music and worshiping along side 55,000 other people my age! It gives me chills!! ~ Laura Payne

Returning to Passion for the second time was so incredible. Everything that I could say almost feels like an understatement, just because it was THAT GOOD. Passion is almost just one of those things that words don’t exactly do justice for. Christ was without a doubt present in the Georgia Dome with thousands of students just lifting His name. It was so beautiful to witness, and even more beautiful to be a part of. In my personal experience, the gospel is so perfectly presented to me through worship and the sermons that Passion offers each year. As for many others I’m sure, entering a new year brings up so many questions about what the year will look like or what struggles or challenges will arise. Throughout the conference, Jesus speaks to whats laid on your heart and either gives answers, or just a simple reminder that it’s in His control and that there really is no place for fear of what is to come. Passion always leaves me with the reminder that life is a mission field- we have the demand to be a reflection of Christ in all ways. I can’t think of a better challenge for any student who is about to go back to a campus where so many so desperately need that reflection. As a college student who sometimes needs to be reminded of the things that this conference teaches, there is no other way that I would rather kick off the new year and a new semester of school! ~ Reagan Owens

The Passion conferences have made an incredible impact on my faith life. The first time that I attended Passion was in 2016 with Craig Hewitt’s group. I remember going to the church early in the morning on January 2, 2016 so nervous that I was not going to know anymore. Well, my thoughts were reconsidered as soon as I got there because I was soon surrounded by many who wanted to genuinely get to know me. Passion 2016 blew me away I remember being so overwhelmed in God’s grace on the way back home. When I loaded my stuff up in my car, all I could do was cry and feel the weight of Jesus’ love for me. The whole 30 minute drive home I cried and was in disbelief over how much Christ loved me. I knew in that instant that I had to go back in 2017. When I walked in the door I started telling my parents all that I experienced and learned. The whole next few months I was ON FIRE for Christ. I was so overjoyed to feel Jesus work through me. When it came time to sign up for Passion 2017, I instantly signed up. Passion 2017 was just as incredible of an experience. Watching the whole Georgia Dome singing about God’s great name would bring anyone to their knees. Once again, I felt Christ moving through my life. I got to share this year next to some great friends. I would highly suggest giving Passion 2018 and the following years a chance for Jesus to work in your life. He can’t work through you if you don’t open your heart to Him. ~ Emily Turner

Going to Passion two years in a row has been one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had. I grew up in the church, so I have been to pretty much every Christian conference out there. Passion is unlike any other. Worshipping with 50,000 other college students is probably the closest I’ll get to Heaven until I’m really there. It’s indescribable.  ~ Haley Darnell

Passion 2017 is an experience that I will never forget. I continue to be in awe with the young adults I met on this trip. They are focused, determined and loving God in a mighty way.

I will never forget…

  1. those first moments when Christine Caine started speaking.
  2. when Crowder started playing.
  3. Carrie Underwood’s surprise appearance.
  4. Chris Tomlin leading worship.
  5. Levi Lusko’s closing message.

I will never forget…..

  1. hearing 55,000 young adults lifting their voices in praise of our Almighty God.
  2. seeing the entire Georgia Dome lighted by cell phone lights.
  3. feeling the concrete beneath me shake as 55,000 young adults jumped with excitement.
  4. having dinner with my son, Jacob, talking about God, college and life.

As we move through our daily lives, we tend to forget how powerful God is. We try to solve our own problems and we worry about the world. There were many points that the speakers made that were excellent but two really resonated with me.

  1. God is not freaking out about the state of the world. He has the victory. He wrote the book and we won!    Christine Caine
  2. God saved us to be courageous and change the world.    Levi Lusko

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to attend Passion with the Hewitt group and with Jacob. Passion started my 2017 in an awesome way! ~ Felecia Maresh

 

I started off really hesitant about attending Passion, but i feel like God placed the right people in my life and led me to Passion for a reason. Not only did it strengthen my relationship with the Lord, but i had a lot of fun. I absolutely loved all the bands. I get the most out of worship and singing and just reading the lyrics, and they did a fantastic job. It was such a great atmosphere and everyone around me just radiatated joy from Jesus. If you didn’t come this year, you missed out but I definitely recommend coming to Passion next year and watching God work in so many lives. ~ Caroline Beaty

Here are just a few of the things that were said by the speakers at Passion 2017 that I connected with and not just for me but for our young adults:  John Piper spoke about the Essence of Evil and said “There is enormous pressure on us to think of good in ways that have nothing to do with God.” That really tugged at my heart because I know how much pressure I deal with and knowing that this generation is dealing with it in ways I never had to at that age is heart breaking to me. Beth Moore said “Social Media is your biggest distraction. You are so busy scrolling through other peoples lives, even people that don’t really matter to you, that your are missing out on your own life.” When Francis Chan came out and said “God, please make something real happen for your glory here tonight” That gave me chills and still does when I think of the passion in that man. He also said “We are immeasurable greatness to God and even on days we don’t feel treasured by Him we are still his inheritance. We have Heavenly DNA in our spirit. WHAT!!! This makes me feel like I have a direct connection with Holy God. I feel completely blessed by some of the connections I made with the young adults that went with us this year. I truly feel that God had me there for a reason this year and I adore everything about Passion. I would tell all parents to do what you have to do to get your college age son or daughter to Passion. It doesn’t matter if they miss a couple days of school because what they will learn at Passion will take them farther than anything they will learn in the classroom at their school. ~ Cathy Schmidt

Passion 2017 was the largest and most incredible gathering of Christians I’ve ever been a part of. To be in the same room as 55,000 other young people (and Carrie Underwood!) worshipping the same God is a feeling I’ll never forget. ~ Bailey Rodgers

Passion for me wasn’t so much about going to be with friends as it was going to be with God. It’s an amazing sight seeing 50,000+ people close to my age worshipping.  The teaching was good and it definitely built on itself but you had to find yourself in a place to receive the word.  The worship had a new kind of feeling that I won’t even begin to describe, there are no words for it and can only be truly experienced in person.  I would recommend passion to anyone who wants to truly see God move in your own life as well as in everyone around you. ~ Michael Ford

To me, Passion was an incredible experience where my relationship with God and with my friends was grown tremendously. I walked in carrying burdens on my shoulders, and walked away carrying nothing but the love of God. The intimate worship songs and sermons were so eye opening to me that as soon as I got back home I couldn’t help but tell everyone about this truly life changing event. God is so worthy of our love and deserves all of the praise that was lifted up to Him at Passion. I definitely will be there next year! ~ Emily Richardson

I’ve been lucky enough to experience The Passion Conference, not once, but twice! Both years were very different in what God was trying to teach me but similar in the fact that He showed up and did radical things in the hearts of the people there. This year, i returned expecting three things: amazing worship, real family groups and for John Piper to speak the gospel and nothin but. My expectations were exceeded. The highlight, of course, was listening to John Piper. He spoke on the essence of evil. Something that when you first hear it makes you sit up alittle straighter and crinkle your forehead.  However, when we dug deeper in three different scriptures and revealed that loosing a taste for God, desiring something other than God and failing to treasure God above all others is the essence of evil. And if you don’t hate hate hate the essence of evil in your life, whatever it may be, you

1) dumb down the majesty of Christ

2) diminish what God had done on the cross and when he resurrected

3) gut the Christian life of its glory.

If that doesn’t rock your world I don’t know what will. If you are thinking about going to passion next year you should definitely do it! You won’t be disappointed. ~ Maegan Taylor

This year at Passion God used the speakers and the music together to remind me of who I am in Him, and how He sees me. After Passion I have felt a joy in knowing that my identity is in Christ and I have purpose in being used for his glory. ~ Lindsay Kennedy

First off I wanna say I’m thankful for my friend, Emily, because I wouldn’t have gone to passion if it weren’t for her. But my experience as a whole was incredible. I also am thankful for you, for taking us all to Passion. My relationship with Jesus has gotten immensely stronger just because of that trip. The worship was so beautiful and powerful, and all of the sermons were very well said. My favorite preacher would have to be the first woman who preached about endurance. I learned a lot from that one. And as a whole, my favorite part would definitely be the worship, just raising our hands praising Him. He deserves a lot of praise. But I don’t want to make this too long haha, but I enjoyed it a lot and I do hope that I can go again next year! ~ Lucy Mobley Even if I had been given all the time in the world, I do not think I could even begin to describe the experience of Passion 2017. Gathering in one arena to worship our God with 55,000 + other students is nothing short of a glimpse of heaven. This was my second year attending Passion, and, knowing what was about to happen, I came expecting big things. God fulfilled and more my expectations. Here is what I know: a believer cannot truly see the cross and know, really know the Savior without thus living a radically transformed life. This year, the different speakers at Passion challenged, pushed, and even demanded of us students to step away from the grip of this world and into the victory of Jesus. Satisfaction is only achieved once we have drunk from the Fountain of Life. Lastly, going in such a large group was new to me. Last year, I went with about ten of my friends. However, I was not let down. The group that went was absolutely incredible, encouraging, and thirsty for Jesus. All I have to say is: Passion changes lives because Jesus is proclaimed so boldly, and Jesus is a God of new creations. ~ Sophie Jernigan

My experience at Passion was incredible. I also am thankful for Craig, for taking us all to Passion. My relationship with Jesus has gotten immensely stronger just because of that trip. The worship was so beautiful and powerful, and all of the sermons were very well said. My favorite preacher would have to be the first woman who preached about endurance. I learned a lot from that one. And as a whole, my favorite part would definitely be the worship, just raising our hands praising Him. He deserves a lot of praise. I enjoyed it a lot and I do hope that I can go again next year! ~ Lucy Mobley

This was my second time attending the Christian conference “Passion”. I was a high school senior last year, and now I just recently ended my first semester as a USC freshman! Signing up for Passion last year was sort of an impulse decision for me just because I didn’t know much about it and I had originally planned on not going. But boy am I sooooo glad I decided to go. Not only did I grow closer with amazing people, but I grew in my spiritual walk with Jesus and I really felt prepared for the rest of my senior year. THIS year though… just wow. This past semester has been rather difficult for me spiritually and I have really struggled with finding my purpose here at this university. I caught myself feeling sad often for no apparent reason and was just blown away at how different college actually was from what I had expected. I felt so weird for wanting to be home all the time and had even considered transferring. The transition was just so huge and so difficult for me I wondered if I was even fit for college. Right before winter break started, I had begun to make more friends and get more involved on campus. It seemed to be going a lot better than before. I had started feeling better about my decision to come here and knew that God had me right where He wanted me. Something still seemed to be missing, though. Once I had gotten home from school it dawned on me that I had not been going to church regularly and was not reading my Bible like I know I should’ve. I was very upset with myself for not making time to go to church or just sit and have quiet time with Jesus. So to say the least, I was ecstatic when I remembered that Passion was coming up! Passion 2017 ripped me open from the inside out! I felt like all of the speakers were talking directly to me and feeding me what all I needed to hear. My absolute favorite day was our first day there. Everybody was just so excited to be there and I hadn’t seen the Georgia Dome packed so full before! And it was all filled with Jesus loving people!!! To start the night off, we worshipped through singing and one of my favorite songs was played. “No Longer Slaves” played briefly and I enjoyed every second we were singing it. My favorite speaker of all time was our very first speaker at Passion 2017. Christine Caine is such a powerful speaker she can’t help but move people with her words. She just doesn’t care what others have to say about her and only wants to follow what God has planned for her to do. After she spoke, we worshipped more with David Crowder and Carrie Underwood. Seriously?! By that point my week had already been made but to end the night, Louie Giglio decided to give every person in the Dome and new study Bible!! It is called the Jesus Bible and says “2017 Dome Edition”. How cool?! By the end of our trip, I felt so prepared to come back to college and just crush this next semester with God right by my side. I love being reminded after every retreat, mission trip, or conference that God will never fail me and He will never leave me. Passion has yet to fail me and I look forward to going for many, many more years. ~ Kalli Lominick

Being my first time at Passion I was not exactly sure what to expect. Walking into the first secession in the Georgia Dome, in the pouring rain, with 55,000 other people was a bit intimidating. Once we were able to make our way to our seats I was finally able to get excited to see what God had instore for the next few days. As usual He did not disappoint. Out of all of the secession the one I felt God talking to me the most was the very last one preached by Levi Lusko. At one point in the sermon he said, “You cannot be surprised by something you are ready for, difficult times are coming.” Until I heard these words out of his mouth I had never thought of it this way. I spend so much of my time and energy trying to make sure that I am prepared for whatever life throws my way, when in reality instead of exhausting myself the only thing I need to be doing is trusting God and know that He is and will always be in total control. ~ Ashley Turner

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