How do you measure the "success" of a solemn assembly such as OneDay03? Perhaps you could count the tens of thousands of college-age students spontaneously chanting, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" after an enormously popular song by lead worshipper Chris Tomlin - rather than "Tomlin, Tomlin, Tomlin." Or you could look at the hundreds of students weeping, as they repented of sin and laid on the ground before the Lord.

 

"OneDay is not about the name of any one person. It is about the name of Jesus," says Passion Conferences founder/director Louie Giglio. To that end, OneDay03 was indeed a success.

 

Tens of thousands of college students in the 18-26 age range, as well as graduate students, adult leaders and students entering their senior year of high school, traveled from every state in the nation and from many different nations to a private 400-acre ranch near Sherman, Texas, for the sole purpose of meeting the Lord. Over Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-27, the students worshipped God and prayed for spiritual awakening in their generation.

 

They did not know in advance they would be challenged by speakers such as Beth Moore, John Piper, Joshua Harris, Kirk Cameron and Heather Mercer. Nor did they expect that Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall, Watermark, Shane & Shane, and The David Crowder Band, among others, would lead worship.

 

"What was beautiful to me," said Giglio during a press conference Monday, "is that you had these people here today - nationally known speakers and authors, and nationally known musicians - and yet no one was really introduced. There was no fanfare made over any people. These students did not come to see us and we did not come to see them. We all came together to put our eyes on Jesus, to meet the living God."

 

Chris Tomlin (sixsteps/Sparrow) said during one of the Sunday evening gatherings, which were designed to prepare the hearts of students for the main assembly on Monday, "This is about Him. It is not about being entertained. We have not come to a festival. We've come to a solemn assembly."

 

For Beth Dixon, a 24-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin, OneDay03 was just that. "It is exciting for me to meet with God; that is why I am here. OneDay echoes what is beating in my heart. I really understand the heartbeat of Passion for uniting college students."

 

Dixon said she particularly enjoyed being hearing Heather Mercer talk about missions mobilization. "I liked praying for the different countries," Dixon added. "I am going to Nigeria this summer and today I asked God, 'How do you want to use this? Is this the start of something that is bigger and longer than one trip to Nigeria?'"

 

Throughout the day Monday, the music and teaching stopped so that students could pray together in triads - for their campuses and their generation, for the Church, for the United States, for missions, for purity and for unity.

 

Those who felt challenged in the area of missions were able to visit the "City Center" - a mobilization area designed to help students encounter God's heart for the nations. Guides equipped students with general mission awareness, mission tools and resources, and other foundational knowledge. Talking and praying at each step, the guides helped students identify gifts, passions and skills that will help them discover the role God is calling them to in missions.

 

And as the David Crowder Band sang, "Make A Joyful Noise to the Lord, All the Earth" that vision of touching nations touched the hearts of many kneeling on the grassy hills. Tomlin, Crowder, Charlie Hall and Matt Redman each chose songs focusing on the name of Jesus; that Jesus alone is worthy.

 

Rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8, the Passion movement has produced a generation on fire for the nations. Passion first began in 1995 with a stirring in the heart of Giglio to see the 13 million college students of the nation awaken to the reality of a glorious God.

 

From there it grew to a meeting of like-minded college ministers in 1996, to a gathering of 2000 in students in 1997, up through May of 2000, when more than 40,000 student attended the OneDay gathering in Memphis.

 

"We want to see the students of the nation come to know how great God is, says Giglio, "and that doesn't happen from a formula or a program or a catchy new idea. Passion doesn't have any of those things. We're not selling anything in the Resource Center that says, 'If you go back to your campus and you do A,B,C -then your campus will come alive spiritually.' We believe that is found only in God. That is the invitation that was extended to students today: 'Come and meet the Lord.'"

 

According to Giglio, the invitation was accepted: "I think seeds were sown in the last few hours in the hearts of people that are going to bear a harvest until Jesus comes that is greater than any of us can imagine. I believe we have seen just the very beginning of a torrential downpour of the grace works of God, all over this world through the lives of this generation."

 

Tomorrow: More on the teaching and music of OneDay03.