Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Numbers Matter

Numbers like 16.6 million. And 78%.

We've shared those numbers a lot, and if you've been around the Passion journey you've probably heard me talk about them. We talk about them because the numbers matter. Especially when every number has a beating heart.

In case you didn't know, census results put the number of college and university students in the US near 16.6 million. That includes full-time, part-time, undergrad and graduate students. But the more stunning number comes from the Freshman Norms, the CRIP survey given each year to tens of thousands of incoming freshman at the nation's two and four year schools. Among other things it asks, "Do you consider yourself to be a born again Christian?"

Sure, it's a loaded question, especially in areas removed from the south. But, Jesus did, in fact, use the words Himself in describing what happens when we are reconnected to God. Staggeringly, every year close to 78% say "No."

Each year 8 of every 10 students in the US say, "NO, I am NOT a born again Christian!"

Of course that number is balanced by the Universitys of Georgia out there that have an abundance of people saying "Yes." (Which is great!) Balanced by the the ocean of campuses where those actively following Jesus is maybe 1-2% of the entire student body.

The first year I saw the results of the CIRP Survey (1985) I was stunned. Working and living on a campus of 11,000. I was suddenly floored with an overwhelming reality that was too big to instantly get my head around. If you do the math and take 78% of 16.6 million your heart will sink like mine did that day. And sadly, as recently as last year the numbers aren't significantly different.

That means tonight millions of students will close their eyes again, not knowing (and possibly never hearing) that they are objects of Divine affection...and that as mysterious as it sounds, the Son of God actually put Himself in harms way so that their messed up lives could be mended and restored in the grace of God.

If you've ever wondered, that's what's driving Passion. Yes, we are moved by the glory of God, and the desire to see His fame come to the campuses of the nation. But there is a direct correlation between these millions of hearts awakening and His name echoing through the courtyards.

We are not pouring our energies into Passion07 just so we can have another fantastic event for believers. Rather so that every student might have a chance to breathe mercy and be embraced by hope. We know another Passion gathering is not the solution. That lies in the kindness of God and the willingness of those who do know Him to live out vibrant faith in open spaces so that one by one the numbers can shift and the anthem can grow louder for His renown.

So we are inviting belivers to come from north, south, east and west. Come representing your campus and city. Come and listen to what He has done. And come believing that you can make a difference... and we can see the tide turn for the sake of millions more.


  • Well said, Louie.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/25/2006 9:04 PM  

  • I don't figure this was the intended impact of this most recent entry, but as a part of a student ministry staff, this really hit me.

    Basically... those numbers mean that potentially, 80% of college freshmen made it through middle school and high school without someone coming along side of them and sharing the love of Jesus with them, and not giving up on them at first rejection.

    To all the middle school workers out there... all the high school workers out there... I say, let's get out there and love on some students and tell them about Jesus, so that one day that 78% would begin to decline.

    By Blogger Rob Greene, at 10/25/2006 11:04 PM  

  • Amen to that - all of that! Being on a ministry team myself as well -ministering to middle school, high school, and college alike - I agree - let's come along side - onto the campuses and share with them the story of love, of reconciliation and of the joy and peace that can only come from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through a relationship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is IT - the reason for living, breathing, EVERYTHING - let's be His voice and His light - now and until Passion - be regenerated by His Spirit to turn 78% into saying "YES - Jesus is LORD!"

    By Blogger T. Fay, at 10/26/2006 12:53 AM  

  • Thank you Louie

    By Blogger Sarah, at 10/26/2006 1:57 AM  

  • Right behind you all at Passion. You have had a massive impact on our small little ministry here in Ireland as we seek to point people towards the greatness of God! Keep living for His fame.

    All for Jesus,
    Worship Ireland
    PS - 5 of us joined you all last year at Passion06. Life altering. Unfortunately we won't be able to come all the way this year but will hold you all in our prayers!

    By Blogger Worship Ireland, at 10/26/2006 12:52 PM  

  • Thanks for the reminder of what Passion is all about. I'll admit it's easy for me to get caught up in the excitement of it all, but at the end of the day ... it is all about Jesus.

    I will definitely be praying for you and the team. May God use Passion '07 to ignite a greater passion for Him so that His fame would continue to spread through all the earth.

    By Anonymous Matt, at 10/26/2006 1:37 PM  

  • I agree 100%, but I'd like to challenge you to add to that the additional millions of young adults that choose (or cannot for various reasons) to NOT go to college/university. They need Jesus, too.

    By Blogger Christine, at 10/26/2006 2:24 PM  

  • Amen- LORD let it be...

    By Blogger Aslan'sGirl, at 10/28/2006 11:16 PM  

  • Just imagine if people kept that "passion" year round...then maybe Passion wouldn't be needed...just a thought.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/29/2006 11:56 PM  

  • Louie,
    Your the man. Please hire me.

    By Blogger C.J., at 10/30/2006 12:39 AM  

  • I know that you are focusing on the U. S. Louie with those stats, but living in another country , I have a heart for the vision that Passion has,that each university student wherever they live, hears about Jesus.
    My husband lectures at a university where there is no campus ministry and my son attends the same university , different campus, where 10 people attend the Christian union.To me this is tragic.
    I have a burden for what you have written. That "every student might have a chance to breathe mercy and be embraced by hope." Let's pray this for the U. S. and the rest of the world.
    As you know they are coming not just from the north,south,east and west of the U. S but the globe to Passion. The implication for lives being changed if they live out vibrant faith on their campuses is awesome.

    By Blogger gail, at 10/30/2006 12:58 AM  

  • Amen, Amen and Amen! The passion of my heart is right there with you. Could be because that is where I screwed up. Went to Rutgers University...unsaved...got lost in the wave of humanism and liberalism. God is His awesome grace and mercy pulled me out and set my feet on solid ground in my early twenties but how I wish I had a sure foundation to build on then. So many major life decisions are made during that time. Choices of major, career, finances, sex and relationships, life partner and more. With each choice we either walk farther down a path of wisdom or a path of foolishness. If I in some way can be a catalyst to point one young adult in the way of truth or can encourage one to take the path of wisdom then I will gladly pour out and expend for this generation.

    By Blogger bev strob, at 10/30/2006 1:22 AM  

  • One by one.

    Loving all of them. Person to person, one by one.

    Christians already in the church, middle-schoolers (I love my 4 girls at Sunday School), high schoolers, 5 year-old lead worshippers (yep; leading the worship team from his little seat in the crowd; and more wholeheartedly than any of us), undergrads, grad students, professional students, housekeepers, laundry workers, co-workers, and the list keeps going.

    Whether on Sunday morning or during the week. We're called to live alongside them, to love them, to help them, and to support them, and to lead by example. We can encourage them when they need it, and hopefully give wise advice (that may not be what the world would suggest to do). Eventually, some will come and ask, and then we can share. But in my experience, this "loving others as yourself" thing; it's hard work; and quite overwhelming at times. But I think it's the one chance we have to show that Jesus really cares about them. They don't buy into a "religion" if it's just about the words we speak, and the long list of "rules" of things you shouldn't do. (This is how "church" comes across to them.)

    Somehow, our job is to show them how great and how good God is; and then, one by one, they'll be ready to choose for themselves what to believe. I can't make this choice for any of them, but I can pray; and I can show them, despite and because of my messed-up life, that God is good; and that He is so much more than "religion."

    Our lives should be all about that: How big, and how good our God is to us. If that's how we feel, people will see it. And they're gonna want it. And we can't wait to share "it." Our lives are the best "commercial" for HIM.

    So, rock on, P'07! Let's encourage each other, and teach the next generation(s) how to live for the glory of God!


    P.S. It's already Christmas (again)! (Or is it STILL Christmas?)

    By Blogger Silke, at 10/31/2006 6:31 PM  

  • God is doing some awesome things at Auburn University through various campus ministries. It's been amazing to see and feel the holy spirit move in a place where so many people are just going through the motions of "Religion." People are starting to discover the mystery of the Christian Faith. They are beginning to know the joy and freedom and true life. A couple weeks ago at a relatively large Ministry, the holy spirit truly spoke to and many others in a large way. The "Silent Enemy" was exposed.
    Currently, 50% of Christian men and 20% of women not just struggle, but are addicted to pornography. At the end of the evening, people could go light a candle at the front of the sanctuary at the alter in a way of bringing darkness to light. So many people's lives are now changed because of what God did that night. People are finding victory in Christ over pornography, lust, homosexuality, and masturbation. Future marriages will be changed because of what happened. I did not actually attend Passion '05, but I do have your talk "Waking up to the Whole Gospel." The Holy spirit definately spoke to me through that when I listened to it. That it is not our effort plus his effort, but Christ has already brought victory. The Fact is that Christ lives in you if you have asked him into your life. To anyone that reads this, if anyone is struggling with any of these things, you are not the only one. I used to think I was the only who struggled with pornography, but when I brought it to the light and realized what my salvation truly meant, everything changed. Yes I am still in the battle, but Christ lives in me, and I am in him, and he is in the Father. I am a new creation. And Jesus is free from pornography, he is free from masturbation and impurity, he if free from homosexuality, he is free from all sexual immorallity. The truth is that in Christ you are FREE. You are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness. Pornography is something that satan is very present in. But he cannont stand up to what Jesus did on the cross, and what Jesus is still doing. The truth is that Jesus did die on the Cross for you and me, but he not only did that, He also rose from the tomb. He's living now in a power and present way. Oh what a wonderful Savior. All Glory and Honor and Power to God the Father in Heaven. To him be the Glory Forever and Ever.

    Aaron Broach

    By Anonymous Praising God At Auburn, at 11/02/2006 12:15 AM  

  • praising God at Auburn -

    That is awesome what is happening on campus there! I struggle with some of those same things, thanks for talking about it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/03/2006 9:23 AM  

  • There is 3 of us here in Summertown, TN !!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/03/2006 10:10 PM  

  • Hey Louie,

    this is andrew and i'm from palatka florida. i've been siked about this since i listened to the first podcast episode. i'm listening, worshiping God, and praying for Him to do something amazing at passion!

    Thanks for your ministry,
    andrew mccallum

    By Anonymous Andrew McCallum, at 12/03/2006 10:11 PM  

  • there are six of us from London here

    By Anonymous James, at 12/03/2006 10:24 PM  

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