Passion Band lived up to its explicit aspirations to “spread the fame of Jesus” at their 9/11 concert at George Fox University, pointing people to God as the answer to the hurts and tragedies of world and personal events. As the country remembered and grieved on the 13th anniversary of the Twin Tower attacks, the band led concertgoers to hold onto Jesus as the light in the dark nights and storms of life, clinging to the rock solid truth of His goodness for hope. The theme of the evening was surrender, trust and assurance that God sees the brokenhearted, loves them beyond measure and will walk with them through heartbreak, shame and sorrow.
From the energetic entrance of the worship band, led by the newest standard-bearer for Passion Conferences, Kristian Stanfill, the message of God’s sufficiency for all the uncertainties in life was clear. The opening title song of the band’s latest album, Take It All, boldly declared that Jesus is the way and broadcast a committed desire to focus on truth, purity, light and their choice to follow Jesus, no matter what circumstances come. The passion that Stanfill and the band exuded for knowing and delighting in the goodness of God and urging attendees to follow suit was befitting of their name.
The band’s mission of musical outreach aims to bring God glory through the gift of music He has placed in them. Stanfill and Pastor Brad Jones of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, who brought the message, both made it clear that the concert was not about their fame but pointing people back to God for the answers to all of life’s hurts.
The band is the musical arm of Passion Conferences, a movement started in 1997 by Pastor Louie Giglio, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, for the purpose of spiritual awakening that inspires college students to live for Jesus. Jones serves on the staff of Passion City Church as the student pastor. His heart is in making connections with youth and motivating them to make a difference for Jesus with their lives. The 9/11 concert near Portland, Ore., was the second stop of a 25-city fall tour for the band which will traverse the country coast to coast.
Stanfill paused during the song, Let It Be Jesus to urge the crowd to make Jesus the first name they call on for help when life’s circumstances lead them to places where they feel deserted, forgotten or encompassed by troubles beyond bearing, as well as when life brings sunny skies and smooth roads for a time. Jones reinforced this central message in his talk, relating with humor his story of the adventures and mishaps of making and carrying out plans to propose to his wife, before making the connection to the way God loved people so much that He made a plan and carried it to completion through the passion of Jesus Christ. Having gone to such lengths to woo a hurting and broken people back to Himself where He can provide hope and healing, He is really hoping they say yes, much as a groom hopes his intended bride will accept his marriage proposal.
Stanfill and the Passion Band repeatedly advanced the cause of surrender to God’s sovereignty and goodness even in the midst of overwhelming tragedies, whether personal or in the news. Their rendition of White Flag acknowledged the tumult that calamity brings and the instinctual reaction to rebel when the human mind cannot understand God’s hand or comprehend His goodness in the face of shock, hardship and adversity. Yet, they stood firm in their passionate convictions, telling concertgoers that the answer for hurting people is to let go of their hostility and point their lives toward God no matter what comes.
The concert closed with a simple worship experience between the crowd, Stanfill and the band, declaring their corporate and personal intention to surrender All to Jesus and place all their trust and love in Him. The passion and integrity of the band’s message was a fitting tribute to the fallen of 9/11 and their families and the ongoing desire to heal and find answers to the barrage of tragedies in the news in turning to faith in the unshakable goodness of God.
Review By Tamara Christine Van Hooser