Louie Giglio is one of the great Christian communicators in America today. I was honored to be with him in Houston a few years ago when he spoke at HBU, my alma mater. He’s the real deal. And God is using him to change the world. It all goes back to his days in graduate school at Baylor University. He became frustrated when he watched dozens of high school students to whom he had ministered walk away from their faith when they hit college.
“I saw the students who had been in our student ministry arrive at Baylor (a Baptist school) and check their faith on day two,” Giglio said in a recent Essential Church podcast.
The pastor of Atlanta’s Passion City Church said, “You have free choice and free will; every option is on the table and whatever your base beliefs are, they are probably assailed every single day in the classroom. It’s a crossroad of life. It’s the moment where people stop deciding what their parents believe and start deciding what they believe, and that’s where you want to be standing, not with the message of the church, but with the person of Jesus.”
Giglio did something about it. He started Passion.
“When we started Passion, kids didn’t have the opportunity to interact with the world every single second of the day,” he explained. “Now, young people are gaming with people from overseas, instagramming or facetiming with friends across the country and constantly connected to newsfeeds.”
It has been over 20 years since God gave Giglio what he calls a “radical vision” during “one of the most confusing, disappointing, and frustrating seasons in my life.”
That vision led him to launch the now popular Passion movement. It’s main goal is to see university students come to a relationship with Jesus.
And millions of young people have been impacted by it since the first gathering in 1997.
Initially, Giglio did not plan on continuing the Passion gatherings after the fourth year, when 40,000 college students got on their knees at what he felt was “the holiest thing I’ve ever been at to this day.”
Giglio says, “I thought that was the end. We wanted to be a fuse. We didn’t want to build a movement. We wanted to see an explosion.”
It wasn’t until a few years later that Giglio resumed the large gatherings and he says he is amazed that God still has him leading the movement.
The huge gatherings have not interfered with Giglio’s church. Passion City Church, which began in 2009, now has two locations in Atlanta and one in Washington, D.C.
Giglio continues to pray for the church in America to wake up and get back to the church of Acts 2, when, as he says, “the Spirit came, the Gospel was proclaimed, faith and repentance exploded, and 3,000 people were baptized in one day.”