Passion City Church Pastor and founder of the Passion movement Louie Giglio sat down with the hosts of the Essential Church podcast last week to talk about touching the lives of University aged students.
The Passion Conferences were founded by Giglio in 1997 and work to bring college-aged students together to worship God and fellowship together.
On the podcast, Giglio talked about his 22 years of ministry saying, "Passion actually was born out of a desire to see university-age young people come alive to a relationship with Jesus."
He continued, "And it happened as most things do in life, God just planted a vision in our heart. We were not looking for that. We were in a very major transitional season of life, probably the most confusing, disappointing and frustrating season of my life."
"And in the midst of all that, God drops a vision," he said laughing. "Sometimes that's the way God works. And maybe if somebody only has a minute to listen to the podcast today, you know when things aren't going right when they're going sideways, and we think things are upside down, a lot of times God is just preparing the circumstance, the situation – preparing us for something amazing."
Giglio goes on to talk about the 20 million university students in the U.S., noting that “most of them say on the entrance evaluation that’s done of a quarter of a million of them every year, that they do not have a relationship with Jesus.” Later he gives the percentage of students who answered no, saying 80 percent indicated that they did not have a relationship with Jesus.
Giglio then goes on to express his passion for university outreach, noting his time at the large Christian college, Baylor University.
He said, "I love that crossroads of life that is the university moment.” He continued, “We said yes to God and 22 years later we're still gathering students. It's not a conference really or an event, it really is a purposed movement praying that God will open eyes to see what life’s really about, and I believe life is really about the glory of God."
"So if you want your life to count, you've got to make it about the thing that matters most. And the thing that matters most for us and I believe for God is his glory," he continued.
When asked what he was most surprised by in his two decades of ministry Giglio exclaimed, “I’m amazed we are still here.” The pastor describes his vision as radical, reminding the listeners that this was before smartphones and easily accessible internet.
Nonetheless, Giglio recalled that by word of mouth they were able to welcome 2,000 college students to the first ever Passion event in 1997. In the years to follow, the event would grow enormously and in 2000, four years after Passion’s inception, the event would welcome 40,000 students. In 2016, Passion would host 60,000 students.
Giglio said, "We didn’t want to build a monument. We wanted to be a fuse. We wanted to see an explosion. We wanted to see God start doing something that was unexplainable.”
One interviewer asked Giglio, what he thinks it is about this stage of life that student’s hearts are open.
The pastor responded by saying, "Everything that was, suspends in that moment…It's the moment where people stop deciding what their parents believed 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.”
The Atlanta pastor rounds out the interview answering a question about how times have changed since he began his ministry. He said, "Now you have a very anxious, depressed, sociopathic generation, that has so many conversations every day they don’t even know who they are anymore.”
He continued more positively saying, “The difference now that's better is that there's a real sense of belief that our voice matters… I believe that this generation really does believe there's something more than the old school American dream and there's something called making your life count."
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Matt Botsford