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Louie Giglio Shares ‘Radical Vision’ of Reaching College Students for Jesus

Louie Giglio, the founder of the Passion movement, says a quarter of a million of incoming college freshmen every year say they do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Recently on the Essential Church podcast, Giglio, the founding pastor of the Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, spoke about his 22-year ministry to bring the gospel to hundreds of thousands of college students across the country.

“Passion actually was born out of a desire to see university-age young people come alive to a relationship with Jesus,” he explained.  “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 chuckling. “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 also revealed his passion to reach college students.

“I love that crossroads of life that is the university moment,” he said.  “We said yes to God and 22 years later we’re still gathering students. It’s not a conference really or an event, but a purposed movement praying God will open eyes to see what 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. 

Giglio briefly talked about the first Passion event which drew around 1,000 students just by word of mouth.  In 2018, more than 60,000 students gathered in Atlanta’s football stadium to worship God. 

“We weren’t trying to build a monument. We were trying to be a fuse. We wanted to be an explosion. We wanted to see God start doing something that was unexplainable,” he added.

“So why are college students so hungry?” One of the interviewers asked. 

“It’s a crossroads of life,” Giglio answered. “It’s the moment people stop deciding for 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 also spoke about how the times are different now than when he started the ministry and how the boom in technology has brought a lot of information and disappointment to young people. 

“The difference now that’s better is that there’s a real sense of belief that our voice matters,” he said.  “America wants to congregate right now and show that our voice matters. I believe that this generation really does believe there’s something more than the old school American dream. There’s something called making your life count.”

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