Long before the word "Passion" became synonymous with that famous Jesus movie, it was already a buzzword for a young generation of believers wanting to live entirely for God's renown. Though the movement's manifesto has always been strictly vertical, Passion is also responsible for introducing us to the heart and the songs of Chris Tomlin, the David Crowder Band, and many others. Christian Music Today talked to Passion founder Louie Giglio about the growth of the ministry, how it operates as a family, and how popularity and commercial success are but vehicles to get the message out to a wider audience.
What prompted you to start Passion?
Louie Giglio The death of my father. That seems like a strange starting point, but from '85 to '95, my wife, Shelley, and I led a campus ministry at Baylor University in Texas, and we wanted that campus to really come alive. We had never done a campus ministry before; God just sort of planted us there and birthed this ministry. In a few years, in a campus of 11,000 kids, there were 1,400 of them coming to these weekly Bible studies. It was simple. It was teaching that was super-challenging. Like, "God wants your whole life for his glory." And it was music, giving kids the chance to really express their hearts to God in worship. That's all we did.
So where's your father come into the story?
Giglio In the ten years we were there, my dad was disabled with a brain virus. He couldn't feed himself. My mom was taking care of him. I'd pray, "Lord, let me go to Atlanta to help my mom take care of my dad." Finally, in 1995, I felt like the Lord said, "You can go." So Shelley and I transitioned our leadership to our staff. We started to get the dominoes in place for our big move. I was willing to work ...1