Q&A: Louie Giglio
Right now there isn't a home, a foundation, for us. We're excited about a local expression of faith, a local community of believers who have the same DNA as Passion. To be able to go to Stockholm and come home and have home be us is an awesome thought for us. And to be able to launch back to Tokyo and know we have a church community behind us, moving with us—I think it all can happen.
I know you are from Atlanta, but the city has almost 7,000 churches. Did you ever consider another location for your new church?
Atlanta is a city of five million plus people, and it will experience the largest percentage growth of all cities in the United States in the next ten years. To say that Atlanta doesn't need another church is crazy thinking to me. The church I used to attend (North Point Community Church) has three locations in the city. When they opened Buckhead in its new location, (senior pastor) Andy Stanley said they were getting a lot of flak. But he said the research shows there are 300,000 people who don't go to anybody's church on any given Sunday. Andy said that the truth of the matter is, there could be ten more Buckhead churches, and we would still only be scratching the surface.
We said to God, "What do you want to do?" It seemed like God just led us here.
You've said Andy Stanley, your pastor, was one of the first to know about your new church. Was he surprised? Was it difficult for him to hear?
He was shocked. Andy was the first person I told, before rumors of this even got to anybody else. I said, "This is what is in my heart." He looked at me like, "Are you sure you want to do that?"
Andy and I have talked in a lot of detail about what this journey looks like and it's so amazing. Andy is an incredible leader—the best leader I know. He has been so gracious. I believe North Point will continue to flourish, I believe Passion City Church will flourish, and there will still be hundreds of thousands of people in the city who have not yet encountered the grace of God. We're going to be friends through the whole process.
Some people ask me, "How could you put a church in Andy's backyard?" But whose backyard is it? God's. The church and city don't belong to Andy or to me or to anybody else.
Passion City Church is scheduled to hold services once a month, at least initially. Can you tell us what your vision is for the future?
We're meeting once a month out of necessity. Ultimately the best case scenario is that the church be in community and meet regularly. Chris (Tomlin) is on tour. We are supporting that and excited about that, but that's a factor. We're going to meet once a month for February, March, and in April we'll have a Good Friday event for the entire city of Atlanta. We'll meet in May and then pause for the summer.
We'll meet more often in the fall but not weekly yet. Next year, after Passion 2010, we hope to have found the right kind of facility to begin to meet weekly. Ultimately we want to be a church that meets every week. We want to go slowly and surely. When the timing is right, when the facility is right, we'll shift to meeting on Sunday mornings.
What would you tell people in Atlanta about attending Passion City Church?
They should go to their own church and serve well in the position that they're in. I wouldn't say anything to them about Passion City Church. If they say, "I know about Passion; I've been to some of the events and I've been waiting for something like this to come along," then great. How other people find their way to Passion City Church is really about the Holy Spirit.