|Louie Giglio grew up in a Christian home in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended college at Georgia State University. During his freshman year in 1977, at two o'clock in the morning, he accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior and chose not to engage in the party lifestyle that attracted so many of his peers. A growing concern for young students making ungodly choices would eventually shape his career: his passion for developing a modern worship style geared toward a younger generation.
Giglio earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth Texas. He and his wife, Shelly, began Choice Ministries, a weekly Bible study that met at Baylor University and eventually attracted over 10% of the student body. Giglio went on to pursue a Doctor of Ministry at Grace Theological Seminary.
In 1995, his father’s failing health prompted Giglio to move from Waco, TX to Atlanta, GA so he could better care for him. It was during the flight to Georgia that Giglio remembers seeking God on his desire to create a national gathering for Christian college students. This desire would eventually evolve into the globally renowned Passion Conference.
After grieving for his father, Giglio moved forward with his new vision for Passion Ministries, deciding to make Atlanta, GA the base of the conferences. Giglio told Christianity Today, “The picture was God saying, 'This is what I am going to do, Louie. And I'm going to use you in it because right now I need a guy who doesn't have a job, who doesn't have a ministry. And you're the guy right now.” Interestingly, he kept his idea for Passion a secret for over three months, except for telling his wife and a few close friends. Word eventually got out and people began asking him where to start, desiring to help in his endeavor.
Giglio names word of mouth as the biggest tool that helped start Passion Ministries. He had connections with several college campus ministries across the U.S. and had the leaders announce it to their students. Passion 1997 was hosted in Austin, Texas with fifteen or sixteen campus ministry groups in attendance, amounting to over 2,000 students and leaders. The conference consisted of four days of worship music and messages delivered by Giglio himself. Without any marketing, Passion’s attendance a year later in 1998 increased by 3,000 to 5,000 total.
The music for the Passion Conferences was provided by now-renowned worship leaders and Christian artists Chris Tomlin, David Crowder and Matt Redman. These musical influences shaped the worship of Passion Conferences, and are part of the popularity of the conferences.
Louie Giglio is the author of several books, such as “Wired: For a Life of Worship” and “I Am Not but I Know I Am: Welcome to the Story of God.” He also boasts a line of DVDs in which he is featured, including “How Great Is Our God,” “Alive,” “Life Interrupted,” “Canvas” and many more. In addition, he is a traveling speaker and co-writer of many contemporary worship songs. He has collaborated with Christ Tomlin and Matt Redman in writing contemporary hits such as “How Great Is Our God,” “Indescribable,” as well as many others.