Pastor Louie Giglio, a prolific pastor and the founder of the Passion movement, has a front-row seat to ministering to America’s young generation.
Giglio, author of the new book, “At the Table with Jesus: 66 Days to Draw Closer to Christ and Fortify Your Faith,” sees tens of thousands of young Christians attend his Passion Conferences each year, a notable feat for anyone paying attention to the cross-section of religion and culture.
The preacher’s efforts remarkably reach youths when statistics reveal Millennials and members of Generation Z are undoubtedly more disconnected from Christianity than earlier generations.
One wouldn’t recognize this reality while attending Passion, where hordes of young Christians raise their hands in worship as Christ-centric songs reverberate throughout packed stadiums.
Attendees are committed not only to their faith but also to action, living out Christ’s command to “love God” and “love others” through service projects and other inspirational elements unfolding during each Passion conference.
Giglio and his efforts indeed paint a stark counter-narrative to the “faith is dying, and young people are driving its cultural demise” mantra so prevalent in the discussion today. One naturally wants to know the pastor’s secret to successfully reaching 18-25 year olds — and he was candid when CBN’s Faithwire asked.
“I don’t know if there is a secret,” he said. “But I think that a few things that, for whatever reason, have been a part of our journey.”
Giglio said he and his church have had a “desire” to reach young people, an essential, commonsense ingredient for any ministry looking to succeed in this arena.
He also detailed some key questions to help churches move more fruitfully in this direction.
“A lot of people are like, ‘We don’t have young people at our church,'” Giglio said. “But … do you want young people at your church? Are you praying for young people at your church? Are you willing to make some adjustments so that young people feel like they’re welcome at your church?”
He said these critical questions offer a starting point for churches and ministries looking to engage youths. Of particular import, Giglio said, is considering the significance of the “university moment” in young people’s lives.
“It’s seeing the critical importance of what I call the ‘university moment’ … It’s the crossroads,” he said. “It’s where everything in our life, the trajectory of our next two or three decades, is set relationally, professionally, spiritually.”
Giglio believes this pivotal timeframe is when many young people form and shape where they’re headed in life and who they’ll be taking with them along the way. That’s why reaching youth with the Gospel — or helping grow the Christian message within them — is so climacteric at this juncture.
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“I just see it as the most critical place in time … if you want to change the world and stand on that corner and point people to Jesus,” he said.
Rather than solving a complex riddle, Giglio said the recipe is relatively simple: let young people know you see them, value them, and that you want to help them build a relationship with Jesus. He said Passion has always tried to “keep Jesus at the center of it” and “minimize us and maximize Him.”
The preacher believes these principles are intergenerational and stressed the importance of being able to “renew our minds to the truth.” Through his new book, “At the Table with Jesus,” he’s on a mission to inspire believers more broadly to embark on a 66-day journey to create new habits that honor the Lord.
Giglio hopes to motivate people to form new habits that help grow and sustain their faith.
“[I] would hope that at the end of the 66 days, we’re really in a regular rhythm of sitting down and spending time with Jesus, and sadly most believers don’t sit down and spend time with Jesus on a regular basis,” he said. “And so that’s what I’m hoping … that people will be like, ‘Oh man, this is just part of my flow now.'”
In the end, Giglio said it’s all about becoming closer to Christ.
“That’s why we’re on the planet today … to be in a relationship with God,” he said. “He has something for us to do. He has a purpose for each one of us to fulfill, but not before He’s invited us into a relationship with him.”
Find out more about “At the Table with Jesus: 66 Days to Draw Closer to Christ and Fortify Your Faith.”
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