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Christianity Has A Mecca

First of all, I fear that my recent decision to reenter the world of higher education will adversely effect my ability to be a constant blogger. I was hit with a major case of syllabus shock on Monday when I received my three hundred page course packet for my first eight week class.

Ok, now on topic… I have been thinking a lot about Louie Giglio. I have tremendous respect for Louie. We have never met but he has been a major contributor to the advancement of the cause of Christ in North America and for that we are friends. He has also been one of those guys who has remained seemingly humble despite his rise to prominence in Christiandom.

A few years ago my respect for him went through the roof when he used his platform with passion to encourage college students to transfer to schools in New England and assist in starting churches in New England’s major cities. Some Great friends of ours, Brian & Kim Metz, actually accepted this challenged and moved to Boston for a year!

In the last few months rumors have begun to float around about Louie and some of the passion crew (Chris Tomlin, Nathan & Christy Nockles and Matt Redman)  are starting a church… Awesome! This is great news!

So the date is set, the location is chosen, the website is made and Atlanta is the home of Passion City Church

Here is my question…

Why Atlanta?

  • Atlanta is the most churched major city in the world.
  • Atlanta is the home to the largest number of church plants each year for the past several years.

I fear that Passion City Church will unintentionally rape the churches of Atlanta of thousands of passionate, Jesus loving youngsters that are desperately needed in their ministries. I’m glad we are going to have another great mega church, by March it will be the new, fastest growing church in America… But there will be a thousand church plants in Atlanta with buckshot through them.

I really wish passion city church would have opened in Vegas, New York, Boston, or DC or Philly. I am interested in your thoughts about this.

Comments(11)

  1. Reply
    Dagný says

    My guess is that they chose Atlanta because that’s where Louie lives. And it’s the home to the Passion offices, Sixstepsrecords etc…

    but I’m pumped that they’re starting a church though … I love Louie! He’s an amazing speaker.

    But it would have been awesome if they had opened in Vegas, New York, Boston etc …

  2. Reply
    Michael says

    I’ve been feeling the exact same way ever since I first heard about this. I realize there are plenty of unchurched people to go around in Atlanta, I understand that. There are also plenty of unchurched people in other major cities that don’t have such bright beacons of light that are already shining. To me it always seemed like a comfy way to settle down.

  3. Reply
    Heath says

    Dude I feel the same way. As one of the pastors in a new church plant in the Atlanta area I wondered why? Could it be that he grew up in Atlanta and lives here? It’s not my place to question God’s calling on his life though and I will not criticize him for that, it just perplexes me. Mt real point of contention I have is the event-driven, mega-church atmosphere that is sure to be the driving force of the new church, much like it is for Passion conferences and the now defunct 7.22 gatherings. One of my qualms with the mega churches of today is the fact that the people who attend seem to come for the show. Where is the since of community that is needed in a functioning church? The worship, preaching, and call to missions are great but are they reaching lost or becoming a hot new club for the 20 something Christian crowd? That’s the reason they stopped doing 7.22. It had turned into a Christian club. Maybe Passion City will prove me wrong and they will be a church that truly reaches the lost and doesn’t “rape the churches of Atlanta” for young passionate members.

    We don’t worry about losing people to them. The people we are reaching don’t know who Giglio or what Passion is. Most of them were lost or had falen away from church when they encountered the Journey. We are all they know at this point and they prefer community rather than a great show.

  4. Reply
    aletheiaodu says

    I would assume, having watched Louie and spent a couple hours with him, that their idea would not be to plant one church. I don’t know that for sure but when passion started, it started as just a one-day event and now it has grown and the artist and teacher have grown. It would be my prayer that this would take place in Atlanta and eventually all over the country and world.

  5. Reply
    clintclifton says

    I hope not to sound like a Pharisee… I know that whatever passion city church becomes it will be Jesus centered. But I also know the allure that passion has traditionally evoked in the 20 something christian. I really hope they use there influence to send Atlantians all over the globe!

    I did see that there service is at night… that will be a help to the “raping the church” issue.

  6. Reply
    chrisrhodenhizer says

    This is sooo crazy, I was just looking at Passion City web site last night and said these same things to my wife – we both wondered why Atlanta??? I do love Louie, as well, and trust Jesus told him to do this, that would be the only reason to put a church in Atlanta… actually I think Jesus would need to say it in an audible voice – HA!!!

  7. Reply
    Heath says

    I wonder where they will line up theologically? I’m sure it will be baptistic since that is who Louie is, but where will they draw the theological lines? He will have to define himself theologically in ways that Passion did not because he his now starting a church not a movement. Passion has an ecumenical appeal but the church will have to pick doctrinal sides on issues of importance (ie. baptism, soteriology, etc.). I found it interesting that on the website there was no discussion of their beliefs. Surely he’s not going to be stealthy regarding his doctrine?

  8. Reply
    randy says

    In my opinion, the “location” of the church is an issue of secondary importance to the primary issue of the “goal” of the church. If this church’s goals are properly aligned with God’s goals for His church, then all discussion and fears of this particular ministry “raping” other ministries becomes both irrelevant and revealing.

    Discussion becomes irrelevant in the sense that “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand” and God’s kingdom is not a divided kingdom….never has been….never will be…period. So God will not empower one legitimate ministry to “rape” another. If this appears to occur, then one (or perhaps both) ministries are not of God.

    Discussion becomes revealing in the sense that we demonstrate perspectives characterized by lack of trust. If God is the instigator and sustainer of a ministry, then that ministry should never “fear” anyone or anything being big enough to “take” from it.

    If this ministry is born of God, then it will most certainly complement other valid ministries in the local area as well as valid ministries around the world in ways both seen and unseen. If it doesn’t….then something needs to be fixed….either in this new ministry or in the ones it threatens. Surely, we would want to know if a tire was about to blowout on our vehicle…..so we could repair it and go the distance!

    Ministry is the vehicle used by God to carry the Kingdom to all the world…..to expand it….and to increase the ripeness of its fruit (the fruit of love!)

    So…ALL of His ministers MUST trust Him to sustain what is His. We are His and He will sustain each of us! If you’re not trusting at this level…..put the gauge to your tire and check for a slow leak….get it fixed…..and lets move forward TOGETHER in this all-important Kingdom stuff!

  9. Reply
    clintclifton says

    Randy,
    thanks for your comments. I have to say that I agree with all that you said. I particularly agree with your comments about location being of secondary importance. My point is that as we look at the example of the early church there is an unmistakable emphasis on carrying the gospel to the hard places… the places where the gospel is not yet triumphant. We, as followers of JESUS, want to see his name spread… Those who are planting and reviving churches tend to cluster in places where churches tend to grow easily while leaving other, more difficult locations unattended. Thanks for bringing focus back to the main thing. Do you mind introducing yourself?

  10. Reply
    randy says

    Clint,

    Hello…and thanks for the thanks! I’m not a minister…just a local business owner (south of Atlanta). I got the email invitation yesterday to Passion City Church’s February 15th service and decided to RSVP for myself and several others. Also, that’s when I learned the name of the church and googled it for commentary. I found this and much more.

    There has long been a thread of “heard it through the grapevine” discussion regarding this new church plant. Much of it has been quite speculative…..with arguments being made by the speculator based on his/her speculation with perhaps several other junior speculators jumping on board to speculate together……the end product being most unspectacular – an empty argument:)

    My best guess is that Louie knows what he’s doing….or at least knows that he doesn’t know and so is reduced to that incapacitated state of strength we know as “living by faith”.

    Back to the location issue….

    God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being… (Acts 17:24-28)

    It appears that Louie’s time and place are “Atlanta” and “today”….and that he (in this time and place) is seeking the Lord….groping for Him….finding Him….living and moving in Him….and having his entire being “in Him”. Can’t get much more godly than that, I’d say!

    But from a lesser point of strategy…..Atlanta has become the most diverse of the premiere transportation gateways from North America to other continents. While New York has historically served as gateway to Europe and Los Angeles as gateway to the Far East, Atlanta has grown to provide strategic access to Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and perhaps other places I’m not even thinking of right now.

    How proper that a man with such passion for God should be placed in such a strategic place? What hinders men and women who already live in all the other places (Vegas, DC, and anywhere else) from developing the same passion for God and doing in these places what Louie does in Atlanta. I would say to these people….there’s enough of God to go around….but there’s not enough of Louie…..So ALL of us should get busy cultivating our own passion for God (or perhaps I should say allowing ourselves to be cultivated by God to carry His passion) in the “times and places” He has appointed each of us…..perhaps then we would see God do through us what he does through Louie….and I think both God and Louie would love to see that.

    As for other churches losing members to this new church….if you lose someone who is attracted to the event and to the “production”, then you have only lost someone who is immature and that person brings the burden of his/her immaturity to the ministry who attracted him or her for that reason. Your burden becomes lighter and you can become more effective in Kingdom matters with the more mature ones who remain with you. A blessing in disguise perhaps?? But….if you lose someone who is attracted to the intensity of passion in a man’s heart who is walking with and seeking God because that someone can’t find the same thing in your ministry…..then you’ve just received a good wake up call! And Jesus might say to that church:

    Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…. (Rev. 2: 4)

    As for the example of the early church carrying the gospel to the hard places…..the emphasis was on hard places because every place was hard to begin with because the gospel was only in one place (Jerusalem) and from there began to make it’s difficult journey to the rest of the world. I would go beyond looking at the early church (who failed – as we do – their purposes quite miserably at time – i.e. Revelation 2 and 3) and look at the intent of God in giving them these purposes…..and the intent is for His glory to “fill the earth”…..not just hard places or easy places….but every place!

    Louie, I suspect is fulfilling his small role in accomplishing this…..the question then becomes…..are we?

    Randy

  11. Reply
    johnMark says

    I too have some concerns about Passion City Church.

    Randy, you gave me a nice long response that I appreciate. I hope to reply to you soon. I’ve got a pastoral theology class assignment to finish and a new small group to tend to for tonight.

    For now though, I understand why you pointed out Rev. 2:4. However, being attracted to the intensity of a man’s passion might have more to do with your own perception than what is actually going on. *You* should have your own passion for the Lord and not depend one someone elses. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be encouraged by another. I am saying to check yourself first and seek guidance from those whom God has given to watch over you. I.e. talk to your pastor about it. If you are not inspired with a certain passion for some reason it may just be you.

    Maybe the Lord is calling you to start something within your current local body. Maybe you speak to your pastor and he tells you that he’s been trying to find someone who would like to seek out the lost in those certain areas of the city. He’s had trouble because no one wants to step up.

    Many times the person in the pew has no idea what’s going on in the pastors life as it relates to the rest of the church. The dynamics can be overwhelming.

    I don’t want to dismiss what you’re saying, but I also want to respect what God has all ready put in place. You have some valid points, but there is a larger picture too. (Not that you’re denying this.)

    Mark

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