The Piper-Giglio Connection

In the Fall of 1992, I began my sophomore year in college. I had just experienced a watershed moment in my walk with Christ the previous summer as I had just realized a call to ministry. As the new term began, I was hungry for the word like I’d never been hungry before.

It was that year that my good friend from high school, Steve Graves, introduced me to the ministry of Louie Giglio. I can hardly believe that it was nearly twenty years ago. Steve had begun attending a Bible study on the campus of Baylor University called Choice. Louie Giglio preached to about a 1,000 students every Monday night, and Steve was sending me the sermon tapes to listen to. Louie had an infectious passion for Jesus, and I couldn’t get enough of his preaching.

That is why several years later I was really excited to hear about a new ministry that Louie was starting called “Passion.” In 1998, I attended my first Passion event in Austin, Texas. To my surprise, one of the preachers was this reformed guy that I had heard preach once but wasn’t very impressed with—John Piper. But that miscalculation was about to change. I didn’t know it, but a Copernican revolution was in the offing for me as I was to hear Piper preach the single most formative sermon of my life.

The Piper-Giglio connection has been an important one for me—a smiling Providence that has born great fruit in my own heart and life. Until now, I never knew the story of how this partnership was formed, but Louie tells the whole thing in the video above. Take a look.

[Louie Giglio will be one of the plenary speakers at the 2011 Desiring God National Conference, “Finish the Mission.”]


  • Jeff Parsons

    Dr. Burk,

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, but I’m not much for commenting. This really resonated with me, though. The Louis-Piper connection worked similarly for me, except I first heard Louis when I was a student minister. I took a group of college students to the first OneDay, heard John Piper, and the rest is history. I wonder how many others have a similar story…..

  • Kevin C

    I have a slightly different story. I was a freshman in college at Ole Miss but went to the first Passion with a bunch of friends. I remember struggling so much through that conference, only to realize later that I was really seeking after an emotional experience. I didn’t “feel” God so I wasn’t experiencing Him or He wasn’t working in my life. I am hugely grateful for the ministry of John Piper now. However, that conference, I asked myself the question…..”Who is this boring old dude and why is he here?” I just remember listening to him being like work. If I tuned out for a minute, I was lost. Several years later, my brother gave me Piper’s book “Future Grace.” He told me who it was and I sarcastically said thanks. However, for that book, I had the same response Louis did for Let the Nations Be Glad. I remember reading a couple of pages and being floored. I suppose that sometime during those few years, God had shown me what He meant when Peter wrote to think through and the Lord would give you understanding. I look back and laugh now that my initial response was pure boredom and indifference to a man whom God would later use so much in my life.

  • C. White

    Fall of 1992 I was a freshman in college. Coming out of the 80s/90s entertainment youth ministry culture, I had no real foundation for why I believed what I believed, or why I was Southern Baptist (no church history, no biblical doctrine, just a bunch of pizza parties). Later I would follow the Passion movement closely, though I didn’t really like the “John Piper” guy who was always at the conferences. I went to a Passion conference in Sherman, TX as a sponsor in 2003 still not appreciating Piper. Then, through an episode of Cross TV, Mark Kielar taught about decisional regeneration, which hit the nail on the head for what I had seen all my life, but could not explain, and didn’t think was biblical. Since then, I have listened to hundreds of Piper sermons, and there has been no turning back. Interestingly, I was looking through some files for a graduate level stat class I had in 1997 and found the doodle “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him”…

  • Steve Davis

    Great to hear this story. I was in Atlanta and went to 7:22 off a few times my senior year of high school (96-97) with one of our interns (who was from Baylor and had gone to Choice) — a bit before it had exploded and was full of high schoolers a few years later. That was my introduction to Louie.

    That same youth intern I stayed in touch with during college organized a trip for a handful of us to go to Passion 98 in Austin. I knew Piper was speaking, and I had seen his books around but had never read any of them or heard him preach before. And I had a singularly transformative moment in that very same sermon that you cited. I sat there in the auditorium stunned after the sermon, trying to process what I’d just heard. I think I listened to that sermon a dozen times over the next year. I still have my notes from it.

    I went back to Passion ’99, and then later took a crew of high school seniors to One Day when I had become a youth intern myself. I’m a bit out of this loop now, though I still listen to Piper through DG things from time to time, but that day in 1998 in Austin was one of the spiritual markers I will look back on all my life — a day when a foundational piece of what I believe was crystalized.

    Thanks for posting the video. Watching this really took me back.

  • Allen Smith

    Hey Denny,

    The Passion ’97 sermon was my single most formative sermon. I still remember going to Passion only to hear Caedmon’s Call. And I remember Fabian Roberts looking at the speaker line up, associating about Louie Giglio’s name with some character in the Godfather, saying in a raspy voice: “I’m here to talk about God, Your Father.”

    I posted about it while Passion was going on this past January. Only eternity will we fully understand what the Holy Spirit was up to at those conferences!

    Thanks for the post. Tell Susan hello. Sandi also greets you from Peru.

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