Passion 2010 – something’s not right

June 10, 2009 | Get free updates of new posts here

From the Passion website – “Shaping Values

God’s People
We believe that those who have placed their faith in Christ are knit together in one Body, the Church, a distinctive community of faith expressed in local clusters, engaging culture on every front with God’s hope and love… a Church for which Christ will personally return.

Community of Faith
The worldwide Body of Christ functions best in localized communities of believers. Seeking to serve the local church, not replace it, is a value that is affirmed by our staff and leadership as they worship and serve within the context of their local fellowships.

Believing that God seeks worshippers from all peoples, we desire to inform, challenge, equip and mobilize believers for participation in God’s global purposes among the nations.

Cultural Impact
Desiring to see all people worship God in Spirit and truth, we endeavor to engage the culture through creative Biblical communication, one to one sharing of the message of Christ and acts of compassion toward those in need.

If those things ARE in fact shaping values for Passion then why does the lineup for Passion 2010 look like this?

Passion 2010

Louie Giglio. David Crowder. Chris Tomlin. Steve Fee. Beth Moore.
Hillsong United. Charlie Hall. Kristian Stanfill. Christy Nockels.

White. White. White. White. White.
White. White. White. White.

To be fair, not included in this graphic are Matt Redman, John Piper and Andy Stanley.

White. White. White.

Sorry Passion – but this is a big fail. If you really ARE serious about local clusters, the worldwide body and all peoples equipped and mobilized then you have a big disconnect with the people you are putting on your stage at this conference.


UPDATE (08/27/09): This post is starting to get some traffic and I think that will only increase as we get closer to the actual event. Let me be VERY clear that I think Passion is a fantastic, Christ-centred, God-honouring group of people who are doing everything they can to take the gospel to people who need to hear it. This is in NO WAY a slam against Louie Giglio or anyone else in Passion leadership. God has used them and the Passion movement in incredible ways all over the world and I would pray that He would continue to do so for many, many years!

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  • Reply Will K. June 10, 2009 at 9:04 am


    • Reply Will B February 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm

      What about Francis Chan?

  • Reply matt macdonald June 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

    hillsong united is from Australia…that should count for half of a white person or something. plus, there’s a lot of them.

  • Reply Fred McKinnon June 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Wow … what an observation.

  • Reply Jon June 10, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Hmm, interesting.

    Along the same lines, aside from Hillsong United and Matt Redman, wouldn’t everyone else be from the States? Redman even spends a large amount of time in the US, while all but one of the Americans reside in Georgia, Texas, or Oklahoma.

    From Louie Giglio’s video introduction to the website:

    “You already know that we are excited about our next NATIONAL gathering for university students from all over the WORLD. It’s going to be right here in Atlanta…we want to just gather students from north, south, east, and west; from all over this nation…we’re really hoping a lot of you guys that we met around the world are going to somehow figure out how to make the journey all the way to Atlanta and represent your nation, your generation, your continent, your culture in this gathering we have…”

    As much as Passion toured around the world a few years ago and took American leaders to different cultures, it’s as if to say that the local church in other parts of the world has no viable leadership. What about the Chinese missionaries, the Ugandan pastors, the French revolutionary trying to make a difference throughout the world with the GLOBAL Church? Perhaps it’s aimed to be more of an equipping of Americans to change the world, but why not use the world to equip Americans? Or maybe it’s the continuation of Atlanta as the Evangelical center of the world…

    Did you e-mail Louie about it? Maybe Carlos could speak to shake things up with the whiteness…

  • Reply Marc Jess June 11, 2009 at 4:15 am

    I feel uncomfortable in this setup. I’m not mainly concerned if the people on are all white. What I’m concerned about is the message. I hope it shouldn’t just be social justice and community service and the likes. I hope Passion would still retain their frontline — the glory of God. It’s a huge thing John Piper was added in the team the last minute. Without him, the reformed component would be missing. By just looking at the lineup, it seems scary for me. I was shocked that Hillsong United joins Passion. I think their music is starting to sound more and more like an Emerging movement. But Brooke Fraser, she’s the best. Her songs are more biblically profound than most of the other Hillsong songs. Still I believe it’s God’s design.

    • Reply Carolyn January 9, 2010 at 11:56 am

      Hillsong’s message not biblically profound? “None but Jesus”? Simplistic, yes but isn’t the message of love taught by our savior simplistic as well?

    • Reply Matthew April 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      Not biblically profound?
      emerging church?

      buddy what are you talking about?

      Hillsong’s songs are some of the most christ-centered music you can get. Their focus is proclaiming the FINISHED work of Christ, that he did it all, and its all about him.

      None But Jesus?
      Salvation is here and he lives in me?
      Hosanna in the highest?

      dude, seriously you should examine your facts before you jsut say stupidly arrogant things.

      God has given them a platform to influence the world and be relevant, and thats exactly what theyre doing.

  • Reply Conner June 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Hmm…Israel Houghton popped up last time darkening the panel and Francis Chan is usually running around with them.

    Yeah, I noticed the same thing. I will say though that at most of the Passion events I’ve been to they have highlighted another cultural landscape by having a guest that was from another ethnicity or part of the world or culture.

    But wow, when you put it like that it’s kind of hard to argue 🙂

  • Reply Paul Wilkinson June 12, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Relax, Chris. I hear one of the bus drivers is African American.

  • Reply Snooping Around the Blogosphere « Thinking Out Loud June 13, 2009 at 10:24 am

    […] Chris Vacher, who blogs at Chris from Canada questions whether a high profile worship event purporting to represent “worldwide” worship and involving “all peoples” is living up to its goals when, without exception, every advertised participant is very white.    Read his thoughts here. […]

  • Reply Hot Off The Presses « Thinking Out Loud June 13, 2009 at 10:33 am

    […] Chris Vacher, who blogs at Chris from Canada questions whether a high profile worship event purporting to represent “worldwide” worship and involving “all peoples” is living up to its goals when, without exception, every advertised participant is very white.    Read his thoughts here. […]

  • Reply Torontonian June 14, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Mostly white but what else?

    Mostly male! How can that be?

    Why are women under-represented?

    I’ve always noticed that it’s the women
    who do the spadework and the men take
    the credit.

    Ever notice how many plaques are honouring
    the _______Women’s Auxiliary, who provided
    the funding for____________.

    Where are the men?

    Men form committees and set up structures.

    Women form teams and connections.

    How many telephone trees or e-mail trees
    are started by men?

    Is not the ministry of women as important
    as that of men? If not, why are children
    during their formative years left to the care
    of their mothers and not their fathers?

  • Reply Bob Cottrill June 15, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    When Passion last played Toronto (2005?), I couldn’t help but notice that everyone in the program (Tomlin, Crowder, Giglio, Hall, musicians, MC, etc.) were male Caucasian. This was in contrast to the audience who appeared to be majority non-Caucasian (and at least 50% female.) We talked about it on the bus home that night.

    To be fair – before the program got started, they did tack on a couple of prayers by some locals, including at least one woman (who might have been non-white!)

  • Reply Brunettekoala June 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

    The fact is Passion is a North American conference…unless I’m mistaken?

    And yes, someone has made a good point, why is it mostly male worshippers leading up? Last time I check there were more females than males in the church. At least that’s the case here in the UK.

    My thinking is that it should go on gifting and skills…not on ethnicity. However, maybe we need to look on how we recognise gifting and skill and if some aren’t getting the opportunity to share the gifts and skills they’ve been given…

  • Reply Patricia July 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    It makes me sad to read this posting and all the comments written here. Should we as believers be criticizing a movement that seeks to glorify God and promotes fulfilling the Great Commission? The concept of reaching “all peoples” comes straight from Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20. In the statements quoted in the blog, we read that Passion desires to “serve the local church, not replace it.” My understanding is that Passion’s World Tour sought to partner with national Christians in the nations to which they traveled. I do not think Passion’s purpose was to undermine the authority of the national church but rather to come alongside in support. The conferences give believers a chance to come together and celebrate the greatness of God and the gift of His Son Jesus who came to set all people free. If you have seen the photos on Passion’s website, you will see that participants represented a diverse mix of cultures. I also know that Chris Tomlin learned some lyrics in the languages of the nations they toured. In some nations, the church does not have the resources to put together such a large-scale gathering. If you have ever traveled or lived among believers in other nations, you’ll be able to appreciate that such a gathering could offer hope and encouragement to believers. Is Passion’s approach that much different from that of missionaries who travel to other cultures and seek to support the ministry of the national church, equipping and serving alongside national believers? I do not see Passion as trying to make a name for itself. In fact, every time I have heard the leadership speak, the focus has been on bringing glory to Christ and on following where He leads. I so appreciate people willing to go beyond the status quo and follow where the Lord is leading them.

    Having attended a Passion conference myself, I can attest to the fact that not all the projects promoted are about social justice. In fact one opportunity for giving was for Bible translation for an unreached tribal group. I will also comment that social justice has long been neglected by Christians and provides an avenue through which to show the love of Christ and build relationships with those to whom we wish to present the gospel!

    My goal is not to criticize those who have written here, but to offer another perspective. Perhaps we should take a look at our own participation in the Great Commission and ask God to show us how he wants us to serve before we criticize a movement such as Passion.

    • Reply Luis January 6, 2010 at 11:18 pm

      Although I have some concerns about how the church today seems to be enphasizing ‘social jusice’ and to what extend it can be some sort of a political culture, I totall agree and applaud Patricia’s comments.
      I have been a close follower of Passion for years and, of all things, discrimination -in any way, is not something that can be criticized of them. This is a group of people doing something good (Whom most of, happen o white.. and males -so what?), it is not written anywhere that, to be effective in this or that ministry, there have to be equal participation of each social group, gender, color or language. (As the ACLU would demand 🙂 ).

      Instead, we are to be Equal Opportunity Evangelists; and Passion has done quite a bit in reaching multiple cultures and places in the world and supporting their local ministries.

    • Reply Dillon November 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      I am glad you wrote this. I remember the scripture that tells us to stop devouring each other. I don’t believe its about the venue, its not about us, its about God and how we glorify Him. I dont feel this trend is very glorifying to Him. What happens when all we focus on is the things that are wrong.

      Anyway thank you for writing this.

  • Reply Chris From Canada July 27, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Great comments so far on this.

    Marc – Unless there have been major changes with the Passion movement, I have no concerns about how the gospel will be presented at this conference.

    Bob – Are you guys intentional about ‘leading forward’ on this at North Park? Are you conscious about being diverse (not just racially but in terms of gender, age, etc) in the people you are putting on stage? Just asking out of curiosity.

    Patricia – Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I don’t think anyone is being critical towards Passion or the people involved. My response was only related to what appears (to me!) to be a disconnect between Passion’s shaping values and the way they are presenting those values on stage.

  • Reply Cheryl September 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Yes you nailed it!! Has anyone looked at the diversity in the USA lately…..Passion does not reflect the diversity of the USA… reflects the white church of America where white men dominate and white women serve. The whites and the blacks do not worship together…..and God knows!!!!

  • Reply Sam September 23, 2009 at 9:59 am

    This whole discussion is a ploy from satan to get people to deny Christ. Don’t fall in this way. It’s not about race. It’s not about superiority of an ethnicity. The only motive is to share the love of Christ. In peace, I submit these things to you.

  • Reply Mary September 30, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Hi… I stumbled on this blog on accident and I found this entry very interesting. I agree that there is some disconnect, but I don’t think they totally fail. Francis Chan is gonna be one of the speakers at Passion this year and he’s of Chinese origin. I went to Passion 07 and Israel Houghton definitely made an appearance on stage with Chris Tomlin.

    There were also a bunch of singers on stage with Tomlin who were African American and some of them even had solos. I specifically remember Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) as an example and it was VERY powerful.

    I think Louie and the people behind Passion want to bridge this gap and are making slow progress, but I do see your point. As an African American myself I wish there was more color headlined on the stage so there was an example with a movement as big as this for others to see people worshipping together regardless of color and race. But ultimately the end goal is to point others towards God’s glory, not who did it and what color they were.

    That’s my opinion and I hope that all made sense…

  • Reply mike October 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    where’s voddie baucham and ravi zacharias when you need them? 😉

  • Reply Eric January 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I’ve been to several Passion events. The ones I’ve been to all had Piper. Voddie Baucham covered for Louie many times at his singles event in Atlanta. I heard Ravi at one and saw Houghton open for Tomlin. As a youth pastor I get fliers all the time for events. They’re now almost as many events that headline 90% African American people as there are the other way around. This is not a Passion problem this is a USA problem. I know their goal at Passion is to obey God and glorify Him. This year they didn’t get enough color to please everyone. I know for a fact they love and respect all cultures. Most of these guys have been friends for many years and many come from here in Atlanta. They grew and ministered together in Alpharetta. They enjoy serving together and you can only have so many speakers. I’m not sure if they intended this to be a collision of all cultures like a missions conference. That’s great when it happens but I’m not sure it was the point of it. It would be nice if they all had a different skin color…and no one had to think about this. They’re amazing people of God.

  • Reply James January 7, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Hmmm… You only underscore that man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart.

  • Reply Gina January 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I have to agree with Patricia and James. This is an organization and a gathering of people from all over the world to display the love of Christ and serve Him by volunteering and giving money to important causes for every type of need and people group. If you’re concerned about equal numbers of various ethnic groups on a stage, you are missing the point.

    Perhaps you didn’t mean to; I’m praying that you all would focus on the message and not the messengers. When Jesus preached to the masses there were those that said who is this? isn’t He just a carpententer’s son? He who has ears let him hear!!

  • Reply PurdueStudent January 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    What about Francis Chan?

    • Reply PurdueStudent January 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm

      wait, i didn’t read the all the responses. that topic has already been covered. oops

  • Reply Michigan January 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I am so saddened by reading the criticism of Louie Giglio and the Passion Conferences. This is not about a person, ultimately, I believe Louie has surrendered his life to the call that God gave him to reach 18-25 year olds across the world for the glory of Christ. It is God who gives the desire to attend these conferences, and God who brings these leaders together, so in reality your focus is not on the right person. You are in essence criticizing God and the work He is doing. I think we all need to have an attitude of humility and less judgement, instead let’s praise God for a way He has used this forum to bring 25,000 students in one location, for 4 days to glorify His name. Praise God for bringing students together for such a time as this…it is for everyone and everyone is and always has been welcome! To Him be the glory and honor forever!

  • Reply Steve January 16, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    If we were all blind, I wonder if we would we would still be bent on what color people were and where they’re from…

  • Reply Lee January 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm


    Wow…I didn’t even realize that I myself am white? When did we start seeing colors?

    Your right, we should be more like the world and fill the conference with speakers who have different colors of skin reguardless of if they speak the one true truth and the only true Gospel.

  • Reply Jordan February 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I think you are just plain wrong. I admit there may be white leaders up on stage. Why? maybe they were brought along the same path in America and formed sixsteps records. Hillsong is not only white also. Which shows your lack of invesitgating and how you are trying to tear down the church. The crowd consisted of people from 50 states and 36 countries. Is that not worldwide. A girl from a closed country led some to but you will never know that because it would endanger her. Frances Chan is not white. Most churches that these leaders lead are multi-cultural. why don’t you focus on the heart of these people and throw out the skin color? God has his hand on the Passion movement and it is worldwide. Go tell God he is doing something wrong.

  • Reply joe February 9, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Don’t worry, it’s all about the “draw”…who can draw the people, to pay for the conference. My friend who is a singer, even sang with Bill Gaither, is disabled and they denied putting him on the roster. It’s all about the draw, to get the people, to get the $!!

    • Reply joe February 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

      More than $668,000 was collected during the Jan. 2-5 conference in Atlanta, Ga., exceeding Passion’s initial goal of $500,000. A couple attending matched the gathered amount, bringing the total to more than $1.3 million.

      money money, yeah yeah….

  • Reply joe February 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Shouldn’t souls be a goal, and not 500k?

  • Reply thoughtman February 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I’ll preface with: I don’t have anything to do with Passion. I just went and volunteered. So, I’m not biased.

    But I’m just curious. Have you ever thought about how Satan uses “Christian” folks (like yourself in this instance) to bring down the church. What I witnessed at Passion was a huge, magnificently powerful, inspiring, thought out, prayed for, beautiful meeting of Christians and non-Christians that furthered the kingdom in huge ways.

    I saw the world changed because of the messages delivered from the main stage and in small group sessions. I saw homeless people in Atlanta brought to their knees in prayer. I saw an Asian girl on the main stage preach the truth and pray over us in Mandarin Chinese. I met an African American girl who because of her is answering her calling to go to Africa (and maybe become the next main stage speaker and author). I saw Francis Chan bring it. I heard African Americans in our breakout room stand up and “preach” to the rest of the room “on the fly”. I saw South Americans in the crowd that came from thousands of miles away and had conversations with people in Atlanta that resulted in changed lives and healed people through Christ’s power! And who knows how many people from all ethnicities and backgrounds have been effected like a set of millions of dominos around the world.

    Are you kidding me?!

    You’ve just let Satan have a small win with what I saw to be a huge win for Jesus Christ, our powerful saviour.

    We can nit pick about anything done in life. That’s easy. What’s hard is to not allow ourselves to stoop to levels like what you’ve just done.

    No need to add remarks to my thought here, just think, and go do something against Satan today instead of against Jesus.

    • Reply Kristen July 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm


  • Reply Ryan July 14, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Observation: of those that chose to comment and have a photo, all are white and one is female.

  • Reply samson November 16, 2010 at 3:31 am

    in all honesty, i dont care what color my cup is, as long as it gets the job done. I dont care what color they are, as long as they are being used of God. I myself am an african and think this thing with color representation is being taken too far…back here at home we are all black but we still find ourselves divided by tribe. humanity will always seek to identify themselves with some social or racial ties and then seek to project it, unfortunately, even in the church. While this issue is indeed noteworthy, it should NOT be our main focus…as it is written, He looks at the heart and not outside.
    I would prefer if we adopted a Jeremiah approach to this issue. When the children of Israel were in captivity they were told to pray for the prosperity of their captive country!! Even if we may think that things are a bit unfair, we should still pray for the prosperity of the event.

  • Reply t-plunk December 31, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    the r&b artist Lecrae Moore (african american male) will be leading worship and music this year for one of the late night features.

    I’m a caucasian christ-follower from atlanta, ga and I confess that denomination and race are clearly related in the US.

    Why do some ‘churches’ decide they minister only to blacks, or whites, or koreans, or etc…

    I am a musician and a worship leader and would love to see our music and worship better reflect the styles and expressions of all cultures…. blend it you know, it could be beautiful music- or at least the attempt would be beautiful.

    I totally agree with the opinion of ‘samson’ who commented above…

    We need to focus on what is important to God and not what we are comfortable with. if you’re not comfortable worshiping or learning from/with people of different races then you have deeper issues in your heart you must address.

    Events like this are very expensive for attendees and that MAY correlate with the demographics of the attendees.

    God bless you guys in this New Year!

  • Reply a non consumer January 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Seems too good to be true. Yes it appears all white. Yet students in America are coming up to over 30% non-white. This movement seems to miss the future of students. Where are the Latino preachers? LeCrea I see made the stage in 2011 but he has a very white following as well.

    My greater concern is that this “movement” or event is a big money maker. If everyone paid $99 (and some pay more) Passion folks rake in about $2.1 million. And I hear their speakers don’t charge but they sure do sell a lot of books and CDs in the bookstore.

    Bless these kids’ hearts for giving so generously to causes that they are concerned for. If they are concerned maybe they would give more than $30 each. $650,000 sounds great until you divide it by 21,000. Come on Christians…stop consuming and start living your faith and stop sleeping around and drinking beer and wine and calling it being relevant.

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