Nearly two decades after forming to nudge Christian college students into a more vibrant relationship with God, the trio Passion is still, well, passionate about its work, even as its audience has grown far beyond the college crowd of its initial years.
Passion, a musical part of the Passion Movement started in 1995 by Louie and Shelly Giglio, continues to write and perform new music, tour and lead worship, even as its listeners number more than the tens of thousands of college students involved in the annual Passion Conferences.
Over the years, Passion has topped Billboard's Christian Albums chart eight times and won four Dove Awards in the process. Church congregations and faith groups across the country are familiar with Passion songs such as “How Great Is Our God,” “God of This City,” “One Thing Remains” and “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord).”
The trio, joined by Giglio as teaching pastor and gospel singer/Forward City Church pastor Travis Greene, will bring its "Faith Is Greater Than Fear" tour Sunday night to the First Baptist Church of Woodway for a Passion Worship Night. Giglio led a Baylor student ministry in the early 1990s before moving to Atlanta with his wife Shelly, where they started the Passion student conferences.
Passion, the trio, comes with a new album, "Whole Heart," a collection of songs recorded at Passion 2018 conferences in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. and released earlier this year. It's released on sixstepsrecords, whose other Passion Conference signees include Crowder, the band headed by former Waco resident David Crowder.
Though the band has changed musically over the years, its message and vision hasn't, said member and Passion City Church worship pastor Kristian Stanfill.
"Stylistically, you see some changes along the way in 'Whole Heart.' It's pretty obvious," said Stanfill. "The cool thing about Passion is the vision for Passion and the idea that all are made to live for the glory of God. That hasn't changed at all."
The Marietta, Georgia native joins Brett Younker and Melodie Malone in Passion and says their songwriting overlaps in a central theme. "There's a pretty clean thread through all the songs of the love of God for his people," he said.
Passion concerts don't stop at simply praising God together. The group invites local pastors and ministry leaders to participate in a pre-concert prayer circle, with the idea that they will follow up on what starts at the concerts. Passion and Passion Conferences also encourage attendees to get involved in ministries that serve others, whether Compassion International, the anti-trafficking END IT Movement or the Bible-distributing Voice of the Martyrs Korea.
Passion's "Faith Is Greater Than Fear" tour aims to offer hope for those struggling with anxieties, fears and depression, said Stanfill.
"When we come to worship God, fear is going to have to bow down," he said.