Youth speaker to pray at Obama inaugural

On the heels of the 2013 Passion Conference attended by 60,000 in Atlanta, Louie Giglio has accepted an invitation to deliver a prayer at President Obama’s upcoming inauguration.

By Bob Allen

A Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate, whose student ministry at Baylor University exploded into the Passion Movement encountering millions of students and young adults, will deliver the benediction at President Obama’s inaugural swearing-in ceremony Jan. 21.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Jan. 8 Louie Giglio’s selection, along with the widow of slain civil-rights leader Medgar Evers, who will give the invocation. President Obama said the duo’s careers “reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans -- justice, equality, and opportunity.”

louie gigliotGiglio, 54, grew up attending First Baptist Church in Atlanta and got his M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1985, he began Choice Ministries as a campus-based student ministry at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. After 10 years, he and his wife, Shelley, moved to Atlanta, where he organized the first Passion gathering in 1997.

The most recent Passion Conference, Jan. 1-4, drew 60,000 18-to-25 year-olds to the Georgia Dome to listen to Christian rock music and sermons, while raising more than $3 million to fight human trafficking.

After 13 years as a member of Andy Stanley’s North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., Giglio, along with contemporary Christian music artists Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin, launched Passion City Church in the Lindbergh City Center area of Atlanta in 2008.

Another Southern Baptist, Purpose Driven Life author and Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, delivered the invocation at Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. Recently Warren said his biggest disappointment is Obama’s failure to unify the nation, and that the president has infringed on religious liberty with a contraceptive mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year.