Passion 2023: Louie Giglio urges Christians to break free from TikTok, apps that steal time and money
Louie Giglio warned those gathered at the Passion 2023 Christian conference this week about the dangers of society operating “an economy of attention” through social media platforms and sites that “absorb” Christians by distracting them and taking their money.
The 64-year-old pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta told the mostly Gen Z audience at the three-day conference that social media is “absolutely pointless.” And he called out the $4.6 billion company TikTok as a platform that is profiting off viewers’ and users’ time.
“People are getting paid and they’re counting on you to pay them. … We wake up and start paying people because we are caught up in this economy of attention,” Giglio said at the annual event held Jan. 3-5.
Giglio explained that social media is designed to make it hard for people to stop watching and clicking while companies are benefiting financially.
“If you have an addiction and you end up on certain sites, you [are] literally paying people. It’s going out of your bank account into their bank account,” he said.
“And you’re thinking that you’re getting a desire, the flesh, gratified. And really, they’re just getting paid. They couldn’t care less about you, except that you’re paying them.”
Giglio proposed the idea that rather than dedicating long portions of time to social media platforms, Christians should begin to “guard their time” by devoting more time to God.
“The way the economy works is based on your attention. And multiple lifestyles now are emerging of people of all kinds with all different messages, all different lanes, all different purposes,” Giglio warned.
“But they’re banking on you giving them your attention. And if you will give them your attention for five seconds, they get paid,” he continued.
“If you click on that link for five seconds, they get paid. If you watch 100 TikToks in a row, 100 people get paid. If they’re monetizing — and a lot of people are — all they’re trying to do is get five seconds of your attention. If you give them 15, then that’s even better for them. But they’ll take five.”
“When I give [God] my attention, He gets paid. Not that He needs more money, but He gets the glory that He deserves. But when He gets my attention, I also get paid because I get Him, and so it works out great for God because He gets the glory He should be getting from my life because He created my life by and for Him,” Giglio preached.
“But I also get God. And when I get God, I get the very best thing that there is on the planet. And you and I need to heighten our desire to guard our attention.”
The Spirit of the Lord, Giglio said, is “trying to break into [the] mindset” that Christians have that leads them to devote more time to online sites and social media platforms than they spend with the Lord.
“Join David, the Psalmist, when he said, ‘One thing I asked the Lord and that will I seek that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple,’ to lock onto true glory, and true beauty and true fame and to stay there,” Giglio said, reciting part of Psalm 27.
Giglio pointed out that far too many Christians need to “recalibrate our willingness to give our attention away easily.”
“I’m not knocking any TikToker or YouTuber who has got their little phone and microphone out on a college campus. But apparently, a lot of them do. … I’m just saying that you and I have the choice where we want to aim our attention,” he said.
Every human is a mirror, Giglio added, because each one reflects whatever their main focus is.
“You don’t have to believe in Jesus to be a mirror. You’re a human being. You’re going to be a mirror. You’re going to reflect something to the world. You’re going to say to the world: ‘this is what my attention is focused on. … This is what I want the world to hear from my life.’”
“I just pray that God will give us an awakening, a spirit of revelation of the glory of God, something that is bigger and something that is better, so that we cannot just opt into a slogan of ‘passion,’ but really believe it deep in our heart.”
The Passion movement was launched in 1995 by Giglio. This year’s conference featured a number of Christian leaders and pastors, including Jackie Hill Perry, Pastor David Platt, Tim Tebow and others.
Passion movement’s ministry statement declares: “For us, what matters most is the name and renown of Jesus. We believe in this generation and are watching God use them to change the climate of faith around the globe.”