David Platt was in Nepal on the last day of a mission trip in February when he awoke to an email that would change his life: IMB’s president, Tom Elliff, was retiring.
Platt’s head fell back onto his pillow as the possibilities swirled. Four years ago, IMB had approached him about leading Southern Baptists’ international missions organization. God’s answer then was a clear “No.”
But things were much hazier now. The Lord had done an “unusual work” in Platt’s heart on this trip, exposing him to “massive” physical and spiritual poverty unlike anything he’d ever seen.
“You’d go for four or five days without meeting anybody who’d even heard the name of Jesus,” he remembered.
Platt was seriously wrestling with a potential call to move his family to Nepal to serve as church planters. That’s when the Holy Spirit hit him with a question: Why would he be willing to go half-way around the world to take the Gospel to the lost and not at least consider a move that would enable him to mobilize thousands of others to do the same?
What Platt didn’t yet realize was that God had already started him on a journey that would end with his election as the youngest president in the International Mission Board’s 169-year history. It’s a journey the 36-year-old pastor shared for the first time Sunday (Aug. 31) with the congregation he’s led for the last eight years, The Church at Brook Hills, in Birmingham, Ala.
Brook Hills members welcomed Platt with a thunderous standing ovation as he walked on stage to preach during the 9 a.m. service, his first Sunday “back home” since the announcement of his new role at IMB. Visibly touched by the show of support, Platt’s voice cracked with emotion as he announced that Sept. 14 will be his last Sunday as Brook Hills’ senior pastor.
“So, how in the world did we get here?” he asked, framing his sermon to answer the question likely lingering in the minds of the church’s 4,500-plus members. Platt said the answer boils down to a question he’s been asking the Holy Spirit: What’s the best use of my life for the spread of the Gospel?
“I hope it’s the question you’re asking in your life,” Platt told the nearly packed sanctuary.
He compared his calling to IMB to that of Paul’s determination to visit Jerusalem in Acts 20:22 — “constrained” (or bound) by the Holy Spirit. “I want you to have confidence … that the Spirit has indeed said, ‘Set apart for me David for this work to which I have called him,'” Platt said, referencing the Holy Spirit’s consecration of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press