A gathering of Southern Baptist missionaries grappling with what’s working in missions — and what isn’t — welcomed a new colleague to the strategic discussion: IMB President David Platt.
The long-planned conference, held earlier this fall in Asia, came at an ideal time for Platt, 36. The influential pastor, mission mobilizer and “Radical” author was elected a few weeks earlier by IMB trustees to lead Southern Baptists’ international mission enterprise. Now he’s focused on absorbing the huge amount of knowledge required for his new job. The five-day gathering enabled him to meet face to face with missionaries working in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe — something that might have taken him months or years to do otherwise.
“I was encouraged that the Lord orchestrated all of this, that He [brought] all these leaders together at this time of transition to be on the same page together, to study the Word together, to pray together, to worship together, to plan and work together,” Platt said. “I walked away totally energized that God’s doing something unique here — and just overwhelmed that I get to be a part of it.”
Platt went to the five-day conference primarily to “listen” and “learn,” he said. He took full advantage of the opportunity, meeting from dawn until after midnight each day with a wide variety of missionaries, from region-wide strategy leaders to front-line workers. He also spoke to the full gathering several times, laying out his initial priorities as IMB leader. His messages received a warm response from missionaries.
“We’ve got great days ahead of us,” one missionary predicted of Platt’s leadership. “David has a passion for the lost that is contagious. It will spread out to other pastors, to churches, to missionaries. Our job is to lead, to mobilize and get out of the way. Let the church do what it was created to do: make disciples among all nations.”
During TED-type “up talks,” breakout sessions and small-group circles analyzing specific case studies, Platt joined other conference participants learning about mission breakthroughs that can be applied worldwide — and persistent barriers, or “stuckages,” preventing the advance of the Gospel. The goal: to share effective approaches and spread fruitful practices as widely as possible.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press