Friday, August 29, 2014

David Platt as the New IMB President: Two Positives and Two Negatives

Although I'm no longer a Southern Baptist, I still care very much for the convention. In particular, I love the International Mission Board (IMB). My wife Alice and I briefly served with the IMB in 2006-2007, before cancer hit our family. Throughout our ordeal various members of the IMB showed us great care and concern. I will always be grateful.

I try to keep up with the happenings at the mission board. The recent big announcement is that David Platt has been elected as the new president of the IMB. Platt is the now former pastor of The Church at Brook Hills. He is also the author of several books, the most well-known being Radical.

I see two positives and two negatives about David Platt being the new president of the IMB. The first positive is that Platt clearly has a heart for missions. Almost everything I've ever heard him say shows this to be the case. He has been personally involved with various missions activities in the church where he pastored. The book Radical discusses multiple ways The Church at Brook Hills cares about missions. The second positive is that David Platt seems to be a genuinely humble individual. I write "seems" simply because I do not know him. From what I have both seen and read, Platt shows quite a bit of humility despite the notoriety he has gained through Radical.

This brings me to the two negatives. First, David Platt is one in the growing long line of evangelical superstar pastors. I do not believe Platt desired this, but it occurred nonetheless. He has been invited to speak at various conferences with other famous pastors and seminary presidents. This stems directly from Radical. The obvious irony is that becoming an evangelical superstar is about as far from radical as you can get. Again, I do not think Platt had any intention in this happening. However, it did. Being a superstar should not automatically exclude someone from a leadership position, but it is tiring to see the same faces in lights over and over. It would be nice to occasionally see someone unknown elected to a significant leadership position. Maybe some day.

The second negative is that David Platt has not served overseas with the IMB. I could be wrong about this, but I do not think he has served overseas for any significant length of time (please correct me in the comments section if I am incorrect about this). Platt is going to have to make some extremely important decisions; if he had served overseas he would be far more prepared to do that.

Let me be clear on one further point: I believe the positives in this situation outweigh the negatives.

I hope David Platt is a good choice for the IMB. I hope he does very well and that more and more people around the world come to Christ while Platt is IMB president. I will continue to support the IMB however I can. I will also pray for David Platt in this new venture. I ask you to pray for him and the entire IMB as well.

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