The trustees of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Missions Board (IMB) elected David Platt today to be the organization’s new president.
Platt, the senior pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. He’s also the author of the New York Timesbest seller Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, a follow-up book, Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God, and Follow Me: A Call to Die. a Call to Live. Platt attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the degrees of M.Div, Th.M, and Ph.D.
After he finished his doctorate, Platt served at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as Dean of Chapel and Assistant Professor of Expository Preaching and Apologetics. He also served at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans before being hired to lead the congregation of The Church at Brook Hills. At the time Platt became known as the youngest megachurch pastor in America.
In a video message to his church, Platt said,
We talk all the time about laying down a blank check with our lives before God, with no strings attached, willing to go wherever He leads, give whatever He asks, and do whatever He commands in order to make His glory known among the nations of the earth, particularly among people who have never heard the gospel. Over these past months, God has made it abundantly clear to both Heather and me that He is filling in that blank check in our lives and family with a different assignment. Along the way, God has used the elders of our church to affirm His call, and today He used the leadership of the IMB to confirm it.
Platt will be taking over as president of the SBC’s largest initiative. The IMB is the missionary sending agency of the SBC that operates in almost every nation on the globe, except the United States and Canada. The IMB, which has an annual budget of $299, supports 4,810 personnel in the mission field and 28,008 churches. In 2013 the agency planted 6,192 new churches across the globe.
Hearing the news of Platt’s appointment, Russell Moore, the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president, tweeted that he was “radically happy” by the appointment. “I have been praying for a long, long time that he would be elected,” Moore wrote on his website. “Our IMB president must be one who can drive our missions focus in a new way for a new era.”
"The news of David Platt’s election to the presidency of the IMB is one of great joy," says Harry L. Reeder III, a TGC Council member and senior pastor at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. "I and Briarwood Presbyterian not only rejoice but anticipate the Lord’s blessing upon David’s heart for the Great Commission which would allow him with his leadership abilities to not only maintain the commitment of our brothers and sisters in the SBC to stay the course in World Missions but ascend to the next level of effectiveness for our Lord’s glory and the expansion of our Savior’s Kingdom."
Platt recently spoke to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Dan Darling about persecution and the global church. “We’ve got brothers and sisters in Christ that are suffering and don’t have religious liberty on a number of different levels. When one part of the body suffers, we suffer," Platt said. "We need to know their stories and come alongside them when we can, and have them know that we are praying for them if that’s at all possible.”