David Platt: A crisis of belief
    March 24 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    After listening to David Platt preach it’s hard to think that a man so passionate, so clearly devoted to following Jesus Christ, would ever say he experienced a crisis of belief.

    This is a man who preached through the book of Ruth and taught about God’s mercy, provision and redemption. A man who teaches on going into all the world and making disciples. Surely this pastor could not mean what he said — a crisis of belief?

    Platt not only meant it, he changed his lifestyle in order to do something about it, and he changed life for The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., where he is pastor.

    During an interview at the February Convergence Conference in Charlotte, he explained more. Convergence was a three-day evangelism, prayer and training event sponsored by the Baptist State Convention at Hickory Grove Baptist Church.

    Platt’s crisis of belief developed over time, as he realized he could no longer ignore the reality of vast physical and spiritual need.

    He could no longer ignore the fact that children starve to death and people die from chicken pox and Christians are martyred.

    His heart became burdened for the needs of others.

    “If these needs are real, and if I believe the gospel, then my life has to reflect a radical abandonment to Christ,” he said.

    BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

    David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, was one of many speakers at Convergence.

    Platt came to understand that “to be serious about living the gospel out” he had to restructure his values and priorities.

    Platt and his wife sold their house and moved into a smaller one. The goal is to “establish a cap on our lifestyle to free up as much as possible to give away” and he is challenging Brook Hills to do the same.

    “We challenge families and individuals in the church to look at the way they are spending their money. Just because we have a certain salary doesn’t mean we have to live up to that standard of living,” he said. The question becomes not what can families keep, but what can they give away?

    The church budget got a serious makeover and staff started asking what could be cut so more could be given away. Some events that once cost $1,200 now cost about $25. Instead of spending money to print posters advertising events, cardboard and magic markers now get the word out around Brook Hills.

    Eighty-three percent of the worship ministry was cut as Brook Hills came to learn they really can do more with less.

    A plan to revise the budget was in place in just a few weeks because the people were ready.

    “They’ve seen it in the Word,” Platt said.

    Over the past few years Brook Hills heard sermons on how Jesus called people to radical abandonment so the changes seemed like the natural thing to do.

    “The Word precipitated it,” Platt said.

    Budget changes now allow Brook Hills to invest more in local and global ministries.

    Locally, they work with inner-city ministry in Birmingham, helping to plant a church and care for needs such as food, housing, transportation and job training. Internationally, Brook Hills is partnering with other organizations to help in India, where 41 percent of the population is poor; where Platt said truly physical and spiritual needs collide.

    In India they are helping train pastors, do Bible translation and feed the hungry. Revamping the budget is not the end for Brook Hills. In 2010, Brook Hills is taking on a one-year commitment called “The Radical Experiment.”

    The church is challenged to pray for the entire world; read through the entire Word; commit their lives to multiplying community; sacrifice money for a specific purpose; and give time in another context.

    “I want our people to see the nations of the world day after day,” Platt said. He hopes the church will use mission trips as an opportunity to serve in a context different than their own.

    Hearing about the needs overseas is one thing, but “until you really see it and feel it and smell it, you don’t get it,” Platt said.

    “If we’re not careful, if I’m not careful, we can start to think the world looks like Birmingham.”

    Through this crisis of belief and time of rethinking values and priorities, Platt is resolved more than ever to “keep the Word in front of them. The Word is really the only thing that’s going to create change.”
    3/24/2010 6:21:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 1 comments

Brent Hobbs
Great article. Platt sets a great example for pastors and Brook Hills sets a great example for churches.
3/24/2010 10:36:01 PM

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