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

David Platt: A crisis of belief

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

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


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


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.”