Platt, Greear preach & learn in Indonesia
Shiloh Lane, Baptist Press
November 03, 2010

Platt, Greear preach & learn in Indonesia

Platt, Greear preach & learn in Indonesia
Shiloh Lane, Baptist Press
November 03, 2010

INDONESIA — Tears slid down

the curve of her brown cheek; her shoulders tensed in emotion. She cried

without reservation as a man placed one hand on her head and raised the other.

His prayer for her was drowned out by praise music.

J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, talks with a local man outside an Indonesian mosque. Greear lived in Indonesia more than a decade ago and can still converse in that language.

From the first pew to the

back wall of a seminary auditorium, Indonesian and American Christians closed

their eyes, raised their hands and sang praises to God. Southern Baptist

pastors David Platt and J.D. Greear stood in the first row, hands lifted with

the rest. Greear had just given an invitation to the audience, asking if anyone

wanted to know Jesus as their personal Savior.

That night, three people

accepted Christ.

The church can reach these

unreached peoples with the love and joy of Christ, Platt said, however it will

come at great cost. “But in the end, it will be totally worth it.”

In his recently released

book, Radical, Platt calls for American churches to abandon their inward focus

and forgo comforts to share the gospel with all nations — to sacrifice and go.

Platt, pastor of The Church

at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., preached in churches, seminaries and

Baptist conventions in Indonesia in mid-October. J.D. Greear, lead pastor of

The Summit Church in Durham, and eight other Southern Baptist pastors and

missions leaders from the United States preached in addition to Platt.

They encouraged local

Christians and challenged them to proclaim Christ’s love throughout Indonesia,

the world’s largest Muslim nation. The pastors also sought ways their own

churches could actively get involved in taking the gospel to unreached people

groups. During this process, they found inspiration from their audiences.

Speaking in stifling hot

auditoriums and sanctuaries, the pastors delivered messages about the cost of

witnessing and the worth of Jesus Christ.

On a break from preaching in churches and at a Baptist seminary in Indonesia, pastors David Platt, left, and J.D. Greear interact with young locals at a mosque.

“Some of you might be called

to go to places that are very dangerous or where people may not like you,”

Greear said from the pulpit. “My friends, is Jesus enough for you?”

Many listeners already knew

the price of the gospel. One female listener had begun a movement that birthed

four generations of believers in a previously unreached village. One man went

to jail for the same kind of initiative.

Christian representative

Jacob Snow* is encouraging Indonesian believers to do what’s necessary to share

the news of Christ. But because of ethnic and cultural divisions among people

groups, he said many local congregations — like many American churches —

embrace the status quo.

But things have begun to

change, he said, noting that local Christians have started to see their

neighbors differently — as people God loves and as people with whom they must

share their faith.

Because of this, Platt and

Greear’s presence made an impact.

“I think the local people

are humbled by the fact that Christians from America are willing to come to

this island, and they come having a heart for the unreached,” Snow said. “It’s

a … reminder to the local believer that the body of Christ is trusted with

the gospel and that baton of faith must be passed to the unreached. They have a

right to hear.”

As Platt and Greear spoke in

Indonesia, their audiences responded.

Greear still speaks some

Indonesian from his stint 12 years ago as a short-term worker there. He used

the language he recalled to mingle with audiences, getting ideas for future

ministry from Indonesian pastors and finding encouragement through stories of

the people God has already used to advance the faith.

One of those stories was

Budi Syamsuddin*, a former drug dealer from the island of Java who became a

Christian while in prison and has since led 10 people to Christ. Under his

training, those 10 people have started a church-planting movement resulting in

nearly 700 new believers in five years.

“I began to think what would

happen if every follower of Christ was doing what Budi is doing — making

disciples,” Platt said. “And, when you make disciples, churches start happening

and churches start growing and churches start multiplying. What happens when

every follower starts doing that? Then we realize, ‘Wow, together we are a part

of a global purpose that has the potential to spread the gospel to every people

group and to every nation.’”

Syamsuddin embodied Platt’s

dream for the future of the church. Syamsuddin made his life count by

fulfilling Christ’s command to train believers. And those believers followed

Christ and trained more in an ongoing process.

“I praise God for Budi, and

I pray for a lot of Budis to be raised up in the churches I lead and in

churches all across our context and our country,” Platt said.

To reach the lost, he said,

people must live out the gospel. Whether they minister to family and friends in

their hometowns or move their businesses 11 time zones to the west, they must

live as Christ commanded.

*Names changed.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Lane is a

writer for the International Mission Board.)