It is no secret around SBCers on social media that IMB trustees are planning to (if not already) vote on who they believe should be the next president of the International Mission Board. And it is also no secret that David Platt has been a top candidate for the position this time as he was the last time the position was available a few years ago. There are some who are not happy about Platt’s potential nomination, and they have voiced their reasons why they feel the way they do. I would like to offer an alternative argument on what I do believe David Platt is the best candidate to lead Southern Baptists most important agency (IMB).
If you spend any time with David Platt, the first thing you realize is that guy is genuinely humble. As prideful human beings, we are fairly discerning to spot false humility. However, as the Lord has continued to give David influence in the evangelical world, it seems that God has also given David increasing self-forgetfulness as well. This is a rare thing in our evangelical celebrity age, and I believe this to be the first and most compelling reason why David should be considered for the position. He is not overcome with power or position. He is not lifted by the praise of men or brought low by their criticisms. He is marked by a life of otherness that makes everything about him attractive to those who know and love Jesus Christ.
David has demonstrated an extremely high level of competency on the key areas surrounding this position–namely, head, heart, and hands. He has one of the sharpest minds in the country with a rigorous commitment to Scripture. His knowledge of God’s Word and competency in handling difficult ecclesiological and missiological issues are paramount in global missions and engaging the unreached peoples of the world. When it comes to his heart for the unreached peoples of the world, David is a man with fire in his bones. You cannot hear him speak without being warmed by the heat that flows from his heart. We need a leader who will light a torch under the glacier of the SBC to melt cold hearts to embrace the mission Jesus has given us. When it comes to his hands, David has invested his life in some of the hardest places of the world. He does not merely talk about it. He’s been there. He has experienced the plight of the poorest of the poor. He has preached to those who have never heard. He has and continues to train dozens of men and women to live cross-culturally. And he is aggressively leading his church in exemplary ways on what a Great Commission Church looks like. Whether head, heart, or hands, David Platt, in my opinion, is without comparison in the SBC.
The president of the IMB is a mouthpiece for the unreached peoples who have no voice. A large part of his job is to a spokesperson, a communicator who engages and mobilizes people to take personal and corporate (church) ownership of the lostness around the world. In the past five years, there has not been another Southern Baptist with a larger platform and wider influence than David Platt. His books are best-selling lists for months. He is one of the most sought-after speakers in the country. He is on virtually every panel at the Southern Baptist Annual Meeting. He is asked in just about every seminary to speak in chapel during special missions emphasis. And to speak on what? The Great Commission and making disciples of the unreached peoples of the world. Simply put, God has given us a man in our generation with a unique influence and anointing to speak to the global church about God’s heart for the nations. Whether as president of IMB or a local church pastor, David is going to continue to do and say what God has called him to do and say, but what kind of catalyst would that be if he said it as the president of the IMB?!
David Platt pounds the pavement and beats the drum to call Christians to march to the cadence of the Great Commission. His commitment to the task is without question. I know that there are some who disagree with me on this point and make it the point of contention, especially in relation to the Cooperative Program. I understand their position and agree to an extent. But here’s the deal. God’s program is the church. His mission is to make disciples among all the peoples of the world. On that basis alone, David has unwavering commitment. The Cooperative Program is a tool (not the tool) to help fuel the Great Commission. I believe Southern Baptists should be committed to the Cooperative Program. But let me be clear. The Cooperative Program is NOT the litmus test to faithfulness or commitment to the Great Commission. The two cannot be conflated, as it often sounds like in the SBC. If you want question loyalty to the denominational tool of the Cooperative Program, then fine. But don’t question a persons qualifications and commitment to the Great Commission on something Jesus will not be holding us accountable to. He will not ask us if we gave to the Cooperative Program. I do believe He will ask us if we made disciples among all the peoples of the world. The later is the litmus test, not the former.
Should God make it clear that David Platt is to be the next president of the SBC to the IMB trustees, I know that it will come with critics. Listen. You do not have critics if you don’t have influence. And no one right now has more influence in the evangelical world as a Southern Baptist than Platt. So it stands to reason that criticisms will come. But give me a man with man critics who God is using to change the world than a man with no critics who looks good on paper. The voices of a few critics are disproportionately weighted in matters like this because supporters are silent and decision makers hear only one side. I hope to offer another.
Should God make it clear that David Platt is to be the next president of the SBC to the IMB trustees, I know that it will be extremely challenging to the Church at Brook Hills. Several of the elders and pastors are friends. The church is dear to me personally. For them to send David off in this post will come with celebration but also great challenge. I encourage you to pray for them and for the congregation, that God would bless and bless even more in the months and years to come as they walk through this potential transition.
Should God make it clear that David Platt is to be the next president of the SBC to the IMB trustees, I know that it presents amazing opportunities for engaging the unreached peoples like never before. Should God choose to prosper the work under David, we are looking at a man who potentially serve in this position for three decades. The next 30 years could write the greatest chapter in the story of the Great Commission that Southern Baptists have ever experienced. At the end of the day, it is not about CP percentages or ministerial methodologies. It is about those who have never heard and Southern Baptists stewarding this moment in our history to responsibly make the decisions that will maximize our potential in getting the gospel to them so that people from every nation, tongue, and tribe will treasure Jesus Christ as sovereign Lord and King!