Trustees of the Southern Baptist Convention elected David Platt Aug. 27 as president of the International Mission Board. The bestselling author, 36, took office immediately after his election. Formerly, Platt lived in Birmingham with his wife and four children and served as the head pastor of The Church at Brook Hills.
Union students in large part supported Platt’s election.
“I think it was a fantastic decision,” said Brennan Kolbe, junior biblical studies major who attended Platt’s church this past summer. “He just has such a heart both for missions and the local church, and I think he will do a great job drawing the next generation of missionaries out of local churches.”
Although Platt has pastored an American church for much of his career, he has overseas experience supporting and discipling pastors. Platt first felt God’s call to the IMB during a mission trip to Nepal this past February where his team trekked almost a week before finding a single believer.
“[The Gospel] just gripped me in a deeper way,” Platt said in a Baptist Press interview. “I came back with a desire to say ‘How can my life be more intentionally used to get the gospel to unreached people?’ … Then the IMB search committee contacted me.”
Platt’s firsthand knowledge of international mission efforts is encouraging to students who have served with the IMB.
“I think David Platt will be a good president because he really has a heart for the Gospel to reach the ends of the earth” said Lydia Atchley, sophomore conservation biology major who served with the IMB in Africa.
Union students considering future IMB work expressed both excitement and curiosity about serving with Platt.
“I really appreciate his dedication to teaching scripture as it is, not as we want it to be,” said Laura Lee, senior social work major. “Ultimately what mobilizes God’s people is God’s word, and I hope he can use his dedication to stir people’s hearts.”
Lee is in the process of applying for a 2-year term with the IMB after graduation.
While for some students Platt’s election was joyful, others found it bittersweet as it means the loss of a pastor and teacher.
Anderson Underwood, sophomore intercultural studies major and member of The Church at Brooks Hills, said, “I’m excited for him, but he will be missed. I think it makes sense…in a way it feels like he’s been heading there for a while. He was great as a pastor, but his heart is for missions and this will let him pursue it.”
The International Mission Board is the largest initiative of the Southern Baptist Convention, funding and facilitating a total of 4800 missionaries in every country except the US and Canada.