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SBC leaders affirm Platt as IMB’s leader

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Southern Baptist leaders expressed confidence, elation and prayerful support upon the International Mission Board’s election of David Platt as the new IMB president.

Platt’s youth at 36 and passion for missions will help him lead the IMB in reaching the world for Christ, leaders said of Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., bestselling author and founder of the Radical discipleship resource ministry.

“I know from David preaching in my church and having conversations with him that he has a passion to take the Gospel to the nations,” Ronnie W. Floyd, Southern Baptist Convention president, said.

“I celebrate how God is already using David Platt to touch the nations and now as our newly called and elected leader of our International Mission Board, I believe Dr. Platt will energize our current missionaries and all of our churches to mobilize the next generation of missionaries to reach the nations for Jesus Christ. I want to encourage all Southern Baptists to support him in prayer and to come together to reach the world for Christ,” said Floyd, pastor of the multi-campus Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.

Executive Committee President Frank S. Page pledged his support of Platt in the spirit of cooperation for the good of the churches, associations, state conventions and worldwide missions and ministries of the SBC.

“It is important to know that the Executive Committee exists to minister to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by acting … ‘in a manner that encourages the cooperation and confidence of the churches, associations, and state conventions and facilitates maximum support for worldwide missions and ministries,'” Page told Baptist Press. “It is in that spirit that I pledge my prayer support to Dr. Platt as he makes this transition. I pledge my efforts and energies to work alongside him in sharing the Gospel and facilitating maximum support for worldwide missions and ministries.

“I look forward to him encouraging the confidence and cooperation of our churches in their support of and participation in international missions,” Page said. “I look forward to getting to know him better and doing everything I can to help him accomplish all God desires among Southern Baptists to accomplish in sharing Christ with this lost world.”

North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell expressed excitement in working alongside Platt in missions.

“David is a pastor of strong conviction and passion for reaching the lost around the globe for Christ,” Ezell said. “He has been a close personal friend for years and I look forward to serving with him to mobilize Southern Baptists for missions for years to come.”

Fred Luter Jr., pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, described Platt’s election as a “win-win situation” for the SBC.

“He’s one of the young, up-and-coming pastors in the Convention, so that’s a win-win for a lot of the younger pastors across the Convention who complained that the Convention was not involving the young pastors,” Luter, immediate past SBC president, said. “That’s a win-win on that, to have a young up-and-coming pastor who’s now leading one of the major entities in the Convention.

“Everybody who knows David knows his heart for missions, particularly for foreign missions. He’s been preaching it, teaching it, and living it for a number of years, so I think it’s a great fit,” Luter said, “and I want to commend the trustees of IMB for making a great choice in electing David Platt as the new IMB president.”

“Radically happy” is how Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president Russell D. Moore described his reaction to Platt’s election. “We need leaders radical enough to make changes, but radical in the right, biblical sense. We need a radical, not a revolutionary. Someone radical enough to build up, not radical in order to tear down.

“That’s precisely what David is,” Moore blogged at “Moore to the Point” on the ERLC website. “I think what you’ll see in the years to come is an IMB that is just as cooperative as ever with the rest of Southern Baptist life. You will see a dynamic and close working relationship between the entities. And you’ll see the Cooperative Program proving the legacy right: as a new generation joins together to work, together, to see the gospel cover the face of the earth. In my view, that’s the right kind of radical for radically challenging time.”
Diana Chandler is general assignment writer/editor for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).