Yesterday, David Platt preached his last sermon as the Senior Pastor at The Church at Brook Hills. We commissioned him and his family to serve with the International Mission Board, and now, it’s the morning after. It’s “DP-Day Plus One.”
As news of Pastor David’s transition has spread, folks within and outside of Brook Hills have asked a plethora of questions: Who will be the next senior pastor? What will happen to the church? Do you think people will stop coming? Who will be preaching on Sundays at the church? Will David continue to do Secret Church, preach sermons, and write books? Who are we and what are we as Brook Hills about on the morning (and the days to come) after David Platt is no longer out pastor?
In the midst of all of this, our staff had its annual staff retreat last week, and as you can imagine, the theme was “Navigating a Season of Change.” And on this morning after, there are a few highlights and truths that I want to relay to our faith family.
- God is sovereign and good. He is in charge of this transition. He knows what is best for the IMB, for the Platt family, for The Church at Brook Hills, and for His glory, and He has the power to accomplish His plan. When Pastor David relayed the news of his possible transition to our Elders, one of them expressed to him that “You’ve been best for Brook Hills these past eight years, but if He’s leading you away, then clearly it’s because you’re not best for Brook Hills in the years to come.” God has led us all – the Platts, the IMB, Brook Hills – to this point, and He will continue to lead us. He has been faithful to us all in the past, and He will continue to be faithful in the future. This is God’s church, and He will accomplish His purpose in and through it.
- Transitions have their challenges, but they provide an opportunity for greater growth. At staff retreat, we looked at Moses passing the mantle of leadership to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31 and Joshua 1 and at Jesus preparing the disciples for His departure in John 14-16 and Acts 1. What happened after these leadership transitions in Scripture? Promises were fulfilled. Blessings were realized. People were pointed to God. And in the New Testament, a countless number of people trusted in Christ for salvation. Most of us may not enjoy change because of the ambiguity and uncertainty associated with it, but it opens up an opportunity to change and grow in ways that we would not have sought or imagined otherwise. One of our pastors pointed out that when the Israelites were led by Joshua in crossing the Jordan River (Josh. 4), they had no idea what God was working in the hearts of the Canaanites (see Josh. 5:1). God was already at work in ways that they weren’t even aware of, and He’s already at work in the IMB and at Brook Hills in ways that we cannot see or imagine. We are anticipating God to work, and we urge our faith family to continue walking forward in faith and obedience.
- We remain committed to spreading the gospel and making disciples. The Great Commission hasn’t changed, and it doesn’t change during times of transition. People throughout the world remain unreached and are still being born, living, and dying without ever hearing of Christ and the good news of salvation. Not only do we as Christ-followers need to go to the nations, the nations have come to us. 40,000 internationals live in the Birmingham area alone demonstrating that we have an unprecedented opportunity to reach unreached peoples in our own communities. Making disciples is not optional for the Christ-follower, and while we are not a perfect church, we strive to love, serve, and come alongside each other as we join God in His work. Our obedience to God’s commands were never based on the preaching of one man. While God has used Pastor David tremendously to challenge and encourage us as a church, David proclaimed God’s Word to us. It is God’s Spirit and God’s Word that stirred us as a church to “glorify God by making disciples among all nations,” and it is God’s Spirit and God’s Word that will continue to anchor and guide us in holding fast to the gospel with radical faith.
- The church consists of “ordinary people with extraordinary power preaching, praying, giving, and suffering for the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth.” As Pastor David led us in staff worship at our retreat, this served as his thesis as we looked at the book of Acts. Yes, God has gifted Pastor David for service, but the Holy Spirit gives gifts to all of God’s people, gifts that we should all cultivate and use. In John 14:12, Jesus informed His followers that, “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do.” These “greater works” occur because of the Holy Spirit indwelling in all of God’s children. If you are a Christ-follower, He who spoke the universe into being, who raised people from the dead, and who has power over all things resides in you, and He empowers you to do all that He has called you to do. What would happen if everyone at The Church at Brook Hills realized the power that was in them? How are you using your God-given gifts for His service and for the spread of His name? Are you proclaiming the gospel to the lost? Is prayer supplemental or fundamental in your life? Do you regularly inquire of the Lord, or do you rely on your own wisdom? Acts repeatedly depicts great acts of power and people’s conversions occurring after God’s people devoted themselves to prayer. May we as a church proclaim, pray, give, and suffer well for God’s renown.
We thank God for the leadership of David these past eight years and for how He has used him in indescribable ways to faithfully challenge, grow, and care for The Church at Brook Hills. And we enthusiastically support Pastor David in his new role and are excited about how God will use him to mobilize the 44,000+ Southern Baptist churches to reach the nations and to shepherd the 5,000+ missionaries who are on the field. But on “DP Day Plus One,” we look forward abiding and resting in Christ, blank checks on the table. We look forward in faith to how God will accomplish His purpose in and through The Church at Brook Hills. And, Church, we ultimately look forward to the day when the enemies of God will finally be defeated and the glory of God will forever be exalted.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:58