On Good Friday, April 22 thousands of Americans will participate in the Secret Church Simulcast with David Platt. This is a live event broadcast from the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL where the 32-year-old Platt is senior pastor. You may recognize the name, as he is author of the New York Times best-seller Radical — and now Radical Together, which was released just yesterday.
A number of churches and small groups across the country will join this event live where they are, thanks to the miracle of modern technology. Platt has held ‘Secret Church‘ for several years, and it has now become part of the disciple-making DNA of this local church. Held twice each year, Secret Church continues to draw people from all over the country — so much so that overflow seating is necessary on-site. This in-depth time of Bible study, worship, and prayer is intended to help us identify with the many Christ-followers who meet in secret all over the world — not so much out of fear of persecution as devotion to Christ.
Why would a church-going American want to give up six hours on Good Friday night to participate in this event? That’s the basic question I’ve heard ever since announcing that my own church would host this event. With that in mind, I offer these five reasons to participate in Secret Church:
1. You will be exposed to the vast lostness in this world. Most Christians in America live in a bubble. We live busy lives that intersect with our own churches at many points. Consequently, we often find ourselves surrounded by people who are, for all intents and purposes, just like us. Secret Church will give you an opportunity to see and hear how other believers live out their faith.
2. You will be challenged to re-evaluate your priorities in light of Scripture. Many Christians in America are every bit as self-centered as those who do not belong to Christ. We routinely argue over such trivial things as music styles, ministers’ clothing choices, and the temperature of our multi-level church buildings. We spoil ourselves with the latest and greatest gadgets and complain if a worship service goes a few minutes longer than anticipated — yet wonder why the presence of the Holy Spirit is not sensed more often and more deeply.
3. You will be compelled to know and appreciate God’s Word. Most Christians in America possess several copies of the Bible — but don’t read it regularly. In fact, a 2009 study by the Barna Research Group found that Christians are largely apathetic when it comes to regular reading of Scripture. Still, each year thousands of bibles are smuggled into nations such as China, where there is a deep hunger for the Word of God. David Platt’s love for the Word drives his missions mentality and heart for evangelism and will no doubt anchor his teaching on Friday night.
4. You will be convicted to pray more fervently for the persecuted Church. We have a responsbility to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters — and to share in their sufferings just as they share in the sufferings of Christ. I can think of no better time than Holy Week to pause and reflect on the price Christ paid for our sins. He was persecuted. He suffered. He was killed mercilessly on a cross that was meant for you and me. All this, and yet so many church-goers wouldn’t want Secret Church to get in the way of their weekend holiday plans.
5. You will be emboldened by believers who risk everything because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Persecution of Christ-followers is real, and Christians in America need to realize that fact. So often we take for granted our ability to gather freely to worship and study God’s Word. This is a stark contrast from the reality of millions of believers around the globe. In fact, 100 million Christians live in areas where they face persecution on a regular basis. 400 million Christians live in places where there is threat of persecution. Though perceived as a long shot at present, the fact is that our country could one day become such a place.
Just think what God could do if only a handful of people at churches all across our nation got radically serious about their faith! Renewal? Revival? Restoration of the Church as ‘salt and light’ to our culture and context? All that and more is possible, if we live out what we say we believe. I don’t know about you, but I’d insist on being a part of such a movement of God.
In Radical Together, Platt writes:
True faith in Christ inevitably produces great work for Christ, not works fueled by the flesh in an attempt to earn our way to God, but works fueled by faith in a life that is abandoned to God. And all of it is by grace.
Wherever you are — and whatever you have planned — I hope you will consider making the Secret Church Simulcast part of your Easter weekend. Who knows? It just might be a catalyst for helping us get more serious about living the abundant life Jesus wants us to have — and sharing His message and love with others. Click here to find a simulcast location near you.