An Alabama megachurch pastor with a heart for the persecuted church will lead tens of thousands of Christians around the world in a “secret church” event in November.
There have been 11 Secret Church meetings so far, with the next simulcast set for Nov. 4. Churches, small groups and individuals around the world will listen in as Pastor David Platt of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., talks about “Family, Marriage, Sex and the Gospel.”
Angelia Stewart, communication director for Disciple-Making International, said Wednesday, “We didn’t promote it heavily,” but about 1,000 people came the first time. But afterwards, the idea took off. Now, for the Secret Church events, the church sells tickets and they are usually sold out in a matter of minutes.
Stewart said these events aren’t flashy. “You don’t need hype and all this stuff to get people into the Word.” She said the nature of the impact was evident during the night when some of the other churches listening in were flashed up on the screen at Brook Hills. There was one from a church in Cambodia, and that’s when it hit them of, “the global nature of what was happening.”
In some areas of the world, churches are forced to meet in secret. Those who attend know they risk imprisonment and even death if they are caught. Platt taught in underground churches and witnessed the persecution first hand during his trips to Asia. There, Platt saw how Christians went to great risks in order to study the Bible. It sparked in him the desire to see that same hunger and urgency for biblical teaching in his own church. Thus, the idea for “Secret Church” was born.
The website for Secret Church says it is a “house church where we meet periodically for an intense time of Bible study, lasting four to six hours, and prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters across the globe.”
“We set up a Friday evening where we would gather from 6 p.m. until midnight for two main purposes: to worship through intensive study of the Word, and to identify with our persecuted brothers and sisters by praying intentionally for them. Just a simple six hours of straight teaching and prayer,” said Platt in April, according to LifeWay.
On Good Friday in April 2011, thousands gathered at The Church at Brook Hills, joined by approximately 50,000 people from 1,300 churches and small groups. They participated in the first LifeWay simulcast to hear Platt teach on “Crucifixion, Salvation and the Glory of God.” The Good Friday Secret Church event was simulcast into 42 states and 11 countries.
"People are hungry for the Word," said Platt. "There's really nothing special or creative about it. It's just the study of the Word and then prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters. The Word itself does the work. One of our goals in Secret Church from the beginning has been to study not just for our own sake, but for the sake of the nations."
Past participants were skeptical whether or not they could make it through the six hour event. But a participant identified as only Mike, and described as a senior pastor from Georgia, wrote on the Secret Church website that he called together pastors from his area to watch the simulcast. He said, “When the clock struck one a.m., no one could believe they had been splashing in the water of God’s biblical truth for so long.”
Marriage, pornography, homosexuality and sex-trafficking are a few of the topics that Platt will discuss in the November simulcast. He will also talk about the persecution endured by the church in Egypt.
Platt’s teachings have been translated into six languages so far, with French, Farsi and Vietnamese in the works. They can be found here: http://www.disciplemakingintl.org/media/schurch/?cur_tab=series