CP: Why six hours, such an extended time of worship, prayer and teaching?
Platt: Secret Church was birthed out of my experiences with underground house church leaders in Asia. Imagine a group of people meeting in a little room, sitting on little stools or on the floor, with their Bibles open knowing that if they were caught studying God's Word they could lose their land, their jobs, be imprisoned – even lose their lives. Yet the Word is that important to them. They want to get together, to risk everything. So we began to think, how can we gather together with that kind of devotion to God's Word? How can we gather together and promote, in the people of God, a hunger for the Word of God like that? And then, while we're doing that, have some time when we can identify with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world and spend time in intentional prayer for them?
So we decided to come together on a particular Friday to study and pray like those underground house church leaders often do. We really weren't sure what the response would be for that first Secret Church. We kept it very simple and didn't do a whole lot to promote it. We made a few announcements to our church and put some information on the Web. That first Friday evening from 6 p.m. to midnight we gathered in our auditorium and just studied the Word. We had a little over 1,000 people in attendance, and we had no idea how much it would grow from there. People were drawn to the simplicity and gravity of the Word and to time in concentrated prayer for the persecuted church. After that first gathering, word started to spread and we quickly outgrew our seating capacity and now simulcast all over the world.
But Secret Church isn't just for that one night. Our hope is that God will use this focused time of study to enrich our knowledge of His Word as we gain understanding of the state of His Church and our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. The objective of Secret Church is for participants to pass along what they learn to others, to make disciples of Christ – both locally and globally.
CP: Secret Church is geared toward encouraging, nurturing and fellowshipping with the persecuted Church and keeping these Christians in prayer. Do you have a word for Christians in restrictive societies who will not be able to celebrate as openly the good news of Easter as their Western brothers and sisters this coming Sunday?
Platt: One, we are praying for you. There are tens of thousands of brothers and sisters who are gathering together to intercede on your behalf: for strength, sustenance, and even satisfaction amidst your suffering. And we are praying for your boldness as you proclaim the gospel at great cost to you, your family, and your church. But we are not only praying for you; we want to join with you. We don't want to remain silent in our witness, and we don't want to sit back in the safety of casual, comfortable, safe Christianity in the confines of our culture. We want to proclaim the gospel with you, alongside you, to the nations, and particularly in the places where you live. We want to mobilize the church here to spread the gospel with you over there. So know that you are not alone. And know, particularly in light of the topic of this Secret Church, that the day is coming when all suffering and persecution will give way to a weight of glory beyond compare. Let's labor together for the cause of the Great Commission with perseverance and hope until that day comes.