(Photo: InterVarsity USA/Erin McConnaha)
Pastor David Platt, founder of a Christian resource ministry named "Radical," announced that he will be doing a free live simulcast from the Middle East later this summer with a small group to help kick off churches and book study groups that will be following the curriculum from his book Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.
The broadcast from the Middle East coincides with a trip by Platt to the region already planned for unrelated ministry work, Radical's executive director, Jim Warren, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. The hosting missions team organizers in the region asked that no specifics to the trip be disclosed to the media.
"I'm excited to share with you that on Wednesday, August 14, I'm going to gather together with a small group of brothers and sisters in the Middle East to dialogue about what it means to follow Christ – to die to ourselves and to live in Him," Platt, the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., wrote in his blog published Tuesday. "This dialogue will be simulcast live (and free) from the Middle East as a kick-off for many churches and small groups who will be walking through Follow Me in the fall."
"The call to follow Christ has never been an invitation to pray a prayer, believe a set of doctrines, or sit in a pew on Sunday mornings," states LifeWay on its website page that will host the broadcast. "Yet churches today are filled with people who seem content to settle for a casual association with Christ and a nominal adherence to His commands.
"This free Follow Me Simulcast will not only serve as a call to discipleship but will explore the depth of that call. Broadcast live from the heart of a dangerous mission field, it will challenge you, your group, and your church to take the next step in your relationship with Christ."
Warren told CP that about 200 churches, including small groups, have signed up for the Follow Me study and many plan to begin on Aug. 14.
The planned simulcast "was designed to help encourage those churches," he said. "It just so happens that he was going to be in the Middle East anyhow and the thought was that this will really, hopefully, open some churches' eyes to the world out there and what is it really like to 'follow me' (Jesus Christ) outside the context of the U.S."
Platt's book, Radical, was published a little more than three years ago. "Little did I know that three years later, over a million people would have read it, many of whom have been affected in various ways by it," he wrote in his blog. "I am grateful to God for the countless stories I have heard of His grace at work in both individuals and churches, and I am hopeful before God that He has been and is being glorified both here and around the world as a result."
He stated that Follow Me is based on "Jesus' initial life-changing, eventually earth-shaking words to His first disciples in Matthew 4."
In the book, he explains, "In a previous book, Radical, I sought to expose values and ideas that are common in our culture (and in the church) yet antithetical to the gospel. My aim was to consider the thoughts and things of this world that we must let go of in order to follow Jesus. The purpose of Follow Me, then, is to take the next step. I want to move from what we let go of to whom we hold on to. I want to explore not only the gravity of what we must forsake in this world, but also the greatness of the one we follow in this world. I want to expose what it means to die to ourselves and to live in Christ."
On its website, Radical is described as a resource ministry, dedicated to serving the church by making disciples of all nations.