God’s people are hungry for His Word.
On Good Friday, more than 50,000 people participated in Secret Church, six intensive hours of biblical teaching and prayer for the persecuted church led by author and pastor David Platt of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.
This special event is designed to call the church to greater awareness to biblical fidelity and build unity with the persecuted church worldwide. There have been nine prior Secret Church events, but after the first meeting The Church at Brook Hills was forced to start a reservation system due to the sell-out capacity.
While thousands gathered live at The Church at Brook Hills in Alabama, about 50,000 people from 1,300 churches, 42 states and 11 different countries participated via simulcast. They gathered in church sanctuaries, fellowship halls, living rooms, dorm rooms and even LifeWay’s Ridgecrest Conference Center to hear the doctrine of salvation taught for six hours.
Secret Church Origins
Secret Church was borne out of David Platt’s experiences teaching in underground house churches around the world. He experienced how Christians met in secret for fear of persecution. This awareness sparked a desire to transplant the urgency of sound gospel proclamation and deep Bible study to those in his own church.
According to David: “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.”
David recognizes that people are hungry for the Word. His approach is simple: “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.”
LifeWay and Secret Church
Because of the high demand to attend Secret Church, David and Disciple-Making International (DMI) partnered with LifeWay to simulcast the event.
We at LifeWay recognized that God was doing something big through Secret Church. We were painfully aware also that more and more people were being turned away from each successive Secret Church event. After much prayer and deliberation, we made the decision to simulcast the tenth Secret Church with the hope that God would use these resources far beyond the single event itself.
What Good Friday in Birmingham Proved
God’s people are indeed hungry for His Word. For more than six hours, 50,000 people soaked in deep theological teaching under the guidance of a humble, gifted proclaimer of the gospel. If we can learn anything from the Secret Church phenomena, it is that God’s people long to go deeper.
We cannot excuse ourselves any longer from a thorough treatment of Scripture. We cannot blame expositional shallowness on our people after what we saw in Birmingham on Good Friday. Our people are hungry.
Who is going to feed them?