By Shannon Baker
COLUMBIA, Md.—Will McRaney, executive missional strategist for the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network/BCMD, extends congratulations to David Platt, named president of the International Mission Board on Aug. 27.
Platt, the author of the bestselling book “Radical,” is a former student of McRaney, who taught evangelism and church planting at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“We are thankful for David’s deep passion for the nations and look forward to more of his contagious leadership inspiring many to advance the Great Commission,” shared McRaney.
He expressed confidence in Platt’s ability to inspire mission movements, but stressed the importance of also cooperating with local Southern Baptist churches and regional entities in the task.
“I have known David from his start in vocational ministry to be a consistent, passionate follower of Christ, a man of high integrity, and one who is highly engaged in the mission to the peoples of the world,” McRaney said.
“However, I am hopeful that in his new position with the larger Southern Baptist family, that he will come to see the essential and beautiful tapestry and eco-system of Southern Baptists and that he will steward well the unique trust placed in him to champion the cooperative way to accomplished the Great Commission tasks. Strong mission effectiveness flows from the strengthening of local churches to grow disciples to impact lost neighbors near and far,” McRaney stressed.
He noted Southern Baptists can accomplish more together through cooperative mission efforts, which historically has been organized around the Cooperative Program. In other words, international missions is intimately tied to local churches being connected in heart and mission with each other, he said. “Local and regional networks of churches are the glue that hold together Southern Baptists to have a global impact.”
McRaney said the International Mission Board needs local organizations like the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network to come alongside local churches to encourage, equip and engage them in the mission task.
“Nothing happens in mission fields locally, regionally, nationally or internationally without the flowing through the local church. The stronger the local church, the wider and greater the Kingdom impact will be,” he added, acknowledging that healthy churches produce missionaries for local mission fields, as well as overseas.
“What we need is not only a thousand more Southern Baptist vocational missionaries, but a million Southern Baptists on the mission field in their neighborhoods, their schools, their workplaces, and their local and regional mission fields,” he said.
“Many have come to us in the Mid-Atlantic region, and as our network of churches grow stronger together, we are engaged in a battle for the heart and soul of America—and for the peoples of the world God has brought to us.”
Platt, 36, has served as the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a Southern Baptist congregation in Birmingham, Ala., for the past eight years. He will succeed former missionary, pastor and Southern Baptist Convention president Tom Elliff, 70, who has served as IMB president since March 2011.