How Did Secret Church Begin? - Radical

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How Did Secret Church Begin?

What is the purpose of Secret Church? How did it even begin? In this episode of Secret Church 19, Pastor David Platt shares the story of how Secret Church began and its mission of prayer and studying God’s Word. While many Christians in the west see religious freedom as commonplace, this is not always the case. Pastor Platt recounts how he came into contact with an underground church that was persecuted for their faith but passionate about God and his Word. Secret Church seeks to imitate this posture as we pray for persecuted believers and study God’s Word.

  1. The Inspiration
  2. Praying For Those Who Are Persecuted

How Did Secret Church Begin?

The idea behind Secret Church is definitely not something I like made up. It really came out of time that God opened up for me to be with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world in one particular country. This was not what I had planned to do in this country on this particular trip I was on, but I met some brothers and sisters who were part of an underground church in this area. We were there to try to share the gospel in different places in this country, but ended up meeting this brother and sister in Christ in particular who invited me to meet with their church in an underground, a secret location.

So they meet together in secret in this part of the world. Because if they were caught, well, there’s all kinds of different consequences that could come their way. They could lose houses, jobs, lands, they could be put in prison, they could eventually lose their lives. And so I gathered together with them for a Bible study one afternoon, and it just kept going. They were so hungry for the word, so I thought we would have an hour Bible study together.

Understanding Secret Church

Well, eight hours later, we were still going strong, it was getting late at night and they were like, “Hey, can we do this again tomorrow?” And I said, “Okay, what time?” And they said, “Why don’t we get together in the morning?” And I thought, “Okay, maybe a morning Bible study.” They were like, “No, we’ll start in the morning and we’ll go till late at night.” And that started a process for over the next two weeks, about eight to 12 hours a day gathering together in these secret locations, just diving into the word.

We walked through really all the books in the Old Testament and the New Testament, they wanted kind of an overview of the Bible. So that’s what we did just hours day after day after day, and I just saw a group of people who were passionate about God, passionate about His Word, willing to risk their lives, jobs, land, whatever in order to study God’s Word, the hunger for God’s Word, and then their hunger for God in prayer.

The First Secret Church

Anyway, when we came back from that trip and was talking with some other folks in the church, somebody said, “Why don’t we do that now? Why don’t we gather together for hours at a time just to dive into God’s Word?” And so that led to the first Secret Church where we said, “Well, let’s try it.” And so we set aside a Friday night from like 6:00 to midnight. We thought, “We’ll do six hours and just dive into in-depth studying God’s Word, and at the same time pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in the world.”

So we’re not like pretending that we’re in some secret underground location, but we are gathering together to remember that many of our brothers and sisters are in different places around the world. And so we want to pray intentionally for them, that’s why we started having an intentional prayer emphasis every Secret Church for a particular place in the world where Christians are persecuted. And then we do intense study in God’s Word that we then translate into multiple languages that we can serve our brothers and sisters around the world with, and hopefully in the process increase our passion for our zeal for God’s Word.

Secret Church and His Word

I pray that through Secret Church and those who are involved in it, God would increase our zeal for His Word. We would see just a fresh way every time we gather together for a six-hour intense studying in the word that His Word is good. It is more than sufficient to sustain our attention and ignite our affections, like this word is unlike anything else in the world.

And so we want to gather together to study it for hours at a time, and at the same time, we want to pray intentionally for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted around the world. That’s the purpose of Secret Church to study God’s Word and to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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