Friday night’s Secret Church was truly held in secret
The live, national simulcast went out as planned from an undisclosed location, but people arriving at David Platt’s Birmingham, Alabama church with tickets to be in the live audience for Friday’s Secret Church event found themselves out of luck as security concerns forced the cancellation of that aspect of the event and the evacuation of The Church at Brook Hills.
…Brook Hills communications director Chris Kinsley said around 10 a.m. Friday, a threat came in to their sister organization Radical, a parachurch ministry started by Platt which provides Christian resources, including Secret Church.
Kinsley said they evacuated the entire facility, including their early learning center and preschool. Parents were contacted to come and pick up their children early.
The church contacted Birmingham police, who did a sweep of the facility and didn’t find anything. Kinsley didn’t know the details about the threat, but described it as a security threat.
Birmingham police are still investigating the threat.
The Secret Church events are modeled after something Platt experienced when traveling through Asia. People come together in unannounced locations to cram as much Bible and theological teaching as possible into a long, overnight session. The hours-long lecture often has a broad, pan-thematic subject, such as “The New Testament;” more than one would cover in a single sermon, or even several sermons.
Platt brought the format to his own church and remarked in the book Radical what it was like to look out and see a packed auditorium with thousands of people quietly taking notes… at 12:30 AM. (Read a review of the book here.)
As the book gained popularity and the live events continued to attract more and more people, the church arranged for other churches in other cities to sign up for a live satellite simulcast, technically not unlike the LifeWay events with Beth Moore. Existing recordings of past events have now been translated into twelve languages.
Platt describes his events on the Secret Church website:
When we think of “church” in America, we think of going to meet at a building, singing, praying and hearing a message from a pastor or teacher. But in many places around the world, “church” meets in a home, an apartment, and sometimes even in secret. Many times there are just a few believers who know and follow Christ. These small groups of Christ-followers often meet for many hours in study, prayer, and fellowship. Sometimes they face great difficulties to meet together. In some places it may even be dangerous to gather as a church to worship, pray, and study the Word. So when they come together, they want to make the most of their time together.
Secret Church is our “house church” where we meet periodically for an intense time of Bible study—lasting 6+ hours…
Where the simulcast originated from, and the security issue’s impact on dates for the next Secret Church event were not available as of late Sunday night, nor did we know if police traced the source of the treat. Many people had traveled a great distance to be in the live audience. Watch for updates.
In addition to his role as author and Brook Hills pastor, Platt is also currently the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.