David Platt’s tenure at the International Mission Board certainly hasn’t been without controversy. Soon after taking office it was revealed that the IMB mismanaged hundreds of millions of dollars and Platt was left with the unfortunate clean-up duty of relieving a thousand missionaries of their overseas positions. One of Platt’s first actions was to allow the speakers of ecstatic gibberish to serve at the IMB, while qualified Baptist missionaries were being brought home due to budget shortfalls and others were on a waiting list. Platt signed the infamous amicus brief to petition the government to allow a Mosque to be built in New Jersey even though the municipality was just following building codes (Platt eventually apologized for this). He made a few faux pas like recalling an old missionary wives’ tale as though it recently happened and re-tweeting praises for Beth Moore.
Today, Platt announced his retirement from the IMB and has agreed to stay on in the position of president until his replacement is found. According to the IMB website:
International Mission Board President David Platt has asked the mission agency’s trustees to begin searching for his successor. Platt announced his decision to IMB field personnel and staff on Monday, Feb. 12, in person and via email to those not in Richmond.
While requesting that the search for the IMB’s next president begin immediately, Platt will continue as president at IMB until a new president is elected. A presidential search committee will be comprised of IMB trustees selected by trustee chairman Dr. Rick Dunbar, a member of First Baptist Church Madison, Mississippi.
According to Platt, he (very commendably) decided that he would rather serve the local church than serve as president of an institution, and so he chose to resign, being convinced that he could not do both. He stated:
I have come to the realization that it is not viable long-term for me to lead as president of the IMB while serving as teaching pastor in a church.
This realization has been sobering, for I don’t believe I can choose between preaching and leading in the local church, and mobilizing and shepherding people in global missions. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that if I am going to serve in this way in the local church, then I need to serve in different ways for the cause of global missions.
Platt walked into a very tough situation at the International Mission Board, which might very well be one of the most fiscally incompetent and irresponsible missions organizations on earth, and did the best he could to fix the problems, gutting the IMB and slashing its missions programs out of necessity. Other than making mistakes mostly connected to his error of not-so-cautious Continuationism, Platt has been an admirable leader. We pray he remains so.
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