On the evening of Good Friday 2013, several thousand young evangelicals will file into The Church at Brook Hill in Birmingham, Alabama, one of the largest Southern Baptist congregations in that Red State. They will open up their Bibles and then for the next six hours listen as a slender, boyish-looking pastor walks them through long passages of Scripture verse by verse and tells them to forsake material goods and self-indulgence and devote their lives to serving Jesus. All around the country other gatherings of young people will tune in by simulcast. David Platt, author of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, is not a typical celebrity pastor. He does no book tours, doesn’t drive a Bentley, seems to have no opinions about politics, and hardly ever has time for even a brief interview with reporters. And he’s not the stereotypical Southern Baptist power broker.Read the rest of Southern Baptists’ hands-on approach to changing the world.
Bob Smietana has covered religion for a living since 1999 and for the last five years as religion writer at The Tennessean in Nashville. He's also a correspondent for Religion News Service, a freelance religion writer whose stories have appeared in national publications such as Christianity Today, The Christian Century, Sojourners and, U.S. Catholic, and co-author of three books.