Secret Church: telling secrets

You're secretly huddled in a house with your family or a group of believers for hours of intensive Bible study. At any moment, authorities could knock on the door and arrest you, but your love for God is so strong that you're willing to risk everything to learn more about Him.

What if your Christianity was this raw, dangerous, and satisfying - a world apart from the cushy chairs and 20-minute sermons Americans are used to? That's what pastor and author David Platt asked his comfortable, upper-class megachurch, The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., after spending time with underground house churches throughout Asia. How, Platt wondered, could he transplant the urgency of the gospel proclamation and hunger for God's Word to the American church?

His answer: Secret Church, six intensive hours of biblical teaching and prayer for the persecuted church held periodically at Brook Hills. LifeWay Christian Resources and Disciple Making International (DMI), a non-profit Christian equipping organization Platt founded, partnered to provide a simulcast so families and small groups around the world can share in the revolutionary Secret Church experience in their homes (visit Secret Church on

"Having a simulcast for Secret Church exposes more people to the primacy of God's Word and the importance of prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters," Platt explains.

About 50,000 people from 1,300 churches and small groups joined in the first simulcast event in 2011. Participants like Lisa were riveted.

"Everyone stayed awake until midnight; in fact, we were all so fired up we couldn't get to sleep when we did go home," Lisa says. "We know God is using this tool to birth and renew a deep and incredible hunger for His Word."

Eighteen-year-old Caitlyn was also on the edge of her seat. "Your age doesn't matter at all with this - I found the whole thing very intense and interesting! I felt especially connected to the church. I could really feel the body of Christ that night and it opened my eyes to the massiveness of God's kingdom."

Interested in the Secret Church experience? Platt shares four tips for your family or small group.

Embrace the smaller setting.

"If I weren't teaching, I would love to gather in a home with a group of people to be a part of this," Platt says. "There's something special, yet powerful, about setting aside that kind of time to study and pray together intimately as a small group."

Celebrate your unity with the global church.

Even from home, you're worshiping, praying, and studying the Word in a global context.

"During the [first] simulcast, people were sending in pictures of groups studying all over the world," Platt says. "At one point, we put up a picture of a small group meeting in Cambodia. When I saw that picture, the fact that we were joining with those brothers and sisters on the other side of the world just struck me."

Use Secret Church study guides and resources.

Immediately following the simulcast DMI posts video, audio, and study guides at, so use these as a resource for your family or small group.

"If your children are older and able to attend Secret Church, I would recommend going back through the study with them and talking through any questions they may have," Platt says.

Small groups can also go back through at their own pace and really dig into the material. Matt, one of last year's participants, says he still goes back to his study guide.

"I will continue to study its truths for the rest of my life," Matt says. Moreover, Platt challenges small groups to take what they have learned beyond their small group and re-teach it in other contexts.

"The point is never just to learn information," he explains. "The point is to grow in Christ together and equip one another to go into the world together."

Share with others. There's one thing Platt doesn't want anyone to miss, whether they're gathered at Brook Hills or at home.

"Secret Church is not just for that night," he says. "We want participants to come away with an insatiable hunger for God's Word and be equipped to share what they've learned with others. No matter what it costs, we want every nation, tribe, tongue, and people group to hear and have the opportunity to respond to the gospel. That's what Secret Church is primarily about."

Learn what the Bible says about some of the most sensitive and important issues facing our culture, other cultures, and the church today: manhood, womanhood, marriage, parenting, singleness, sex, divorce, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, polygamy, pornography, adoption, abortion. You'll also pray for your persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. Visit Secret Church on

Secret Church Simulcast FAQs

How much does it cost?

The Secret Church bundles are based on how many people are participating in your group. 

  • Small Group of 1-7 (7 study guides)
  • Small Group of 8-14 (14 study guides)
  • Group 50-99 (50 study guides)
  • Group of 100+ (100 study guides)

Visit Secret Church on for current prices.

What do I need to be able to simulcast?

Simulcasting is easy and basically requires an Internet connection and a desktop or laptop computer.

How do I register as a small group?

To register go to Secret Church, log in, and then select the bundle that best describes your group.

What if I need more help?

Go to Secret Church for more information or email:

Andrea Bailey Willits is a writer in Nashville, Tenn. Reading Radical by David Platt has helped her understand what we can learn from the persecuted church.

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