Something needs to change. This is the thought that David Platt had after a trek through the Himalayas. As a pastor and author, Platt is well known for his heart for global missions, and unreached peoples around the world. His resource ministry Radical provides resources and training for churches to have more of a global impact. So why the need for a change? This is what Platt discusses in his new book Something Needs to Change (Multnomah, 2019). In the book, he chronicles a trek he took through the Himalayas that brought him face to face with hurting people, many of whom have never heard the name of Jesus. After experiencing the brokenness of the people in remote villages, Platt realized that his heart needed to change. The people he encountered are more than numbers, they are souls that are in desperate need of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Written in the style of a journal entry, Platt chronicles his journey in eight one day segments. He walks the reader through each day from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed each night. This style makes the reader feel like they are on the trip walking beside him. Platt’s description of his experiences brings a visceral reaction to the reader. He allows the reader inside his mind to give a glimpse of what he was seeing, thinking, feeling, and even praying about on the journey.
Many of the villages throughout the Himalayan mountain range are remote agricultural communities. There is little access to education, medical care, clean water, and some food sources. Most of the food that villagers eat is grown or foraged for on a daily basis. Little access to basic necessities means that most of the people are extremely poor. Many of the children do not make it to adulthood. The dire economic conditions allow for the existence of sex trafficking to flourish. Men from the cities hike up the mountain and target families who have little girls. They promise that they will get the girls good jobs and take them away, and they will never see their families again. Conditions being as they are in these villages, it means that there is little access to the gospel. Most people are Hindu, Buddhist, or adhere to the beliefs of local cult religions. It is for these reasons that David Platt went on the trek and wrote the book, as a call to the church to rise up and reach the unreached.
The book provokes several good questions that make the reader evaluate their own thinking. Platt’s main question in the book is what is most important, to meet a person’s physical or spiritual needs first? The people he meets along the way that are doing ministry in the region express that it is important to do both. This is the model of Jesus in the Gospels, and it must be the model of the Church both in our neighborhood and around the world.
The second biggest question that the book raises is what is God calling each believer to do to help reach the unreached around the world? For some people it may be to go. For others it may be to give in order to help those that are called to go. Everyone, however, is called to pray and seek God’s will for them. No follower of Jesus can experience what David Platt experienced and stay the same. Something needs to change.
I highly recommend David Platt’s new book, Something Needs to Change. His challenge to the Church in this generation is greatly needed. This book would be an excellent resource for youth and college ministries as a way to challenge and teach young people how to leverage their education and career for the sake of the gospel. Most young people in this generation desire to do something meaningful and this book will be an excellent way to guide them. This book is an excellent resource to challenge all believers to consider how to use their career, retirement, family, etc for the glory of God among the nations.
Zach is a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He blogs at zachkendrick.wordpress.com, and is a contributor for Servants of Grace. He has written book reviews for Cross-Focused Reviews, Crossway, New Growth Press, Tyndale House Publishers and Fortress Press. He resides in Birmingham with his wife, Courtney.