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The new senior pastor of the 4,300-member Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, recently turned 28, so maybe the jokes about him being so young will stop.

Or maybe not. Even the clerk at Wal-Mart didn't believe he was buying props for his sermon; she thought he must be the youth pastor. People sometimes ask him what he does, then say, "No, seriously, what do you really do?"

When the Church at Brook Hills hired David Platt as senior pastor this summer, he became one of the youngest megachurch pastors in the country. "He may be the youngest ever to be senior pastor of a megachurch," said John Vaughn, founder of the Megachurch Research Center in Bolivar, Mo.

Vaughn, who helped coin the term megachurch to define churches with 2,000 or more weekly attendance, said that in 26 years of researching megachurches he has not seen such a young minister named senior pastor of such a large church.

Platt, who had never been a senior pastor before, agrees it's an unusual opportunity.

"This is a very intimidating position to be in," Platt said. "There are a lot of factors that only God can get credit for. It doesn't make sense outside of that."

Platt has five college degrees, including a doctorate and two master's degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and two bachelor's degrees from the University of Georgia. He was hired by the seminary as assistant professor of preaching and apologetics and dean of the chapel after he finished his doctorate.

He was also working at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans and living in a parsonage when Hurricane Katrina hit last year, flooding the parsonage. That sent him and his wife, Heather, packing back to the Atlanta area, where they both grew up.

Brook Hills was looking for fill-in ...

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