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By Joe Conway
NASHVILLE – A sold-out crowd of 13,000 from all 50 states
and four Canadian provinces flooded into Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena to
celebrate the call of Jesus and the response of life on mission at the 2015 Send
North America Conference Monday.
Illusionist and host Harris III opened the gathering by taking
the stage with a seemingly empty white box representing a life lived on
mission. He described the contents of the box as a “mystery” before, piece by
piece, removing items that signified unique lives lived on mission, explaining,
“You don’t have a mystery to solve. You have a ministry to serve.”
North American Mission Board president, Kevin Ezell, and
IMB president, David Platt, welcomed the assembly and led in a time of prayer
to kick off the conference. Platt challenged attendees to entreat God to move
in big ways.
“This is where I want to call 13,000 plus people in this
arena, from the beginning [of the conference], to put a blank check of our
lives on the table for God—no strings attached,” said Platt, challenging
attendees to serve wherever God calls them.
“We need pastors, students, men and women to rise up,”
said Ezell. “We want this to be more than a conference you attend, we want it
to be a life-altering experience.
The mission entity leaders were joined on the platform by
Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd, Tennessee Baptist
Convention executive director Randy Davis and others who helped lead prayer.
Opening session keynote speaker J.D. Greear told
attendees they have a call to leverage their talents and lives for the Great
“True growth only comes through scattering and gain only
comes by losing,” said Greear, sending church pastor of Summit Church in
Raleigh, N.C. “It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true. Jesus’ promises about the
greatness of the church were always tied to sending. He always focused on
leaders being raised up and sent out, not an audience being gathered in and
A dozen breakout sessions at three venues presented
participants with topics on living missions in everyday life. Panelist Danae
Herndon, who ministers against relational poverty in her Colorado Springs
neighborhood, said, “(My husband and I) decided we don’t want to wait to be on
mission for someone to fund us. We promised God that we would be on mission
today. So we started praying, ‘God, whose life can we breathe into? Who can we
be in relationship with? Who can we impact?’ And it always went back to our
Video interviews, including one with Tysons Foods CEO
Donnie Smith, were presented at main sessions in the Bridgestone Center. Smith
said, “People don’t mind Christians living Christian lives in the workplace.
They hate hypocrites.” He said faithfulness is key to maintaining an effective
witness in the corporate world.
The evening sessions keynote speaker, Louie Giglio, told
attendees they were celebrating the gospel–and a name.
“The gospel is not that sin made us bad,” said Giglio,
pastor of Atlanta’s Passion City Church. “It is worse than that. Sin made us
dead. But Jesus stepped into our dilemma. He did not leave His throne to make
us good people. He came to make us not dead.”
Giglio said the resurrection of Christ and the coming of
the Holy Spirit set in motion the plan of God, outlined in the Book of Acts,
setting in motion a Church that would send its people.
“Sin leads to in. It always turns the focus on me,” said
Giglio. “The first two letters of gospel are g-o. The Spirit says go. It takes
the propulsion of the Spirit to overcome the inward pull of the flesh. It is
all about the name of Jesus. That is what God has given us to celebrate–His
The night concluded with a concert by David Crowder
Conway writes for the North American Mission Board. NAMB writer K. Faith Morgan
and IMB writer Anne Harman contributed to this article.
More coverage from Send 2015
Date Created: 8/4/2015 10:06:07 AM
“True growth only comes
through scattering and gain only comes by losing. It’s counterintuitive, but
it’s true,” said sending church pastor J.D. Greear of Summit Church in Raleigh,
N.C., keynote speaker for the opening session of the 2015 Send North America
Conference. “Jesus’ promises about the greatness of the church were always tied
to sending. He always focused on leaders being raised up and sent out, not an
audience being gathered in and counted.”
It’s a strange message,
Greear said,—become empty to be filled, die to live. But the blank check, the
empty box, the life on mission, they’re all things that are available to be
filled in by something—or Someone—greater.
“The call to leverage your talents and life for the Great
Commission is included in the Great Commandment,” said Greear. “Why not get a
job in a place that is strategic?”
The Summit Church saw 153 members leave last year to launch their 24th
and 25th domestic church plants. Another 210 of their members live
overseas working with church plants.
“I was honestly scared to give away too much from our church,” said
Greear, who used John 12:20-25 to emphasize his points. “True growth only comes
by scattering. Jesus’ promises of the greatness of the kingdom are always about
sending, not gathering.
“Jesus’ promises are nothing short of staggering. It is to your
advantage that I leave. Can you imagine? … The Spirit of God filling every
believer is an advantage over Jesus remaining. The greater works that Jesus
promised are realized when ordinary believers are sent out and multiply.
“’So called’ ordinary people who live on mission–they are the tip of the
Greear concluded with three obstacles that keep churches from practicing
the principles of sending:
By Faith Morgan, a writer for the North American Mission Board.
Date Created: 8/3/2015 7:39:14 PM
NASHVILLE – Less than 24 hours before the start of the
sold out 2015 Send North America (SNA) Conference, Esther Fasolino had one word
for why she was attending, “Missions!”
“We’ve come to learn,” said Fasolino, a member of Immanuel
Baptist Church in Toronto. “The breakout topics are fantastic.” Fellow Toronto
resident Ivonne Anlar said their group of 12 would spread out among the diverse
breakout session offerings to maximize their coverage.
“We want to share the experience with as many people as
we can,” said Anlar.
The conference, hosted at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena,
Aug. 3-4, is sponsored by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the
International Mission Board (IMB). The number of participants plus volunteers
was expected to top 14,000.
Among those picking up their registration packets Sunday
were the Alvir family from Morehead City, N.C. Merari Alvir is a church planter
launching a bilingual church in the Outer Banks community. He and wife,
Jessica, brought their two oldest daughters, Jessari and Helen, to experience
“We’ve been involved in ministry 20 years,” said Alvir, a
native of Guatemala. “We came to be prepared to do missions. We want to plant a
bilingual church and were struck with the need for Hispanic church plants in
the United States.”
Alvir said the family just returned from their annual
mission trip to Guatemala. He and his wife, a daughter of missionaries, strive
to broaden their daughters’ call to mission and to keep up their language
“We expect to be revitalized by the conference,” said
Alvir. “We expect to embrace the calling of mission on our lives. We want to
make disciples and plant churches and want that in the DNA of the churches we
plant. We want it in our daughters’ DNA.”
Just a block away from early registration, hundreds of
volunteers were gathering in preparation for hosting attendees at the event.
“We want to help people find their mission,” said
18-year-old volunteer Kaden Davis, a member of First Baptist Church,
Waynesboro, Tenn. “God has called us and we are to be on mission. We want to
help people be on mission, too. We expect to see God’s Spirit move among the
people here. It is exciting.”
At a Sunday briefing, SNA Conference executive director
Aaron Coe reminded event volunteers that just five short years ago a missions
gathering like the Send Conference was only a dream. Coe said approximately 280
pastors are registered bringing some 8,200 members from their congregations.
“This conference is about aligning our lives behind God’s
plan to advance His kingdom,” said Coe. “We want to change the conversation and
help people understand they are the ministers. God wants to use each one of
these people to share the gospel with their neighbors and friends. I can’t wait
to see what God will do.”
The conference has drawn church members and leaders from
all 50 states and four Canadian provinces. The main sessions will be held in
the Bridgestone Arena. Breakout sessions will be hosted in the Music City
Center and the Renaissance and Omni Nashville hotels.
There will be
three stations for next steps in the venues where participants can respond to
missions callings. A six-week, next steps Bible study will launch through the
Send North America Network on Monday, Aug. 10. The Bible study will be
supported with videos and blog posts.
Learn more about
the Send North American Conference at sendconference.com. To explore missions
and church planting through NAMB, visit www.namb.net/mobilize-me. Discover more about
global missions at www.imb.org.
Joe Conway writes for the
North American Mission Board.
Date Created: 8/3/2015 10:42:53 AM
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®© Copyright 2015 North American Mission Board, SBC