Send Network just concluded the last of five regional gatherings this year across North America meant to encourage and inspire church planting couples and sending church leaders. The 3-day events focused on Send Network’s five core values:
- Seek first the kingdom,
- Deepen devotion,
- Stick together,
- Think multiplication, and
- Engage your city.
At each event, planters and leaders who live miles apart gathered in one room to worship, learn and fellowship.
In total, nearly 2,000 church planters, their wives and other leaders attended the 5-city lineup in San Diego; Columbus, Ohio; Calgary, Alberta; Washington, D.C.; and Fort Worth, Texas. The gatherings also provided a space for front-line ministry workers to recharge spiritually, physically and relationally.
“One church can’t accomplish the mission by itself,” said Send Network President Vance Pitman, reminding planters at the Texas gathering of a theme that has resonated throughout Send Network with the rollout of the new North American-wide church mobilization pathway this summer. The tool helps established churches and church plants alike find their place in God’s kingdom work of church planting.
Drawing from texts in Genesis and Revelation, Matt Carter, mobilization vice president, shared at each Gathering that multiplication has always been God’s plan to take the message of the gospel to the nations.
“We have to stop looking at multiplication as some strategy we may or may not do,” Carter said. “We need to start looking at multiplication as a calling that you and I must obey.”
Send Network hosted its first Sending Lab on the sidelines of a gathering — helping churches learn how they can join in God’s mission of kingdom expansion — at the final event in Texas. The workshop led both new and established churches in developing a vision and plan to lead their church to send church planters from their own congregations.
“The church planters of tomorrow are sitting in your churches today,” Gus Hernandez, Send Network’s director of sending churches told a Sending Lab filled with church leaders.
Through four collaborative sessions, the Sending Lab helped church leaders discuss practical ways to develop and send out church planters and teams. The power of intentionality, developing a vision and establishing residencies were just a few of the topics covered to help churches take tangible steps toward multiplication.
The 2023 Send Network Gatherings also featured Send Network Español breakouts, part of the organization’s increased efforts to equip Hispanic planters to lead in their unique context as they plant churches to reach the growing number of Hispanics in North America.
“Statistics show that in the coming years, the U.S. Hispanic community will double,” Send Network Español Vice President Félix Cabrera shared in a recent update. “That makes it crucial for us to continue to find, develop and send well-trained Hispanic planters to every corner of North America.”
The gatherings underscored Send Network’s family ethos and emphasis on the importance of local churches planting churches everywhere for everyone.
“We truly are a family of churches united by a mission,” Noah Oldham, Send Network’s senior director of culture and care shared. “The fellowship with, care for and commitment to one another is tangible. There is a real concern for brothers and sisters to prosper, not just in ministry but in all ways.”
In the coming weeks, the network of churches plans to release an expanded opportunity for Send Network Gatherings in 2024 and beyond.
Published October 20, 2023