Send Network celebrates 10,000+ new church milestone as Southern Baptists continue church planting increase

By Brandon Elrod

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – In 2023 Send Network celebrated the milestone of more than 10,000 new churches started since 2010. Every year, Send Network tabulates the number of churches Southern Baptists planted the previous year. In 2023, Send Network announced that the class of 2022 church plants—639 new churches—pushed the total of churches planted since 2010 beyond the 10,000 mark.

Send Network church planting missionary Justin McKay baptizes a new believer during The Local Church’s first anniversary service. Planted in Arvada, Colo., a suburb of Denver, The Local Church has seen great fruit in its first year as 21 people have made decisions for Christ. The Local Church photo

“We could not be more grateful for the way our churches have rallied around the mission of church planting in recent years,” Vance Pitman said following the announcement. Pitman serves as president of Send Network, NAMB’s church planting arm. “As we join in God’s mission to reach the nations, churches are engaging communities with the gospel, making disciples and seeing churches planted as a result.”

Each of Send Network’s orientations for new planters—one in March, the other in November—brought 200 or more missionaries to the event for a total of 402 church planters. Those in attendance represented Send Network’s ethnic and geographic diversity as they seek to start new churches in dozens of different U.S. states and Canadian provinces, both in small towns and in major urban centers. They were represented by hundreds of sending churches.

The 200 hundred church planting missionaries who attended Send Network Orientation on March 20 – 22, 2023 paused to take a photo outside of the North American Mission Board building in Alpharetta, Ga. NAMB photo

Throughout 2023, Send Network hosted five Gatherings for church planting missionaries and their wives throughout the U.S. and in Canada, totaling nearly 2,000 planters and wives in attendance. They also announced that Send Network’s 2024 Gatherings will be open to those interested in church planting after the events had primarily been geared toward missionaries already on the field.

Send Network unveiled its new Mobilization Pathway in 2023, which is designed to help churches discover how to take their next missional step in church planting. Send Network announced the addition of Tony Merida as vice president of planter development during the week of the SBC Annual Meeting.

Send Network also launched a program in cooperation with the International Mission Board to send church planters around the world to learn from international missionaries and catch a vision for engaging the nations through their church plant.

As part of its effort to reach underserved communities with the gospel, Send Network also embraced the task of planting more churches in military communities.

Published December 15, 2023

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Brandon Elrod

Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.