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SBC DIGEST: Send Network broadens invitation to 2024 Gathering events; State ethics leaders meet at ERLC

Send Network broadens 2024 Gatherings to include all those interested in church planting

By NAMB Staff

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Send Network is broadening its upcoming Gathering events to include anyone who is interested in church planting – from high school students to thought leaders to church planting team members — to fellowship and collaborate in the spirit of joining God in His activity to expand His kingdom in North American and the nations.

Send Network President Vance Pitman addresses a Send Network Gathering event.

These two-day events will take place in three locations across North America: Long Beach, Calif.; Boston and San Antonio. Attendees will be equipped to participate in God’s mission of expanding His kingdom by multiplying churches. Pastors, staff members, ministry leaders and anyone from across North America with a desire to leverage their life more powerfully are invited to glean insights from some today’s foremost experts in church multiplication.

Vance Pitman, president of Send Network, shared, “We’re expanding the vision. We’re inviting supporting and sending and multiplying churches to be a part of these events so that we can all catch the vision together for joining in God’s kingdom activity through the multiplication of the church.”

Traditionally, Send Network Gatherings exclusively served planting couples, offering them a chance to recharge and get equipped for another year of ministry. This past year’s events were built around Send Network’s five core values. The events will still include significant content for planters, while also expanding the scope to welcome anyone interested in learning more about church planting.

A core component to this event will be the opportunity for those interested in church planting to take their next step. The idea that God’s global mission demands disciples and churches that multiply is one of Send Network’s five core values that was introduced last year. To support this vision, Send Network unveiled a new Mobilization Pathway this summer during the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. This tool aids both established churches and church plants alike in finding their place in God’s kingdom work of church planting.

At a recent Gathering, Matt Carter, Send Network’s vice president of mobilization, said, “We have to stop looking at multiplication as some strategy we may or may not do, and we need to start looking at multiplication as a calling that you and I must obey.”

Drawing from texts in Genesis and Revelation, Carter shared that multiplication has been God’s plan from the beginning of time to the end to take the message of the Gospel to the nations.

Organizers hope that attendees of the Gathering will gain inspiration and practical information to begin thinking about multiplying their churches, whether they are in the initial stages of planting or are an established congregation with a decades-long history. The Gatherings will also be a place where church planting enthusiasts can network and form relationships with other missionally-minded churches and individuals.

Tony Merida, Send Network’s vice president of planter development, said, “If you are interested in a gathering that is biblical, focused on contextualization, and is devotional, this is the space. These events are so encouraging to my soul as we hear the word, as we think about how to minister in our contexts, in our own particular cities and as we seek the Lord together in prayer. It’s very edifying as well as being very enlightening.”

Send Network is expanding the events, Pitman said, in order to “invite supporting and sending and multiplying churches to be in the room cross-pollinating with our planting couples.”

“Also,” Pitman added, “we want you to bring people in your church who are prayerfully considering church planting – high school students, college students – get them in the room with planters, let God speak to their heart to invite them to join in the multiplication of the church for the expansion of His kingdom.”

To view dates and register for a Send Network Gathering before prices increase soon, visit SendNetworkGatherings.com.

State ethics leaders discuss engaging the culture amid gender activism

By ERLC Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) – The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) hosted a meeting of state convention ethics leaders Thursday and Friday (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) at its office in downtown Nashville.

Hannah Daniel (center), ERLC’s policy manager, addresses a meeting of state Baptist ethics leaders at a meeting in Nashville Nov. 30.

It is the third gathering of its kind since Brent Leatherwood has been leading the ERLC. The meetings are part of a concentrated effort from the ERLC to do cooperative work with state conventions and provide times for fellowship and collaboration.

The keynote speaker on Thursday evening (Nov. 30) was Katie McCoy, director of women’s ministry at the Baptist General Convention of Texas. She spoke about the importance of teaching biblical ethics to the next generation in the midst of cultural challenges related to sexuality and gender ideology.

“Throughout church history, when followers of Christ encounter a culture, they defend the value of God’s image bearers and protect society’s most vulnerable,” McCoy said in comments to Baptist Press.

“Vulnerable adolescents may not realize the undertow waiting to sweep them away, but they are nonetheless caught in the current of cultural forces. They are influenced by a confluence of social, political, educational, and even medical activism.

“Reaching this generation held captive by gender ideology is not impossible. We need a counter-vision for what it means to be created male or female, of what it means to be human. This counter-vision for humanity begins with establishing the foundation for sex and gender in Genesis.”

McCoy said engaging with a biblical worldview is no longer optional for believers in today’s world.

“When God made male and female, he made two equal expressions of His image,” McCoy said. “Not just different, but different in a way that corresponds to each other. We are designed to reflect the image of God in relationships.

“Gone are the days when we can afford not to be students of our culture. We must, like the sons of Issachar, discern the times, understand the world in which we live, and speak with informed and studied conviction.”

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  • BP Staff