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Send Network hosts 200+ new church planters, Sending Lab for pastors

More than 200 newly-endorsed church planters attended the Send Network Orientation April 15-17. The new planters represented 189 Sending Churches, five different languages, 24 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. (NAMB photo)

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) – More than 200 church planters represented 189 Sending Churches at Send Network’s most recent orientation for newly endorsed church planters April 15-17. Five different languages were spoken among the planters, who hailed from 24 U.S. States and two Canadian provinces.

The orientation, hosted at the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) building, was the first to be hosted in conjunction with a Sending Lab, a collaborative workshop for pastors of established churches that helps them develop a vision and plan to send church planters from their congregations. These two equipping events intertwined to create opportunities for pastors and planters to network and learn from one another.

Pastors and church staff from aspiring Sending Churches across North America collaborated around church multiplication strategies during a two-day Sending Lab at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga. (NAMB photo)

“By hosting a Sending Lab in conjunction with the Send Network orientation, the pastors will have the opportunity to hear the new vision of Send Network and worship alongside a few hundred church planters from all over the country,” said Gus Hernandez Jr., Send Network’s director of Sending Churches.

Send Network Executive Director Noah Oldham told attendees at the events’ opening session, “There is no limit to what God can do through a group of people with a shared mission.”

Over the following two days, while a new class of church planters dug deep into Send Network’s five values through mainstage presentations, aspiring Sending Churches attended sessions that helped them identify next steps for finding, developing and sending church planters.

“Our vision at Send Network is to join God’s activity to see His kingdom expand in North America by 1 percent over the next decade,” Hernandez said. “To see this vision become a reality, we need to see many new churches planted in North America. Sending Labs are designed to inspire and equip pastors to lead their churches to get involved with planting.”  

TJ Joy, church planting pastor at Long Hollow Church near Nashville, attended the Sending Lab along with new church staff members to help them better understand Long Hollow’s passion for church planting.

During the final worship session at the Send Network Orientation on April 15-17 at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga., planters took time to pray over each other’s new church plants, putting on display Send Network’s values of “stick together” and “deepen devotion.” (NAMB photo)

“The room was filled with churches where the pastor is the only staff member at the church but has a vision for multiplication, and other churches who have planted multiple churches a year,” Joy said. “The camaraderie and collaboration to be able to learn from other people, no matter where they are in the church planting journey, has been helpful for us all.”

Matt Carter, Send Network’s vice president of mobilization, told new planters, “whatever you’re asking God to do in your church … it’s too small. “That’s what the Bible says! He is able to do far more abundantly.”

Carter urged planters to weave the idea of multiplication into the DNA of their church plant from the very start, pointing to the theme of multiplication throughout the Bible, from passages in Genesis to Revelation.

“The goal is not planting churches,” said Vance Pitman, president of Send Network, during the orientation’s closing session. “The goal is the expansion of the kingdom of God in cities and communities all around the world.”

The orientation took place just days after the announcement that Jose Abella had been named vice president of Send Network Español. More than 70 of the 200 new church planters were Spanish-speaking, highlighting Send Network’s emphasis on resourcing churches looking to make an impact for the Gospel among Hispanics.

Vance Pitman – president of Send Network, the church planting arm of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) – challenged church planters to stay focused on God’s kingdom in their church planting journeys during the Send Network Orientation at NAMB in Alpharetta, Ga., on April 15-17. (NAMB photo)

“I am so encouraged by the traction we’re seeing already in the last two years with Send Network Español,” Pitman shared with planters at the orientation. “I believe Jose is God’s man for the hour to lead us where we need to go, and I could not be more excited.

“What if God has allowed, in His sovereignty, this influx of Spanish-speaking people in North America for us to see a church planting movement take place so that we become a sending nation for the Gospel to go to Spanish-speaking people all over the world.”

This coming year, Send Network will be hosting Gathering events to give those interested in church planting an opportunity to fellowship and collaborate while learning from some of today’s foremost experts in church multiplication. To view dates and register for a Send Network Gathering, visit SendNetworkGatherings.com.

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  • Anna Skudarnova