Focus on unity at Send Network Kickoff for church planters and pastors


INDIANAPOLIS – Preceding this year’s Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Send Network, the North American Mission Board’s church planting arm, hosted a kickoff event on Sunday evening designed to set the focus for the busy days ahead.

“We’re calling this the Send Network Kickoff because we want to set the tone and let this be one of the first things you experience at the SBC Annual Meeting,” said Noah Oldham, Send Network’s executive director, at the event’s opening, adding, “Because this is so much more than a business meeting—brothers and sisters fill the room who are called by God on mission with you.”

That was a primary thread weaving through the event: “What unites us is bigger than what divides us,” said Send Network President Vance Pitman.

Several hundred church planters and other ministry leaders from cities across North America joined in worship before several of Send Network’s vice presidents shared how God is moving through church planting.

“We teach people all the time from our pulpits, talking about money, talking about finances, trust God with the first and best of your finances. What if we started trusting God with the first and the best of our people?” asked Matt Carter, vice president of mobilization.

“I’m excited for our unity. It is all of us together doing it. It’s Spanish-speaking and English-speaking churches raising up and sending out,” added Jose Abella, vice president of Send Network Español.

Vance Pitman, president of Send Network, took to the stage to celebrate God’s activity through Send Network in the past year and the vision of what’s to come.

“Ephesians 3:20 says, ‘To Him who is able’—it doesn’t say who was able,” said Pitman. “He’s as able today as He’s ever been, and He’s as able tomorrow as He ever will be. I’m excited about what God has done, but I’m more excited about what He’s going to do.”

NAMB’s Vice President of Resources and Marketing Trevin Wax presented a brief overview and history of how the SBC functions for attendees who were new to the annual meeting. He then led a panel discussion on how this year’s SBC Annual Meeting can advance church planting.

Wax and Pitman were joined by J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., and Brian Bloye, vice president of Strategies and Development for Send Network and pastor of West Ridge Church in Dallas, Ga.

“We’re not here because we love business meetings. We’re here because we love the kingdom,” Wax said.

“We want a convention that comes together for the mission,” echoed Greear, with Bloye adding, “I just want to be part of a tribe on mission.”

Send Network’s value of “deepen devotion” was displayed at the conclusion of the Kickoff as Pitman led planters and church leaders in an extended time of prayer. Church-planting leaders bowed their heads together to pray over the convention and each other.

“We are on this big team together. Be in prayer for all that God is doing,” Oldham said as he dismissed the group in a spirit of prayer.

Visit to discover how local churches can take their next step to expand the kingdom of God through church planting.