Send Network Orientation welcomes 200+ new church planters, inspires seminary students


ALPHARETTA, Ga. — A diverse class of more than 200 church planters representing seven languages, 30 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces attended Send Network Orientation earlier this month at the North American Mission Board. These new missionaries recently completed Send Network’s assessment process to become church planters and were sent by 160 churches.

For new planters, orientation provides an opportunity to fellowship, learn from leading church-planting practitioners and worship together. Through six sessions, planters dove deep into Send Network’s five values of “seek first the kingdom,” “deepen devotion,” “stick together,” “think multiplication” and “engage your city.”

“You are an answer to prayer that we’ve been praying for years and years,” Noah Oldham, Send Network’s senior director of culture and care, reminded planters at the start of the three days.

Send Network’s value of “deepen devotion” was displayed throughout the three-day training and equipping event as church planters took extended time to pray over their cities and one another. Vance Pitman, president of Send Network, told planters, “Prayer is a measure of our dependence on and desperation for God.”

In addition to the 202 church planters, Send Network hosted 39 students from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to observe and catch the vision for expanding God’s kingdom through church planting. A pilot project between Midwestern and Send Network is meant to foster a greater missions mindset in students, in part by giving them unique opportunities like this to learn from and see church planting in action.

One of the students, Romello Yaqub, said, “Something that has been sticking out to me is the centerpiece being the kingdom. And we just get to play a little part in that, and God gets the glory for it.”

Matthew Tramel, a Ph. D student at the seminary said, “To be at NAMB and to get time with Send Network leadership has been eye-opening and really encouraging – to see how much the leadership here cares for their planters, and also what it means for students who are potentially wanting to go into planting itself.”

His wife, Catie, a master’s student at the seminary, added, “It’s been encouraging to see the vision casting that they’re giving us and to catch that vision, and then also be assured of the resources that they have to offer for their church planters and their families.”

This orientation was the first to occur since Send Network revealed its Mobilization Pathway this past summer during the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. The pathway is designed to help churches, regardless of age or size, take their next step in church planting.

Send Network’s vice president of mobilization, Matt Carter, urged planters to think multiplication from the beginning of their plant. “The multiplication of disciples and churches is not a manmade plan,” he said, “It’s a God-made plan. It was born in His heart. It was breathed out through Scripture. It plays out from the beginning of Scripture to the end of Scripture.”

The event also took place on the heels of another record Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, in which Southern Baptists gave $70.2 million dollars to fund church planting and compassion ministry throughout North America.

“The influence and resources that have been entrusted to our network are a precious gift of stewardship. We have the privilege of stewarding that together,” said Travis Ogle, Send Network’s executive vice president.