ORLANDO—More than 4,000 people gathered at First Baptist Orlando’s campus July 25-26 for the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB)’s Send Conference in Orlando, Fl.
Send Orlando was the last of three 2017 Send Conferences bringing the theme “Redefine” to attendees. The sold-out event opened with Vance Pittman, pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nv., about how to live on mission by redefining life.
“Is anybody hungry for a fresh move of God?” Pittman asked the crowd during the first of four main sessions. “Our prayer is that God would move fresh in your heart—that you would have a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit.”
Send Orlando featured 43 speakers including Trip Lee, J.D. Greear, Rachelle Starr, David Platt and Kevin Ezell in 36 breakout sessions with topics that included “Effective Preaching in the 21st Century,” “Critical Issues in Global Missions,” “College, Compassion and Community,” “Women, Missions and the Holy Spirit” and more.
Starr, founder of Scarlet Hope—an organization that rescues women in the sex industry in Kentucky—led a breakout session entitled “Big Issues Made Small … Change Your Community, Change the World.” Starr shared stories from the frontlines of her every day ministry and encouraged attendees to look around and “find people who need to hear about Jesus.”
“Ministry can be messy, and sometimes even heartbreaking, but seeing the light of our great God shine into the darkness is a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Starr. “Our mission is to meet each woman right where she is and point her to Jesus who is our only hope. We share the gospel with each dancer, bouncer and club owner God puts in our path. He didn’t call us to just share the good news when people ask but to go and share it to all who will listen!”
Generation Link, a mission-minded mentoring program located in 13 states and four countries, brought 150 interns to Send Orlando. Director of Generation Link, Jeremy Chasteen, said he knew the positive impact Send would have on his interns because “the Send Conference always aligns with our desire to train young adults through the local church to be lifelong disciple-makers.”
“I love having the opportunity to invest in young men and women currently making big decisions in their lives,” Chasteen said. “It was our hope that our participants would be exposed to continued opportunities for mission after Send Conference.”
While Send Orlando hosted breakouts for those looking to be discipled, the event also provided steps attendees could take to redefine their lives and move toward missional living every day.
“I pray that God will raise up many in attendance at Send Orlando who are willing to accept His call for their lives to take the gospel to places it has not yet reached,” said executive director of Radical, Chris Hunsberger, who has attended all three conferences this year. “The Send Conference is laser-focused on equipping and encouraging the church to mobilize and plant healthy churches.”
Send Orlando attendee Mark Koch, who is executive director of Ride Nature, a company created to impact the world through surf, skate and wake outreach. He brought eight of his team members to Send Orlando for further growth and spiritual encouragement.
“We heard David Platt and Tripp Lee were speaking at Send Orlando,” Koch said. “They’ve always been an encouragement to our adventurous team. I’ve heard these men speak in the past, and I was excited to bring my team along with me to hear them again, to grow in fellowship and to leave inspired to continue living daily missional lives.”
First Baptist Orlando staff and volunteers generously opened their doors to welcome the event and many church members attended and volunteered at the conference.
“I love the facilities and what we’re able to do here,” said Will Mowdy, First Baptist Orlando church member. “I’ve been coming to this church for 37 years because it’s truly a place where people are served in the name of Jesus. It’s such a privilege and honor to be here serving my church, my Lord and the people who’ve come to this conference to learn about living for Him.”
IMB president Platt urged attendees who felt God’s call to share the gospel in remote places to get up and go.
“Charles Spurgeon said that every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter,” Platt said. “And yes, that is what this conference is about—to recognize every opportunity to live out the Gospel and tell people about Jesus. But why in 2,000 years have we not gone with the Gospel to northern Nepal? Yes, let’s live on mission wherever we are, but I also believe that God is not just calling disciples to be where they currently are but He’s opening doors for them to take the gospel to unreached places.”
“Every day we wake up should be a mission trip,” said Ezell, NAMB’s president. “As Christians, we’re all called to do this. We are all to be obedient and to share the Gospel. At the North American Mission Board, we try to help churches plant 1,200 churches per year because we simply want you to be on mission and be encouraged in a place to live on mission every day. But then we want you be more interested in sharing the Gospel than in simply hearing it. It’s amazing what God can do through you tonight and tomorrow and for the rest of your life.”
The next Send Conference will take place July 30-31, 2020. Register now at SendConference.com.
Josie Bingham writes for the North American Mission Board.