ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has, in recent years, developed Send Network agreements with state conventions across North America to enhance partnership and church planting within the SBC.
So far, 23 state conventions and Canada, have signed up to become official Send Network states, opening the door for Send Network’s processes for assessment, training, coaching and care to become a resource for more church planting missionaries.
Most recently, the Nevada Baptist Convention (NBC) announced its agreement and the launch of Send Network Nevada during its annual meeting, Oct. 17-18 at LifeChurch Reno.
“We are thankful for the church planters around the country who are being called to Nevada,” NBC Executive Director Damian Cirincione said during the meeting. “But we also want to create a culture of church planting that results in Nevada church planters being developed in Nevada churches. This will be a natural result of a greater discipleship focus in our churches.”
Many different cultures and ethnicities comprise the state, and the NBC aspires to help churches in big cities and small towns develop an ethic of evangelism and discipleship that will expand the kingdom of God throughout the state, Cirincione added.
“Nevada is the fifth-fastest growing state in the nation, with Las Vegas being one of the fastest-growing, most global cities in the nation,” said Josh Carter, director of Send Network Nevada. “In northern Nevada, Reno is growing tremendously. No church will, on its own, ever be able to multiply quickly enough to move the needle in the right direction. We must have another level of kingdom collaboration happening where churches of all sizes play a part in church planting in some way.”
The NBC’s announcement comes on the heels of the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) announcing during its September board meeting its decision to join NAMB for Send Network California.
A higher percentage of Californians identify as “none,” in terms of their religious affiliation, than evangelical Protestant, according to Pew Research – 20 percent evangelical compared to 27 percent religiously unaffiliated.
“Now, more than ever, we have a clear understanding that we must work together as a Convention,” said CSBC Executive Director Pete Ramirez during the CSBC board meeting. “We are in a post-COVID era, and many of our churches have felt the impact. We have no choice but to rethink both how to plant churches and where to plant churches.”
Baptist state conventions in the southern U.S. have also begun reaping the benefits of Send Network partnerships, with Arkansas Baptists and North Carolina Baptists recently announcing church planting agreements with NAMB.
“The impact of this enhanced partnership will result in many more positive benefits to our church planters, sponsor churches and church planter residency churches,” Arkansas Baptists Executive Director Sonny Tucker told the Arkansas Baptist News. “Several of our sister southern state conventions have entered into a similar partnership, and they give this enhanced partnership the highest reviews with greater church-planter benefits, care and more churches planted.”
N.C. Baptists and Send Network came together to launch SendNC on Sept. 27.
“This partnership will combine the best of our existing church-planting leadership and relationships with NAMB’s planter care development pathway,” said N.C. Baptist Executive Director Todd Unzicker. “It will give numerous opportunities for church planters to gain experienced coaching, expanded planter care, synchronized training, improved benefits and greater funding.”
These and other state conventions, such as Iowa and Montana, have begun this fall with several others expected to develop in the future. The key to these enhanced partnerships has been the continued increase in Southern Baptists giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions.
“The faithfulness of Southern Baptists is helping to fuel the expansion of God’s kingdom throughout North America,” said Send Network President Vance Pitman. “It’s humbling to see everyone rally together to encourage a movement of churches planting churches, and it’s my prayer that state partnerships like these will bear fruit that makes an eternal impact in cities and nations around the world.”
This article was originally published by the North American Mission Board.