NASHVILLE – The crowd at the SEND North America Conference Aug. 3-4 saw 13,600 people from 49 states in attendance, and that includes nearly 100 from Missouri.
Josh Hall, pastor of Selmore Baptist Church in Ozark, came with three others from his church, as well as his associational director of missions.
“I attended the SEND conference in Dallas in 2013 and found it very encouraging/inspiring,” he said. “I wanted some others from our church to experience that as well. We also have some young men interested in missions, and I wanted to give them an opportunity to learn and network.”
New Harmony Church in Salem brought 41 people to the conference. Matt Milligan, family pastor at New Harmony, said the church was looking for something to inspire the church as a whole, not just the church staff or a few leaders.
“It was a great experience. The worship, main speakers, and breakouts were top notch,” he said. “Judging from the comments we have got from Facebook, text, and person testimony, the impact of this trip will be producing fruit for a long time.
“It has more content than I expected but in a great way. I would not give back the investment of time and money for anything.”
Lindey Broyles, a member of First Baptist, Diamond, and a Missouri Baptist Convention Disaster Relief summer intern, said the event was worth the seven-hour drive.
“I’ve been to many huge conferences like SEND, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so open to hear the message of missions. Disaster Relief definitely opened my heart and mind to the needs of people around me this summer, and it made me much more susceptible to hearing the message of living our everyday life on mission. I’m just so excited to be a Christ ambassador disguised as a student and a teacher.
“There’s just no experience like gathering with 13,000 like-minded believers to worship our God. In no other place does it make sense that presidents of corporations, senior pastors, college students, and high school students, would join together to hear the same message and respond to the same call. It’s just so incredible to be a part of such a kingdom as this.”
Caleb Brubaker, a member of First Baptist, St. James, and one of Broyles’s fellow DR interns, agreed.
“My favorite part of SEND was the fact that in between sessions and lunches and breakouts we were on the streets talking to people that had no clue what was going on or why there were so many people,” he said.
“The last night we were just walking around and having fun, but also building relationships with people going out on the strip to have a good time and telling them about Christ even when it was least expected.
“God reaffirmed what he wanted me to do, and that’s to do mission work overseas and reach the lost to tell them about Jesus, and give all the glory to God knowing none of it could have happened without Him and His grand plan and how I fit into that.”