By Josie Rabbitt
“Redefine” was the charge and challenge at the Send Conference — a joint event of the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board.
The sold-out conference in Long Beach, Calif., Feb. 3-4 drew nearly 4,000 attendees, including 237 from Arizona. Church planters, college students, pastors, missionaries, moms and dads, sons and daughters, California natives, world travelers, road-trippers and frequent flyers came together to redefine their lives for Christ.
Thirty-two speakers shared biblical insights and first-person experiences around the theme “Redefine.” They encouraged attendees to discover and decide what needs to be redefined in their lives, so every part of their lives could reflect God’s glory.
Tony Giordano brought 50 members of his church, The Way Family Church in Murrietta, Calif., 80 miles to see Phil Wickham, a Christian singer and songwriter from San Diego. Austin Stone Band and Rend Collective also led worship.
Church planters Steven and Lauren Kimbrell of Grace City Church in Irvine, Calif., shared about their “redefining moment” when they left their friends and family and moved from North Carolina to California to plant Grace City Church.
The couple attended the Send Conference to dig deeper into life on mission through breakout sessions addressing topics that included how to reach Muslims and how to break out of Christian subculture.
NAMB president Kevin Ezell expressed special thanks to pastors who brought groups to the event.
“I am grateful for the pastors who worked so hard to bring people to the Southern California Send Conference. Thanks to their efforts this was the largest SBC event in California in 36 years,” Ezell said. “It was even more incredible to see such a diversity of ethnicity and age. Ultimately, we hope many will hear and respond to God’s call to leave the familiar and serve Him on mission across North America and around the world.”
IMB president David Platt, a mainstage speaker at the event, said his hope is that momentum from the conference will have a long-lasting impact for God’s Kingdom.
“God is opening Southern Baptists’ eyes to the reality that each of us has been sent by Him to proclaim His Gospel wherever we live right now and wherever He leads us in the future,” Platt said. “I’m praying that the ripple effects of these two days will reach far and wide as God uses the men and women sent out from this conference to lead people and people groups to Christ in the days ahead. I’m deeply grateful for this coalition of churches we have in the [Southern Baptist Convention] that makes a conference like this possible.” (BP)