The International Mission Board and North American Mission Board are hosting the 2021 Send Conference starting today in Nashville, Tenn.
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The event, titled “Together on Mission,” features speakers such as Tony Evans, David Jeremiah, Benjamin Watson, Mark Richt and more. Tennessee pastor Robby Gallaty opened the event with a special prayer time.
“We need a word for our convention, we need a word for our churches [and] we need a word for our country,” Gallaty said at the outset of the prayer gathering. “We are at a place where we can’t elect our way, strategize our way, vote our way, plan our way, [or] sermonize our way out of the mess we are in.”
Gallaty, senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., led a packed ballroom full of attendees through times of silence, worship and confession. Gallaty and the intercessory prayer team from Long Hollow also recognized and prayed over pastors, ministers’ wives and other church leaders facing burdens in their ministries and personal lives.
Attendees gathered in small groups to pray for the various aspects of the Send Conference and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting. Gallaty also prayed over SBC executive committee president and CEO Ronnie Floyd, Floyd’s wife Jeana and SBC president J.D. Greear.
Evans spoke in the Sunday evening session, preaching about “kingdom authority” from Matthew 28:18-20, commonly called “The Great Commission.”
Evans drew parallels between his son’s tenure with the Tennessee Titans and the notion of two teams running in opposite directions with opposite goals – a metaphor for the nation’s current political and cultural divides. Acknowledging the racial tensions and class conflicts of the day, Evans petitioned Christians to be the third team on the field of life: officials who are on the field, not of the field.
Evans said referees know they may be booed by angry parties on both teams, but they understand they are not meant to be liked and rather simply abide by the rulebook that dictates the game.
“The real problem arises when the officiating authorities start wearing opposing team jerseys because it is then that they lose their third-party authority in the game,” Evans said. “We carry Kingdom authority as His officials, but many people are so heavenly-minded that they’re not helpful on earth while others are so earthly-minded that they’re no help to heaven.
“Our true calling is not to be part-time saints but full-time Christians pulling heaven down to earth as true reflections of the imago Dei. We have watched our nation decline because there aren’t enough accurate reflections of Christ invading the culture.”
After the 2020 SBC Pastors’ Conference was cancelled due to a COVID-19 pandemic, the officers at the time asked IMB and NAMB to plan the 2021 event, which led to the development of the 2021 Send Conference. The 2022 Pastors’ Conference is expected to return to its traditional format, so officer elections were held on Monday, June 14, during the Send Conference.
The following individuals were elected to lead the 2022 Pastors’ Conference:
- Matt Henslee, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, N.M., was elected as president.
- Cameron Triggs, pastor of Grace Alive Church in Orlando, Fla., was elected as vice president.
- Sam Greer, pastor of Red Bank Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., was elected treasurer.
Reporting from Baptist Press has been included in this article.