ORLANDO –“Send Network Florida,” a church planting partnership between the Florida Baptist Convention and North American Mission Board (NAMB), will focus on the entire Sunshine State, James Peoples, Florida Baptists’ Send City missionary with NAMB, announced at a Send Network luncheon Tuesday, Nov. 11.
“Send Network Florida” is not just what happens in Alpharetta, Jacksonville or South Florida,” said Peoples. “It’s a partnership everywhere and for everyone.”
More than 200 people attended the luncheon, held in conjunction with the Florida Baptist State Convention, designed to highlight opportunities and involvement for pastors and church planters who feel God is calling them to this critical need in the state of Florida.
Al Fernandez, Florida Baptists’ Southeast regional catalyst, gave three reasons for the partnership. First, he said, “We are better together. That is the Southern Baptist way. Together, we can make a difference.” Second, NAMB “has specialized in church planting,” and Florida Baptists can benefit from that expertise. Third, “Florida Baptists are committed to support church planting and church planters.”
Florida continues to grow, adding about 300,000 new residents annually, he said. “God has given us the opportunity and responsibility to reach new people with the gospel. We need more churches; we need a diversity of churches,” Fernandez said.
To demonstrate Florida Baptists’ commitment to church planting, 100 percent of all Maguire State Mission Offering receipts are slated for church planting. The goal for the 2019 Maguire Offering is $830,000.
“One of the things we’re really excited about is church planting and the partnership with NAMB and what God is doing,” said Jeffery Singletary, Florida Baptists’ Central regional catalyst.
Peoples said, “Send Network Florida is about us planting churches together.” He described NAMB’s church planting assessment process, which is available in numerous languages. After completing the assessment process, church planters have six months of training, two years of coaching and five years of planter care.
“The convention’s motto, “Right Beside You” fits hand-in glove with Send Network,” he said. “Significant funding” is also a part of the process, he said.
Florida Baptists’ six regional catalysts were introduced during the luncheon. They are: Lewis Miller, west; Wayne Briant, southwest; Gary Townsend, north; Craig Culbreth, east; Singletary, and Fernandez. These six catalysts will be personally involved in the church planting initiative throughout Florida.