Set against a backdrop of sunshine and palm trees, Send Network’s Gathering in Miami recently drew more than 600 church planters and their wives for the South region’s annual meeting.
Themed Built for This, the two-day meeting at the Turnberry Resort and Spa in Aventura offered participants a time to worship, pray, fellowship and recharge.
During the general sessions attendees heard from Vance Pitman, Send Network president and pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas; Martin Vargas, pastor of Iglesia Real in Hollywood; Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach; and Ryan Rice, lead pastor of Connect Church of Algiers in New Orleans. Their messages focused on being conformed to Christ as individuals, through marriage and as churches.
“The church is not the goal … The church you are planting is one day going to die. The goal is the kingdom of God being expanded all over the world,” said Pitman.
In addition to the general sessions, eight breakout sessions covered a variety of topics including women’s discipleship, men’s soul care and multi-ethnic church planting.
Jose Abella, pastor of Providence Road Church in Miami, and Felix Cabrera, newly appointed vice president of Send Network Español, led two Spanish-language breakout sessions.
Abella led his group of about 70 through a brief history of planting a bilingual church in Miami.
“Families being split up for Sunday worship is not the vision … The Hispanic church has to have a bilingual component to be able to reach second- and third-generation Hispanics with the gospel,” Abell saidd.
Cabrera’s session, also attracting about 70 participants, encouraged pastors to care for their souls.
“It is a tragedy when we can see the sin in the lives of others, but we are ignorant to the sin in our own lives … If our foundation is weak, our fall is imminent,” said Cabrera.
Noel Morera, English language pastor at Iglesia Bautista Northside in Hialeah, said he was encouraged to hear from pastors like Abella who have been where he is and can offer insight into the process of becoming a bilingual church.
“I’ve been encouraged in the mission God has given me, and I feel that I am not alone,” he said.
For pastor Jean Robert Baptiste of Evangelical Church the Witnesses of Jesus Christ in Port St. Lucie, the main sessions refreshed his soul. “Being able to sit and hear a fresh word from God has been my favorite part of this gathering,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Keila Diaz and originally published by the Florida Baptist Convention.