More than 200 Christian missionaries from around the world will gather this week in Southfield for an
annual conference that’s an opportunity to pray and learn from one another, with the goal of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The SEND North America Annual Conference, from Sunday through Wednesday, July 22-25, is hosted by SEND International US at Highland Park Baptist Church, 28600 Lahser Road. It will include a variety of workshops, breakout sessions and guest speakers, with a focus on being “better together” through diversity and serving God to engage the unreached.
According to Michelle Atwell, director of SEND International US, the conference theme emphasizes the importance of serving side by side with individuals from many backgrounds.
“Today, God is using this diverse body to engage the unreached like never before in history,” Atwell says. “God is raising up partnerships, coalitions, networks and movements working together for the sake of those who need to hear the message of salvation.”
SEND is an interdenominational, multinational Christian evangelical organization with more than 500 missionaries in over 20 areas of Asia, Europe, Eurasia and North America.
For the past year, Atwell has served as its U.S. director, leading a team that works with missionaries in cities across the globe from its office based in Farmington Hills. She travels worldwide, engaging one on one with Christian missionaries, SEND’s ministry team in the field and SEND regional leaders.
“Jesus Christ gave Christians a remarkable mission — to go and make disciples of all nations,” Atwell says. “This Great Commission is what compels our missionaries and, with nearly 3 billion people who have no access to the gospel, it is the driving force behind all we do.”
The Rev. Christian Norman of Highland Park Baptist Church says he hopes this year’s conference will provide participants with an even bigger vision of what it looks like to engage cross culturally.
“Diversity is important to the local church, simply because it has been in the mind of God since Genesis to create for himself one people of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And since diversity is important to God’s heart, it should therefore be important to the heart of the church.”
Norman, who attributes his passion for the church and the Gospel of Jesus to his family, found himself continuing his studies after graduating from Michigan State University and earning a masters of divinity from Moody’s Theological Seminary.
His primary role as associate pastor allows him to work with young adults ages 18 to 32 to help them engage in the church’s mission through community and discipleship.
During the conference, he will speak about why diversity in the local church is so important and how it can help contribute to the Great Commission, which according to Christians is one of the most significant passages in the Holy Bible.
The conference kicks off at 7 p.m. with a Sunday worship service at that is open to the public. Eric Moore, who serves on SEND International US’s Council, will speak about “The Hypocrisy of Disunity.”
Moore is a full-time instructor and assistant professor, and chairman of the Applied Theology Department, at Moody Theological Seminary. His ministry experience includes serving as assistant pastor of Resurrection Fellowship Church of Grand Rapids for eight years; church planter and pastor of Tree of Life Bible Fellowship of Royal Oak; and eight short-term mission trips — three to Haiti and five to Uganda.
“We can’t make disciples of all nations if we don’t send workers to all nations,” Moore says. “I’m excited to be a part of a movement within the body of Christ and SEND International to mobilize Christians and plant churches around the world.”
For more information, visit send.org/US.