Historically, the North American Mission Board gathered its network of Southern Baptist pastors, church planters and leaders together at the Send Conference once a year to encourage, train and talk evangelistic strategy. This year, however, was different. The organization redesigned Send from one international conference to three regional events, held in partnership with marketing and brand studio Brand Apart. Dustin Willis, NAMB’s executive director of marketing and events, reflects on the shift.
Serving the NAMB’s full constituency was the driving force behind the format switch, says Willis. “We are the North American Mission Board, and we felt like we could get the right people in the room by having three events in different regions,” he says. Willis’ goal with site selection was to identify three locations that put most NAMB pastors within a six-hour drive of one of the events, eliminating deterrents such as costly cross-country flights and excessive travel times. This year NAMB selected Dallas, Orlando and Long Beach, California.
“We thought it would be a win to keep 80 percent of content and messaging the same at all three events,” says Willis. The 20 percent difference came from who was delivering the content. NAMB sought more localized speakers and bands in each region to present on the same topics. Pastor Francis Chan spoke in Long Beach (Feb. 3-4), musician David Crowder led worship in Dallas (May 19-20) and author J.D. Greear will keynote in Orlando (July 25-26). “Francis is a West Coast guy, so he understands the context and audience. The same goes for Greear and Crowder in their locations,” notes Willis.
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