By Baptist Press Staff
BALTIMORE (BP) — Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd, as one of three pastors to be nominated for SBC president in June, responded to six questions Baptist Press posed to each candidate.
Floyd’s nomination was announced Feb. 20 by R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Floyd has led Cross Church in northwest Arkansas for 27 years, now with campuses in Springdale, Rogers and Fayetteville.
Among Floyd’s leadership roles in the Southern Baptist Convention, he chaired the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (2009-10) that set forth wide-ranging recommendations for expanding the SBC’s missions outreach. Earlier, he served as chairman of the SBC Executive Committee and was a member of the mid-1990s SBC’s Program and Structure Task Force that produced The Covenant for a New Century restructuring and refocusing of the SBC’s entities.
Floyd has been a key organizer of two pastor/leader prayer gatherings that each drew participants from nearly 30 states in recent months — a Jan. 13-14 meeting in Atlanta attended by 400 pastors and leaders and a Sept. 30-Oct. 1 meeting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area attended by 175-plus pastors.
Floyd also has served as general editor for the updated and enhanced version of “Bible Studies for Life,” LifeWay’s most popular Bible study curriculum series, released last fall. He led an advisory team of pastors and ministry leaders to help design the new material from a church perspective. Floyd also serves as lead pastor and strategist with the North American Mission Board for its Send North America church planting strategy. He is the author of 10 books, including “Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission” (2011) and “The Power of Prayer and Fasting” (2010).
Floyd holds doctor of ministry and master of divinity degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and an undergraduate degree from Howard Payne University, also in Texas.
The new SBC president will succeed New Orleans pastor Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, who became the first-ever African American to lead the SBC when he was elected in 2012.
A Q&A with one of the other nominees, Kentucky pastor Jared Moore and Maryland pastor Dennis Manpoong Kim, whose nomination was announced May 20, also appear in this posting. Baptist Press requested each nominee to respond within 150 words to each question.
Ronnie Floyd’s answers to BP questions
BP: What influence on the Southern Baptist Convention do you pray to have during the two consecutive one-year terms that an SBC president typically serves?
FLOYD: If called upon to serve as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, I would humbly urge Southern Baptists to join me in two vital efforts. First, I will call upon us to cry out to God in extraordinary prayer for the next great spiritual awakening in America. No great movement of God ever occurs without being preceded by the extraordinary prayer of God’s people. Second, I will do all I can to lead Southern Baptists to do all we can together to accelerate our pace in completing the Great Commission. It is imperative we penetrate lostness in our churches, states, nation and across the entire world. Evangelizing, baptizing, discipling, sending and giving must be escalated. Southern Baptists have had a Conservative Resurgence. We are in the midst of a Great Commission Resurgence. The greatest need in this moment is to see God bring the next Great Awakening.
BP: If elected as SBC president, in what ways do you envision calling Southern Baptists forward in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission?
FLOYD: I was privileged to lead the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. Through that report, Southern Baptists have taken important steps to penetrate the lostness of our nation and world. As president, I will call upon our churches, associations, state conventions and all SBC entities to do all we can together to accelerate our pace in completing the Great Commission. The SBC’s ethnic and racial diversity should be celebrated and encouraged. I will call upon us to return to the power of His Gospel, prioritizing the evangelizing of lost people, baptizing them and establishing a genuine culture for discipling all believers in the church, and return to aggressively evangelizing teenagers and young adults. Accelerating the pace of completing the Great Commission demands we address the financial future of the Southern Baptist Convention and its support of all of our Great Commission ministries, especially how we can increase penetrating global lostness.
BP: Describe ways you have led your church to be involved in Great Commission outreach through Southern Baptist cooperative missions and the Cooperative Program.
FLOYD: In the journey of leading the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, God changed my life and ministry. Confronted with the reality of lostness, I was convicted to give the rest of my life to influencing and investing in others to win the world to Christ. Last year, Cross Church contributed over $700,000 through the Cooperative Program, ranking number one in Arkansas and 18 nationally in total CP giving. Projected to top $750,000 this year, our CP giving increased significantly even during our nation’s Great Recession. We made sacrifices to give more, like eliminating our national television ministry. Since 2000, our church has invested in and planted 101 churches — 56 in the last three years. In 2014, we are investing in 27 church plants, 15 of which are in 13 of the North American Mission Board’s designated SEND cities. Mobilizing laypeople, including youth, is vital to our missions commitments.
BP: In what ways do you see the SBC president coming alongside leaders of the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, GuideStone Financial Resources and the convention’s six seminaries to undergird and encourage their respective ministries?
FLOYD: As president, I would be a strong advocate for our Southern Baptist Convention entities and tell the story of what we are doing together to reach the world for Jesus Christ. I have been privileged to serve in various capacities in the SBC over the years. Currently, I serve as lead pastor and strategist for Send North America, the strategic church planting initiative of the North American Mission Board. I also serve as the general editor for LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum series. I’m the most surprised that the Lord has given me such opportunities of service. Also, we must always value our partnerships with state conventions and associations, working with all of them together to reach the world for Jesus Christ. I love the Southern Baptist Convention for all we do for the Kingdom of God, and I’m grateful for all opportunities to serve all fellow Southern Baptists.
BP: If elected as SBC president, how do you foresee speaking to the next generation of Southern Baptist leaders to be involved in expanding the convention’s Great Commission work?
FLOYD: For the past five years, I have been speaking to next generation leaders about their personal involvement in our convention’s Great Commission ministries. Through the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report, I think we have handed the next generation a vision for which they are very excited and becoming increasingly engaged. As president, I will continue to listen to young leaders, appeal to them and convey their interests and concerns to our leadership. Cross Church has modeled my concern for the next generation by investing in young leaders through our Cross School of Ministry, a one-year ministry residency. It’s my desire to reinvent our annual meeting with the goal of making it a spiritual experience that is so fresh and exciting that all generations are compelled to come and be sent out with a renewed engagement with who we are and what we do as Southern Baptists.
BP: What do you see as the key moral issues of our day and how the SBC president can represent Southern Baptists as America increasingly moves away from Judeo-Christian values?
FLOYD: As the cultural landscape of America is changing rapidly, it is imperative that the SBC president walks closely with SBC leaders to articulate a clear message representing the Lord, His Word and our churches. We must uphold the clear biblical view of marriage, the sanctity of human life and religious freedom. We must defend the defenseless, including the poor and victims of human trafficking. We must pray for justice to be done — that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. As we encounter those with whom we disagree, let us be faithful to hold up simultaneously the truth of God and the love of God, communicating with compassion God’s Word. I resonate with ERLC President Dr. Russell Moore’s call for “convictional kindness” in addressing our culture, and it’s one that I would seek to emulate if I’m privileged to be SBC president.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston. Ronnie Floyd is on the Web at www.ronniefloyd.com. In other interviews, click here for Floyd’s interview with Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and here for Floyd’s interview with the Arkansas Baptist News. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).