A diversity of hundreds of Southern Baptist leaders shared their concerns with SBC Executive Committee (EC) President-elect Ronnie Floyd in conference video sessions and calls he hosted through April 3 in Dallas.
Photo by Adam Covington
Ronnie Floyd, in a press conference after his election April 2 as president of the SBC Executive Committee, sets forth his vision in helping to lead Southern Baptists’ national and international missions and ministries.
Speaking with leaders immediately after his election has been his stated desire since considering the post, Floyd told Baptist Press (BP) April 2.
“One of the things I talked about strategically was that if I was elected, that we would spend that first many hours … to try to touch base with as many leaders as we can, to let them know that they’re important to us accomplishing this mission,” Floyd said.
“My heart is to just equip them and encourage people to know they’re valuable to us,” he said. “We need them on the team. It’s a time to get engaged. Let’s do it.”
Two video conferences and six conference calls engaged groups ranging in size from a dozen to more than 100, including members of the SBC’s Great Commission Council, the Large Church Roundtable, the Mega-Metro pastors fellowship, the Convention Advancement Advisory Council (CAAC), ethnic fellowships, associational mission strategists and prayer leaders, as well as bivocational and small-church pastors, state executives and presidents and young leaders active with the Baptist21 organization.
Each group has unique gifts that are valuable and essential to Southern Baptist work, Floyd said, uplifting all groups and closing each session with prayer led by a conference participant.
Floyd presented himself as a pastor committed to helping churches and not governing them.
Prevalent in the conversations were four initial core values Floyd told the SBC Executive Committee in executive session and later shared with BP:
– Upholding that people need Jesus;
– Assisting all churches, generations, ethnicities and languages;
– Sharing the story of Southern Baptists working at home and globally, and
– Mobilizing shared resourcing among Southern Baptists.
Floyd otherwise expressed his values, to the EC and subsequently to BP, in four priorities:
– Fulfilling the Great Commission; promoting a biblically based, Christ-centered and Holy Spirit-led Southern Baptist culture anchored in John 13:34;
– Communicating “compelling stories of what God is doing” through Southern Baptist ministries;
– Positioning the SBC for “an era of exponential growth and advancement” including all ethnicities, generations, women, church membership and technology, and;
– Encouraging concerted giving to the SBC Cooperative Program of supporting ministry locally, nationally and globally.
“We’re just really trying to do everything we can to instill confidence and unity in as many areas that we can” is the way Floyd communicated his goal to the Great Commission Council composed of SBC entity leaders and Woman’s Missionary Union leadership. “We know we have challenges, but we also have great things.”
Popular culture is not the only problem Southern Baptists face, Floyd said on many of the calls, but the culture promulgated among Southern Baptists needs to be corrected to exemplify the love Jesus commanded.
“I am highly concerned about our own culture within our Southern Baptist Convention,” Floyd told fellow Southern Baptists. “We need to learn to love one another again. We need to learn that we’re a family.
“We need to learn that people need each other again,” Floyd said. “And we need to help control our minds, control our thoughts, control our words, control our actions towards one another. Our enemy is the enemy called Satan, and our enemy is not each other.”
The SBC’s stand against sexual abuse was prevalent among discussions as well, with Floyd and other leaders emphasizing the importance of a wise and unified effort to prevent such crime as the SBC prepares for its 2019 annual meeting June 11-12 in Birmingham, Ala.
“It’s ungodly, it’s sinful, it’s criminal and obviously we would be against it,” Floyd said. “But how we get to the common path of what we do, that has become the issue.”
Floyd’s dialogue with the CAAC and the ethnic fellowships summed his game plan in preventing and addressing sexual abuse.
“Before Birmingham it will be our goal to get in a room [with SBC leaders] and come to a common solution we can all agree upon,” Floyd said, “where we will not have a bombing in Birmingham, but we will have blessings.”
When Southern Baptists leave Birmingham, Floyd said, there should be no doubt about where the SBC stands on the issue of sex abuse “and everything we’re going to try to do to help the churches, everything we’re going to try to do to have safe environments for our children and the vulnerable, and to do everything we can to extend repentance of any of our actions, and move forward in relationship with … a clear convictional, compelling and compassionate commitment and declaration.”