In 2006, many were pushing for elected leadership to come from churches that gave 10 percent of their undesignated funds to missions through the Cooperative Program (CP). The Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) was entertaining a motion to come before the convention calling for trustees of entities to be from churches that give 10 percent to the CP.
A small group met in Memphis calling for public repentance and holding trustees accountable to the convention’s sacred trust. This call was more loudly voiced by one of their own who was making a mockery of the trustee system by publicly releasing private information from International Mission Board (IMB) trustee meetings. The trustee responded by arguing the information, while private, should not have been and he felt vindicated by making it public.
These three unrelated squalls created the perfect storm in the months leading up to the annual meeting. Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, Ga., was rumored to be in the running for president. However, Hunt contacted Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Springdale, Ark. (now Cross Church), and asked him to pray about being nominated. Floyd agreed and Hunt announced he was making the nomination. When Hunt made the announcement, bloggers went into action. Some complained that Floyd was hand-picked behind the scenes, and they were tired of the president being chosen by a select few.
An ad hoc committee of state convention executive directors planned to present nine recommendations on CP giving. The ninth recommendation called for a definition of the CP. It was not passed until 2007. It called for churches to give to CP through the state conventions. In 2008 Floyd was leading his church to give through the convention-approved definition of the CP.
With all of the talk about CP, someone looked at the Annual Church Profile (ACP) of Floyd’s church. It revealed that in 2005 the church reported undesignated gifts of $11,900,000 and forwarded $34,000 to CP. In fairness the church actually gave $222,000 to CP causes that year. The $34,000 was given through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and nearly $200,000 was sent directly to the EC. This is a pattern many churches follow. But because Floyd’s church did not give through approved channels, it appeared to be much less. It seemed that Floyd’s nomination was doomed before the 2006 convention started.
Other candidates were placed before the convention. Frank Page was the go-to person for those who were disgruntled with the SBC. Regardless of the reasons behind the movements of the convention Floyd was defeated. I understand he was disappointed and discouraged about the misrepresentation of his church. He viewed this personal disappointment as God’s Will. It was not the season for him to be the convention’s president.
Because he loves missions and working with others to fulfill the Great Commission, Floyd stayed engaged and participated in the SBC. His prayer was just to be used as God saw fit.
Some quiet years from Floyd followed. He encouraged Hunt to pray about allowing his name to go before the convention as president. Hunt was elected in 2008 when Page’s term ended. Hunt’s crowning legacy focused on the Great Commission Resurgence, which called for leaders to increase CP giving and for state conventions to move to a 50/50 split. Floyd was tapped as the chairman of that committee. Their report to the convention in Orlando, Fla., had seven components. After the report was passed Floyd said he was going to reposition his church to give more to CP.
In 2011 Floyd led FBC Springdale to change her name to Cross Church. Records show that as early as 2008 he was leading the church to increase giving. That year they reported $14,700,000 in undesignated funds and forwarded $324,000 through the 2007-defined CP giving.
Within three years Floyd led his church to move from giving $34,000 through the state to giving $324,000. That is a huge increase. He also led the church that was giving $54,000 to Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in 2005 to giving $107,000 in 2008. This is a significant increase and shows that Floyd was more committed to the SBC.
The record shows his heart for reaching people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has made a conscious decision to do this through the SBC.
In 2012 the Cross Church budget was $15,900,000. Their CP gifts totaled $616,000. For this article I asked Floyd to forward to me the 2013 totals from his state’s records. According to the Arkansas records the church gave $716,826 through the state convention for CP causes. That amount should place Cross Church in the top 15 churches in CP giving. Floyd has led the church to invest major funds in church planting above their CP, Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong gifts.
They are working through Send North America to advance church planting. In 2012 they mobilized 750 of their church to serve in mission projects in North America and around the world.
In summary, Floyd has led his church to increase their CP giving from $34,000 to $716,826 in less than 10 years. When was the last time one has seen that kind of increase? According to their 2013 figures Cross Church gave 5 percent of their undesignated funds to CP.
It is clear that Floyd has placed his money where his mouth is. He said he would increase his CP giving and he did. Wow, did he ever! Thank you, Ronnie Floyd for your leadership in giving and your leadership in prayer gatherings. I pray God will continue to use you in your endeavors as a leader in the SBC. Your leadership is uniting people, and you have led Cross Church in financing and finishing the task well.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tim Rogers is senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is planning to nominate Ronnie Floyd for SBC president during the annual meeting.)