ATLANTA (BP) — “Five keys” are vital in transforming the culture of the Southern Baptist Convention to reach the world for Christ, SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd told two convention advancement groups Aug. 1-2 in Atlanta.
“I believe one of the greatest issues we’ve had in the last decade of Southern Baptist life is our culture; the way we talk with one another, the way we treat one another, the way we respect one another,” Floyd said, describing culture as an important component of businesses as well as families.
“Quite honestly, we need to develop a deep, spiritual culture,” Floyd told the groups. “I’m convinced that we can talk advancement and growth, production until we are worn out. But if the culture of who we are does not improve, it will all go in vain.”
The 32-member Convention Advancement Advisory Council (CAAC), a group of men and women drawn from a cross-section of Southern Baptists, and the 34-member Convention Advancement Ethnic Fellowship of leaders representing Southern Baptist ethnic diversity, heard Floyd during meetings Aug. 1 and 2, respectively, at the airport Westin Atlanta hotel.
Floyd asked leaders to help him create a culture. Southern Baptists will have “to hold one another accountable and do some things maybe we’ve not done before” to reach the goal.
He presented at the meetings five keys he described as not new discoveries, but building blocks to help the SBC change its culture. Floyd has championed a godly culture among Southern Baptists since his election as SBC EC president in April.
Southern Baptists, Floyd told leaders, must live and breathe Gospel urgency; empower all churches, all generations, all ethnicities and all languages; tell and celebrate what God is doing; love like Jesus loved; and prioritize, elevate and accelerate generosity.
— Live and breathe Gospel urgency.
“When you get up and when you speak, there is an urgency in your soul that we can’t wait all day long to get this Gospel out somewhere,” Floyd said of the soul-saving death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “This Gospel is critical. We need to have … anyone who leads in any capacity, whether they be male or female, to be able to stand up and proclaim and to know and to express this is important.”
Southern Baptists need to mobilize as many people as possible nationally and globally, he said, to spread the Gospel among all nations.
“Not one ethnicity in the room can win their ethnicity by themselves,” he said. “And we certainly can’t touch this world without all of our help.”
— Empower all churches, generations, ethnicities and languages.
The SBC is charged with empowering, not governing, churches, Floyd said, and must empower all demographics. Regarding languages in particular, while Southern Baptists across the nation worship in an estimated 90 languages, Floyd noted more than 800 languages are represented in New York City alone.
— Tell and celebrate what God is doing.
“People get inspired by stories. The more we tell our good stories, the less time we’ll have to tell our bad stories,” Floyd said. “When you create a culture where good is good news, then that’s what you really want to hear.”
— Love others like Jesus loved.
“We don’t need to be in the business of choosing who we love,” Floyd said, promoting a love that is willful and unconditional. “I want to do all I can, with all I have, to keep people within my circle of love, because … that’s what Jesus would do.”
— Prioritize, elevate and accelerate generosity.
Combining the first four steps creates a culture of generosity that prioritizes, elevates and accelerates giving, Floyd said, which supports the Cooperative Program, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and various other mission support emphases.
“People don’t give to your church if they don’t believe in your church, if they don’t believe in who you are and they [don’t] believe in the way you do things,” Floyd said. “That’s true for the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Floyd invited and responded to questions from both groups.
Ken Weathersby, SBC EC vice president for convention advancement, presided over both meetings, assisted by Bob Sena, SBC EC Hispanic relations consultant, and Paul Kim, SBC EC Asian American relations consultant.
The CAAC heard updates on CAAC projects including a new Google Dashboard database being developed to track Southern Baptist progress in ministry to various ethnic groups, the 2020 SBC Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., and recently elected Southern Baptist entity leaders.
The CAAC is composed of representatives of various former councils that have compiled reports aimed at increasing SBC participation among a broad swath of Southern Baptists. The group meets twice a year.
Represented on the CAAC are the African American Advisory Council, the Asian American Advisory Council, the Bivocational and Smaller Church Advisory Council, the Hispanic Advisory Council, the Multi-Ethnic Advisory Council, the Women’s Advisory Council and the Young Leaders Advisory Council.
The Ethnic Fellowship heard updates on domestic and international missions, the CAAC, the Google Dashboard project tracking demographic diversity, ministry progress reports, and the SBC Many Faces Booth at the 2019 and 2020 annual meetings.
Ethnicities and language groups represented on the fellowship are African American; the eight Asian Southern Baptist fellowships (Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian and Vietnamese); Haitian; Slavic; Hispanic; Native American; Ghanaian; Ukrainian and Zomi.
The fellowship meets annually.