EDITOR’S NOTE: See Ronnie Floyd’s interview with Baptist Press that ran Friday (May 24). SBC This Week also interviewed Floyd last week for their weekly podcast. Listen to Friday’s show at https://sbcthisweek.com/.
NASHVILLE (BP) — Ronnie Floyd called Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee staff members to spiritual, professional and personal discipline Tuesday (May 28) in Nashville, pledging to give himself fully to his new calling as the SBC EC president and CEO.
“I came here to do more with the Gospel and for the Gospel than I’ve ever done in my life,” Floyd said in his first full meeting with staff since his arrival May 20. “I’m going to give the rest of my life in this capacity to advancing the Gospel to every person in the world and making disciples of all the nations, and leading this opportunity, this group, this network of churches in doing that.”
Assisting pastors and churches is the staff’s priority, he said, noting the SBC’s national and international entities, state conventions, associations, 47,456 churches and more than 4,000 church-type missions.
“Here at the executive committee under my leadership, I just want to challenge you,” Floyd told staff members. “You prioritize your care, your love, your support and your encouragement for churches and pastors. That’s who we are, and all the rest helps us accomplish that, but that’s what we’re about.
The SBC is a family, he noted. “And we will remain and only remain united when we have and we share the common vision … of reaching the world for Christ.”
Involvement of both pastors and lay people from local churches, Floyd said, creates a healthy balance.
“We need a lay involvement in this convention in a brand new way,” he said. “It’s far overdue.”
Floyd challenged staff members to continue developing their daily prayer lives and Godly fellowship, to be Bible-based financial stewards, to embrace teamwork, to develop relationships shaped by Godly love, to be driven by a missional vision and to walk with Christ. He implored staff to help lead the way in developing a new convention culture based on the love that Jesus taught.
“We need a new culture, the kind of culture Jesus talked about. Just listen to what He said, ‘Love one another,'” Floyd said. “We have seen strategies die death after death after death in this convention, and the reason is because our culture is unhealthy.
“The culture of a denomination, the culture of a convention, the culture of a team, the culture of a business, if it’s not healthy and it doesn’t give life, then it will be incompatible,” Floyd said. “It doesn’t matter what the strategy is.”
Floyd introduced to the full staff Ed Upton, charged with forwarding and advancing to staff members and EC partners Floyd’s vision, value, culture and priorities. Upton is president of the Cross Church School of Ministry through the end of this week at Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, where Floyd pastored nearly 33 years before accepting the EC presidency.
“I didn’t follow Ronnie Floyd to Nashville,” Upton said. “Eleanor (his wife) and I went through a process of God calling us here. And so as much as God has called him and Jeana here, we believe that God has called us here.”
At the SBC 2019 Annual Meeting June 11-12 in Birmingham, Ala., Floyd will unveil plans to shepherd the convention into the future, he told staff members.
“And upon the completion of that message, these things will become what I believe we need to value here at the Executive Committee, things that we live by, things that we’re willing to die for, things that are going to be our team colors here,” he said. “If we will do these things as an Executive Committee staff team and throughout our membership, we can lead this convention into unprecedented days in our generation.
“These things will become what we’re about, and what we believe in, and what we’re going to be about in our future,” Floyd said. “It’s amazing when we do those things we will also fulfill our ministry assignments in an over and above manner.”