ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — In his first visit to the North American Mission Board in his new role as president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Ronnie Floyd challenged staff members to “champion unashamedly the sharing of the Gospel with America.”
“You have a great opportunity to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ — and to lead us to do it — to every person, every town, every city, every state all across this nation,” Floyd said. “And when you touch this nation, and obviously Canada, you’re going to touch the rest of the world.”
Floyd also challenged the NAMB team to “champion pastors unashamedly.”
“Make a big deal of them whenever you can,” Floyd said. “Champion their calling — it’s a great calling. It means something when somebody who serves churches let’s pastors know — ‘You matter.’ It doesn’t matter whether they run 20,000 or they run 20.”
Floyd joined NAMB president Kevin Ezell on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the ministry’s monthly “Boot Camp,” an all-staff meeting attended by Alpharetta-based employees and then shared by video with field staff and missionaries. Ezell used the first half of the meeting to review priorities, values and goals. He then invited Floyd to the stage where the two had a conversation that touched on faith, family, ministry, SBC culture and Floyd’s vision for his role at the Executive Committee.
Floyd said he wants to help Southern Baptists “do something great for God in the next decade.”
“I mean to really move us in one direction toward doing everything we can to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations,” he said. “I want to be a part of something life changing. I want to be part of making a difference.”
Ezell began the conversation on a personal note thanking Floyd for the key role he played in Ezell’s ministry and life.
“Dr. Floyd has been investing in the lives of pastors literally his entire ministry and in ways that most people would never know,” Ezell told staff. “He invested and got nothing out of it. I am so grateful for the investment he has made in my life and in the lives of so many other pastors.”
Floyd emphasized the importance of a disciplined, personal time with God.
“So many times, we think about the public side,” he said. “What happens in your private life is much more important than what happens in your public life. Many times, God does not let us do things publicly because of the way we behave privately.”
Floyd said a believer’s personal time with God shapes that person’s priorities. For Floyd, a decision to protect family time is a choice he is grateful he made. He described a Friday night early in his ministry when he was driving back to church for a deacons meeting, leaving his wife Jeana and two young sons at home.
“I decided that night I am not going to sacrifice family on the altar of ministry success,” he said. “Starting that week, I spent every Friday with Jeana.” Floyd said he estimates he spent 95 percent of Fridays with his wife and family while he was pastoring.
Ezell asked Floyd what he sees as some of the biggest challenges Southern Baptists face.
“One of our biggest challenges is learning to get along and love each other like Jesus loves us and to have a healthy culture,” Floyd said. “As Peter Drucker said, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ It doesn’t matter how good your strategy is. If you don’t have good culture, you can forget your strategy.”
Floyd complimented Ezell and NAMB staff for how they have positively contributed to SBC culture in recent years.
“You all have done so much for the culture of the Southern Baptist Convention. Thank you,” Floyd said. “The conferences, the zeal, the vision. The commitment to excellence is so refreshing.”
Floyd described the current time in the SBC, with five of the 12 national entity leaders being newly appointed, as a time of great opportunity.
“We have a shot,” Floyd said. “We sometimes act like we have 150 shots. We don’t. We have one shot with our lives. And we need to make it count. And the people in this room have the opportunity. We need to make a difference.”
Ezell closed by thanking Floyd: “We are incredibly grateful to you and Jeana for making the sacrifice you’ve made.” He then invited NAMB staff to gather around Floyd for a time of prayer.