By Ronnie Floyd
When I began serving as President of the Southern Baptist Convention, I also began working daily on listening to people and their concerns about our convention. Some of the ways I’ve accomplished this is through meetings with pastors and leaders as I’ve traveled. I have also called upon others for open and honest dialogue about our present status and future together.
Through these gatherings and conversations, we have worked diligently to create a specific list of 10 burdens that we keep hearing from our people about the Southern Baptist Convention. We have not just listened, contemplated, and discussed these things endlessly, but we have worked consistently to take actions relating to these things.
Today, I want to give a progress report about the actions we have taken to address these things over the past five months. The Southern Baptist Convention is a very large, complex ministry network. Things take time, but I thought it would be wise to share the progress I feel we have made since the fall.
I am listing these things not by order of priority, but as a matter of reference for each of us. I hope this will encourage you and perhaps give you some things to pray about.
1. Revival and Great Awakening – A heart and growing desperation for a great move of God in this generation.
This desperation for the next great move of God continues to grow. You can review my writings over the past several months and discover the consistent call for each of us to pray for this next great move of God. We know we cannot fix ourselves and God alone is our hope.
In the fall, I released an e-book entitled PLEADING WITH SOUTHERN BAPTISTS. This ten to twelve minute read can be downloaded at pray4awakening.com or amazon.com. I would encourage you to read and share it with the world. God is using this to move us toward clear agreement, visible union, and extraordinary prayer.
2. Unity and cooperation absolutely must happen across the Southern Baptist Convention in order for us to realize the future God has for us.
We have attempted to have conversations with people via conference calls, personal meetings, as well as various group meetings. I am convinced when we talk to each other we will not be prone to talk about each other. This also permits us to talk openly and honestly about our future together.
Independence threatens the value of unity and cooperation. We have been diligent to call for unity and cooperation. I am convinced our future is tied to our commitment to these two things.
3. The Cooperative Program is needed & valuable. Therefore, we need to discover ways to help all generations understand its importance for what we do today and for our future.
The great news is that our leadership is highly committed to the future of the Cooperative Program. Unquestionably, our leaders value the Cooperative Program and see its need in the future of Baptist life. While our seminaries are working hard to bring along the next generation, our mission boards are telling the story of God’s work around the world.
I have met with our leaders, working diligently to bring all of us together for the future financial support of all our Southern Baptist work. We will continue to call upon our churches to give more, but also elevate the importance of both of our major mission offerings. There is more about all this to come, so stay tuned.
4. The Great Commission – We need to remember what we are about: reaching America and the world for Jesus Christ.
As we have elevated and reminded ourselves, this single commitment that brought us together in 1845 is the same thing that keeps us together in 2015. Southern Baptists have stated again and again our grand commitment to the Great Commission.
Our problem is not our path, but our pace. We must find a way to accelerate our fulfillment of the Great Commission. In this urgent hour, we must find a way to give all we have and all we are to the fulfillment to the Great Commission.
5. Change the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Our Order of Business Committee and the leaders of our Executive Committee have worked diligently and faithfully with me to change the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Please go here to see how this is being done. And take a moment to look at theHighlights of the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention.
6. Communication – Tell the compelling story of who we are and what we are about.
In this month’s edition of SBC LIFE, you can understand more of what God is doing through our own ministries. Additionally, you can hear more about our story in my recent presentation at the SBC Executive Committee Meeting.
When you come to the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention, you will see our commitment to tell the great story we have as Southern Baptists.
7. Better engagement of the younger generation in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Recent statistics have confirmed what we felt was happening when we found that almost 25% of the SBC Messengers from last year were under forty years of age. I would urge you to take the time to read an article about this issue from our friend, Trevin Wax. It will encourage you. Come to Columbus!
8. Duplication – Address structural challenges in the Southern Baptist Convention that permit duplication of ministries, resulting in monies being spent that should be spent elsewhere.
While this is an ongoing issue in the convention, the convention entities, state conventions, and associations alone have to address it. As pastors, we can request it be dealt with, but it is up to the leaders of our convention bodies to address it. Pray for them as they do.
9. Diversity – Celebrating our progress and continuing with intentionality.
As President, I have the privilege and responsibility to appoint many people for various committee positions. I have just completed two of these major responsibilities and they will be made public soon, but let me tell you, right at 20% of our appointments to the Committee on Committees will be multi-ethnic. This will be incredible for our future. You may already be aware, but about 20% of our 50,000 churches and congregations are multi-ethnic churches.
Additionally, on this same committee, I am appointing twice the number of women than a year ago. There is so much to say about this exciting future we have together, but please know, we celebrate our progress and are being very intentional.
10. Legacy Churches – Raise up a generation of young men willing to give their life to these kinds of churches.
We are raising the flag high for the need to see our legacy, established churches be pastored and led by the next generation of leaders. While we are very committed to church planting, we also love seeing our legacy churches moving to great heights in their future. Just two weeks ago, I talked about a helpful way legacy churches can become revitalized.
Additionally, I know many of our leaders are very committed to remind the next generation of leaders about the huge need we have in our legacy churches.
I hope this progress report has helped you see that we have not just conducted meetings without results. I believe in taking action and leading us toward further steps. Please join me in doing the same not only in your prayer closet but also with your leadership. It will take all of us, so let’s come together like never before and do it for God’s glory.
Our future is great. Let’s experience it together.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention.