Ronnie Floyd’s April 2 election as president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee culminated almost a year of work for the search team charged with nominating him.
Adron Robinson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills and president of IBSA, served as vice chairman of the search committee. During the interview process, Robinson said, Floyd rose to the top of the search team’s list because of his extensive leadership background and detailed vision for the SBC.
“We needed a proven leader,” Robinson said, noting Floyd’s decades of pastoring a vibrant, baptizing, church-planting church. “That type of sustained leadership of a healthy ministry said a lot about his leadership capacity.”
Floyd has pastored Cross Church, a multi-site congregation in northwest Arkansas, for 33 years. He is a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (2014-2016), and also chaired the Great Commission Task Force (2009-2010) and the Executive Committee (1995-1997).
The search team believed his experience is needed now, Robinson said, as the SBC addresses sexual abuse and tries to help churches care well for victims and prevent future incidences. A February report in the Houston Chronicle detailed hundreds of cases of sexual abuse involving Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers.
Following his election, Floyd met with SBC leaders and groups in a series of video conferences and conference calls. “Before Birmingham it will be our goal to get in a room [with SBC leaders] and come to a common solution we can all agree upon,” Floyd told leaders.
When Southern Baptists leave Birmingham, he said, there should be no doubt about where the SBC stands on the issue of sex abuse “and everything we’re going to try to do to help the churches, everything we’re going to try to do to have safe environments for our children and the vulnerable, and to do everything we can to extend repentance of any of our actions, and move forward in relationship with…a clear convictional, compelling and compassionate commitment and declaration.”
Floyd’s vision for the denomination “multigenerational, multiethnic, and multilingual,” Robinson said. At the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention in Columbus, Ohio, then-SBC President Floyd gathered pastors and leaders from multiple ethnic groups to pray corporately for racial reconciliation. The next year, he invited National Baptist Convention President Jerry Young and other leaders to engage in a panel discussion on racial unity in America.
His frequent communication with Baptists through blog posts and social media was a hallmark of Floyd’s SBC presidency, and Robinson said that will continue as Floyd assumes his new role.
“I think that’s going to be part of his mission, to get the story of the SBC out to the rest of the world. To highlight the things we’re doing well, so that we’re not just known for what we’re against, but what we’re for, and what we’re doing to fulfill the Great Commission.”
That charge to make disciples of all nations—given by Jesus to his followers in Matthew 28:19-20—is the “missional vision” of Southern Baptists, Floyd said after his election. “It will be to that end, that end of reaching the world that I will give my life…in this next season—100 percent, from before daylight until exhaustion, until Jesus comes or until he calls me home.”
-Meredith Flynn, with reporting from Baptist Press