One city is central to everything Ronnie Floyd says and does as the Southern Baptist Convention’s president.
Two overarching matters are tied to Floyd’s focus on Ohio’s capital, site of SBC’s annual meeting in June:
— prayer for spiritual awakening in America.
— reaching the world for Christ.
“Hopefully and prayerfully we’re going to see the Lord really impact us,” Floyd told Baptist state paper editors during their Feb. 9-12 sessions in Orange Beach, Ala.
“Southern Baptists need to enter a time of clear agreement … that the number one need in America is a mighty spiritual awakening,” Floyd said. Apart from God’s intervention, “I know of no hope apart from that.”
Distinctive facets Floyd noted of the June 16-17 annual meeting include:
— a Tuesday evening session to be permeated by prayer, building on the convention’s “Great Awakening” theme.
— a Wednesday morning “church and missionary sending celebration” of Southern Baptists’ work toward fulfilling the Great Commission — and a call to heighten their efforts even more to reach the nations for Christ.
“I think there’s a general growing positive attitude about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Floyd said in listing several “great things I see today in Southern Baptist life.”
“I firmly believe that people are believing more and more in who we are and what we are about,” said Floyd, pastor of the multi-campus Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.
Pastors and leaders under 40 years of age accounted for nearly 25 percent of the messengers at last year’s SBC annual meeting in Baltimore, up 4 percent from the previous year in Houston, Floyd reported from an assessment of messenger data.
The New Testament church, he noted, encompassed “people who were saved by the power of God’s Spirit through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who were called out to be a part of His church, baptized to His glory and baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit of God. And they formed local churches … and they took the world for Christ.
“And that’s who we are,” Floyd said.
More than 10,000 multi-ethnic churches are among the 46,000-plus churches in the SBC, Floyd added.
“The Southern Baptist Convention is changing at every level. I think that’s a good thing,” Floyd said. “[Baptist] associations are changing, state conventions are changing, national SBC entities are changing, churches are changing.”
The change may be slower than some might advocate, he said, “but we can be thankful today that at least there is a spirit of change that is being embraced by the convention [versus] a spirit of resistance.”
SOURCE: Art Toalston