The value of staying where you are

Meredith Flynn —  December 13, 2012
FRIENDLY INVASION – “Invade your city strategically,” advises Ronnie Floyd. The Arkansas pastor and SBC leader urged Illinois pastors to identify local people groups and customize ministry to share the Gospel with them.

“Invade your city strategically,” advises Ronnie Floyd. He urged Illinois pastors to identify local people groups and customize ministry to share the Gospel with them.

COMMENTARY | Eric Reed

Many pastors and church leaders may wonder if they could be more effective in a different community or congregation. But Ronnie Floyd, who has served his Arkansas church for more than 25 years, warned against longing for a better location.

“Some of you wonder if He forgot your e-mail address and your cell number, but He’s got you fixed where you are,” said Floyd, who spoke to Illinois leaders during the IBSA Pastors’ Conference November 13.

He told a story about his community of Springdale, Arkansas, which is home to up to 8,000 people from the Marshall Islands. It’s a long way from Arkansas to the tiny collection of atolls in the North Pacific Ocean. In fact, fly out of Little Rock to Honolulu, and you’re still only about halfway there.

These thousands of Marshallese have journeyed to the middle of America in search of jobs, mostly in the poultry industry. They found jobs. But more important, they found the Gospel.

“They thought they were coming for chicken,” Floyd said of the Marshallese immigrants, “but they were groping for Jesus.” Today, Floyd’s congregation hosts the first Southern Baptist congregation for Marshallese in North America.

God’s placement of people – whether it’s a pastor or someone who needs to hear the Gospel – is providential and purposeful.

“God had brought everyone of those people to town for a purpose, that they might seek and go after God,” Floyd said. “His sovereign plan has brought lost people to your town, too, so you can see them as he sees them and can strategize and reach them.”

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.