Convention in flux: Floyd emerges as Baptist statesman

Lisa Misner Sergent —  January 2, 2016
Editor’s note: After an often tearful year, the Christian’s counterattack is hope.  The enemy may use the events of last year to strike chords of fear, but in reporting them, we offer notes of hope for 2016. God is in control of this world, and whatever happens, this history being made before our eyes will turn people toward him. He is our hope.
This is our certainty as we anticipate the new year, our hope.

Steeples-squareBy Meredith Flynn| In late 2015, Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd wrote a blog post titled “Why we are where we are.”

It could well have been the slogan so far for Floyd’s year-and-a-half as SBC president. The Arkansas pastor has used his platform and his online presence to paint a picture for Southern Baptists of the state of things, and how to move forward together.

Throughout his presidency, Floyd has identified pressing issues for Baptists. He has written about how to think and pray on global issues like immigration and terrorism. Within the Convention, he has highlighted the need to pray for spiritual awakening, culminating in a corporate prayer meeting last summer in Columbus, facilitated by Floyd.

He also has championed the Cooperative Program, calling for it to be “the financial priority of each of our churches” after the International Mission Board announced a plan to cut personnel in light of budgetary shortfalls.

“If you are concerned about some of our missionaries having to come home and the decrease of our missionary forces,” Floyd wrote, “the greatest thing your church can do to help turn it around is increase your giving through the Cooperative Program. It helps build our base of support financially, which in turn will increase our ability to reach the world.”

Looking ahead: Giving through the Cooperative Program was up 1.39% for the 2014-15 fiscal year, an encouraging increase following several years of calls from SBC leaders for churches to increase their giving. In 2016, look for more information about “Great Commission Advance,” an initiative introduced at the Convention in Columbus. It’s set to run through 2025, the 100th anniversary of the Cooperative Program.

When Southern Baptists elect a new president in St. Louis this summer, the “Floyd factor” likely will be in play, as the denomination looks for another leader able to bring Baptists together around key issues inside and outside the Convention.

Lisa Misner Sergent

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Lisa is IBSA Director of Communications. A Missouri native, she moved to Illinois 22 years ago and arrived at IBSA a few years later.