‘Holy moments’: Floyd commissions son as successor
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (BP) — Ronnie Floyd called them “holy moments.” The senior pastor of Cross Church for nearly 33 years, Floyd preached his final sermon May 19 and commissioned his son Nick as his successor.
“Pastor Nick and my son, even as [the apostle] Paul knelt and he prayed, I put my hands in your hands today as a sign and a symbol to our people that God is transferring this to you,” Floyd said as both he and his son knelt before Cross Church’s combined congregations at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.
In turn, the son named his father pastor emeritus and praised him as a “veteran soldier who has fought the good fight of faith in our midst.”
Floyd had just preached from Acts 20, recounting and identifying with the words of Paul during a tearful first-century farewell to believers in Miletus.
“Paul was preparing them for his absence. And I want to help prepare you for my absence from you,” Floyd told several thousand gathered in the arena at the University of Arkansas. “Cross Church, listen carefully. Look to my eyes today. You give all you have to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ above all” since “I am leaving you because I have a compelling call by the Holy Spirit.”
Hours after the 9:30 a.m. service, Floyd began full-time as the new president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee in Nashville.
“Paul did not know what he would face in Jerusalem, except that the Holy Spirit warned him that those chains meant that he would be in prison, and the afflictions meant that he would be persecuted and in danger of losing his life,” Floyd said. “Even knowing that, he was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go.”
Nick Floyd, unanimously elected as Cross Church senior pastor in April, honored his father during Sunday’s service with a letter, the envelope simply addressed with a handwritten “Dad.”
“Dad, well done,” Nick Floyd said. “Not every pastor gets to hear those words from his successor who also happens to be his son. You are worthy of those concluding words to your time here as pastor of Cross Church.
“The longer I’m in ministry the more I just want to be faithful and finish well like you have,” the younger Floyd said. The church presented the departing Floyd with a Canterbury edition of the King James Bible, bound in goatskin, engraved with “pastor emeritus” and signed by church leaders.
Events marking Floyd’s final week at Cross Church included a May 15 evening reception for him and his wife Jeana. On May 14, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack honored Floyd during a time allotted for one-minute speeches on the House floor.
“He’s presided over an unprecedented expansion of the church over four campuses in Arkansas and Missouri with a combined membership of nearly 28,000,” Womack, a Cross Church member, said of Floyd. “Under his vision and leadership, just under 23,000 have come to know Christ as their personal Savior. And Cross Church has an enviable reputation of bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nation and the world. Average weekly attendance has grown from 1,800 people in 1986 to nearly 10,000 today.”
In a Cross Church video posted on Facebook, numerous members commended Floyd.
“I think differently, I act differently, I even follow the Lord in a different way just because of the impact you’ve had on my life,” Drew Tucker Sr. said. “I’m forever grateful for the unconditional love that you have shown to me and my family.”
Pam Candler, with her husband R.J., thanked Floyd “for creating an environment of inclusion and really letting people know what you stand for as well as what Cross Church stands for. Thank you for being obedient to God’s call. Thank you Sister Jeana for always showing us what a godly couple is like.”
The SBC Executive Committee elected Floyd as president and CEO on April 2 during a called meeting in Dallas. Floyd is widely endorsed by Southern Baptist leaders including entity presidents, state convention executives, a diversity of pastors and others as well as the Woman’s Missionary Union. His first day in the office (today, May 20) began with a series of meetings with senior leadership as he transitions full-time into his new role.
Floyd has been active in various arenas of Southern Baptist life and interdenominational ministry. He was president of the SBC from 2014–2016, chaired the SBC Great Commission Task Force from 2009–2010 and chaired the Executive Committee from 1995–1997.
He began leading Cross Church in 1986 when the congregation was known as First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., and expanded the ministry to include campuses in Rogers and Fayetteville as well as a campus in Neosho, Mo. He has 43 years of pastoral experience dating back to First Baptist Church in Cherokee, Texas, in 1976 and subsequently including congregations in Milford, Palacios and Nederland, Texas.
Floyd is the author of more than 20 books — “How to Pray” being the most recent — and host and lead speaker of The Summit businesspersons’ luncheon of northwest Arkansas, equipping more than 400 business leaders each week.
DALLAS (BP) — Messengers to the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention affirmed the dignity and worth of women, denounced all forms of abuse and called for sexual purity among Christian leaders in adopting 16 resolutions Tuesday (June 12).
Passage of the resolutions on women, abuse and pastoral purity by nearly unanimous votes late in the afternoon session came after months of disclosures of sexual abuse and misconduct by male leaders had rocked Southern Baptist and other evangelical churches and institutions.Adoption of the measures also came in the wake of the May 30 termination of Paige Patterson at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary following his alleged mishandling of the reported rape of a female student and criticism of his advice to a woman abused by her husband.
The resolution on women recognized May 15 as the 100th anniversary of female messengers to the SBC meeting and honored “the immeasurable contribution of women to our cooperative mission of Great Commission work.”
It also affirmed women’s gifts “in their distinctive God-assigned roles” and urged Southern Baptists “to encourage, cultivate, and celebrate the diverse gifts, callings, and contributions of women in biblically appropriate ways.”
The measure on abuse renounced “all abusive behavior as unquestionably sinful” and called for decisive action to report abuse allegations to law enforcement authorities. It also offered compassion to abuse victims, “being careful to remind the abused that such injustice is undeserved and not a result of personal guilt or fault.”
In the resolution on clergy purity, messengers repudiated actions that undermine the New Testament standard of holiness for Christian leaders and urged churches “to exercise appropriate redemptive church discipline” when needed.
While the subjects of these first three resolutions had some overlap, the Resolutions Committee — which received 38 resolutions, the most since 1997 — “determined to address each theme individually” because of the number of proposed statements it received, Chairman Jason Duesing told reporters afterward.
“It was clear to us that the convention wanted to speak to those themes,” and separate resolutions allowed the committee to meet that desire, said Duesing, provost and associate professor of historical theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and a member of Antioch Bible Baptist Church in Gladstone, Mo.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, commented on the three resolutions by commending the Resolutions Committee “for strong, positive resolutions that address a crisis in our country and in our world right now.”
The resolution process not only speaks “to the outside world for the convention” but also serves “to help educate and equip” Southern Baptists, Moore said at the news conference. “And my hope is that these resolutions, as weighty and biblically crafted and worded as they are, would help to spark conversations and actions in local Southern Baptist churches and other churches about how can we best respond to those who are being abused.”
Messengers also continued to address racial reconciliation by adopting a resolution renewing the SBC’s “public repudiation of racism in all its forms,” including “the curse of Ham” teaching that God determined the descendants of this son of Noah would have dark skin and live in subordination.
In a measure on immigration, messengers again requested reform — as they had in 2011 — that secures the borders and proves a pathway to legal status “with appropriate restitutionary measures.” The resolution also calls for “maintaining the priority of family unity.”
Messengers also approved resolutions that:
— Affirmed the “full dignity of every human being.”
— Called for “caution and wisdom in our media and social media” communications.
— Encouraged government authorities to establish policies that would curtail gun violence while functioning according to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
— Urged pastors and churches to be informed about the dangers of opioids and to minister to people impacted by opioid abuse.
— Pledged to pray for Arab Christians in the Middle East and around the world.
— Mourned the February death of evangelist Billy Graham, a Southern Baptist, and celebrated his life and ministry.
— Thanked God on the 100th anniversary of GuideStone Financial Resources.
— Voiced gratitude to God on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
— Offered thanks to God for 50 years of ministry through Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.
— Expressed gratitude to God, as well as Southern Baptists in the Dallas area and all others who helped with this year’s meeting.
Messengers also passed a multi-subject resolution that reaffirmed commitment to the trustworthiness of the Bible and “unswerving belief” in the one true God, continued to call for Southern Baptists to welcome refugees into their churches and homes, and urged church members to pray about adopting or fostering children.
Because of time constraints at the close of the June 12 afternoon session, messengers approved 14 of the resolutions with one vote. Revisions were offered from the floor on the resolutions on abuse and human dignity, and the committee received them as friendly amendments. Messengers approved all the resolutions in votes that appeared nearly unanimous.
In addition to Duesing, the other committee members, in alphabetical order, were: Ken Alford, pastor, Crossroads Baptist Church, Valdosta, Ga.; Byron Day, pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Laurel, Md.; Candi Finch, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies, Southwestern Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas and member of Hope Church, Fort Worth; Willie McLaurin, special assistant to the executive director, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, Franklin, Tenn., and member of Simeon Baptist Church, Antioch, Tenn.; Chris Metcalf, pastor, Lihue Baptist Church, Lihue, Hawaii; Jason Paredes, lead pastor, Fielder Church, Arlington, Texas; Adron Robinson, senior pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Country Club Hills, Ill.; Alicia Wong, associate professor of women’s ministry, Gateway Seminary, Ontario, Calif., and member of Rosena Church, San Bernardino, Calif.; and Curtis Woods, associate executive director for convention relations, Kentucky Baptist Convention, Louisville, Ky., and member of Watson Memorial Baptist Church, Louisville.
On March 14, 2018, International Mission Board missionaries Randy and Kathy Arnett died as a result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Arnetts were traveling with fellow IMB missionaries Jeff and Barbara Singerman to a training conference for pastors outside of the capital of Kinshasa. As a result of that accident, Jeff and Barbara also sustained some very serious injuries.
When I first heard this news, I was in China, and my heart was broken. I know the Singerman family well. Jeff and Barbara are members of the church I pastor in Dayton, OH. Their children grew up in our church (when they were home from the mission field). Two years ago, we helped launch Josh and Kari Ortega (Jeff and Barbara’s daughter) to plant H2O church on the campus of Wright State University. Barbara’s parents, Bill and Lucille Burns, are members of my church. This family means the world to me, and I was on the other side of the planet with limited access to communication and no ability to help.
Thankfully, we have a mission board that is prepared to deal with these tragic situations. Jeff and Barbara were flown to South Africa to get the medical care they needed, and they did not have to worry about who was paying for it, who was arranging it, or how they would make things work for their family while they recover. The reason for that is because of the faithfulness of Southern Baptists across this country who give to the Cooperative Program.
In times like these I am thankful for many things: 1) That we have missionaries like the Arnetts and Singermans who put their lives in harm’s way every day to share the gospel in hard places. 2) That we have a system like the Cooperative Program that allows us to pool our resources so that when situations like this occur, our missionary force can receive the best and most compassionate care possible. There is no way my church could have afforded to do what all of us can do together. 3) While I was unable to help this family in a tangible way, Southern Baptists from around the globe immediately began to pray, to love on the family of the Arnetts, and to reach out to the Singermans with encouragement and prayer.
We have something special in the Cooperative Program. Take a moment and watch the video below and see if you don’t agree that we are truly #BetterTogether.