Ronnie Floyd wins Southern Baptist Convention presidency
BALTIMORE (BP) -- In a year when the Southern Baptist Convention focused on "Restoration & Revival Through Prayer," Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd, who has sought to encourage Southern Baptists to deepen their spiritual walk through books, Sunday School studies and pastor prayer meetings, has been elected as the Southern Baptist Convention's president.
Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas for 27 years, topped fellow nominees Maryland pastor Dennis Manpoong Kim and Kentucky pastor Jared Moore to win the SBC post June 10 in Baltimore.
The new SBC president succeeds New Orleans pastor Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, who became the first African American to lead the SBC when he was elected in 2012.
With 5,001 registered messengers and 3,553 ballots cast, Floyd received 1,834 votes, or 51.62 percent. Kim, pastor of Global Mission Church of Greater Washington in Silver Spring, Md., received 1,446 votes or 40.70 percent while Moore, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, Ky., received 210 votes or 5.91 percent. Moore is the current second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Floyd was nominated by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. Kim and Moore were placed in nomination, respectively, by Texas pastor Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington and Bennie Smith, a deacon at the Kentucky church where Moore is pastor.
Mohler, in his nomination speech, said Floyd, 58, has "the Great Commission in his heart" and has been a leader "with peerless experience in the Southern Baptist Convention."
Mohler noted Floyd's service as president of the Pastors' Conference; chairman of the SBC Executive Committee; participation on the denomination's Program and Structure Committee; and, "most importantly," as chairman of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (2009-10), which set forth wide-ranging recommendations for expanding the SBC's missions outreach.
"He is a unifier and a denominational statesman. He knows the Southern Baptist Convention at every level, and he has served and led at every level," Mohler said.
While chairman of the task force, Mohler said Floyd "bridged generations and institutional boundaries to forge a new commitment to reaching the world for Christ. As an immediate result of that leadership experience, Ronnie Floyd became convinced of the need to direct ever greater financial support to the world missions task."
After his experience on the task force, Floyd steered his church to be one of the convention's leading contributors through the Cooperative Program, "even leading his church to give more to the Cooperative Program during a time of national recession, contributing more than $700,000 last year alone," Mohler said.
"We need a man of that commitment and leadership now as president of our beloved convention -- a man who models the message."
Mohler said Floyd "will lead all Southern Baptists, and he will lead us well. He is a bridge-builder who unites us theologically and stands in a direct line of noble leaders who have defended the inerrancy of Scripture and every doctrine of our Baptist Faith & Message.
"At this crucial hour, we Southern Baptists desperately need a leader who can model convictional compassion and compassionate conviction -- who can articulate our message in the midst of most trying times -- and represent us all as the world around us turns upside down.... He will stand without compromise, articulate with clarity, and lead us with confidence."
McKissic, in his nomination speech, described Kim as "a rare find among Southern Baptists."
Kim has a heart for prayer, McKissic said, and has leaders praying at his church almost continually during the day. McKissic also said Southern Baptists should elect Kim because he would be the convention's first president who is pastor of a multicultural church that is "wholly committed to cross-cultural evangelism and discipleship."
"The world needs to see such cross-cultural, discipleship-driven churches, trained in evangelism and saturated in prayer," McKissic said.
McKissic further recommended Kim because of his heart for inclusion and cooperation. Kim has led 40 international mission trips and would have been the SBC's first president not from the traditional South.
"The election of Dr. Kim would speak volumes to the nation and to the world that the Southern Baptist family is global, intergenerational, multiracial and culturally diverse," McKissic said. "The election of Dr. Kim would signal our future, which is Gospel-driven, Gospel-centered and reflective of the Kingdom of God for such a time as this."
Moore has led New Salem for the past four years, serving previously as a pastor and youth pastor in Tennessee. He also has served as a teaching assistant at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and an online adjunct professor at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Ky.
In "trying to speak for smaller churches," Smith said, "I believe that Brother Jared's voice would be valuable because he is an average Southern Baptist, and he has preached and led in many small churches, like our church, for 14 years."
New Salem, a rural congregation in Lincoln County, is comprised of about 60 people, Smith said.
Calling Moore an "intelligent and loving person," who is "dedicated to serving Jesus Christ," Smith added that Moore has been "especially good at reaching the unchurched" in the community.
"He is also a pastor who is very missions-minded and leads us to be a missions-minded church," Smith said, noting that New Salem gives approximately 16 percent of its undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program.
Floyd has been a key organizer of two pastor/leader prayer gatherings that each drew participants from nearly 30 states during the past year -- a Jan. 13-14 meeting in Atlanta attended by 400 pastors and leaders and a Sept. 30-Oct. 1 meeting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area attended by 175-plus pastors.
Floyd also has served as general editor for the updated version of Bible Studies for Life, the popular Bible study curriculum produced by LifeWay Christian Resources. He led an advisory team of pastors and ministry leaders to help design the new material from a church perspective. Floyd also serves as lead pastor and strategist with the North American Mission Board for its Send North America church planting strategy. He is the author of 10 books, including "Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission" (2011) and "The Power of Prayer and Fasting" (2010).
As the pastor of Cross Church, Floyd led the congregation to start campuses in Springdale, Rogers and Fayetteville.
He holds doctor of ministry and master of divinity degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and an undergraduate degree from Howard Payne University, also in Texas.
Floyd and his wife Jeana have been married 37 years and have two married sons and six grandchildren.
Barbara Denman is the Florida Baptist Convention's director of communications. Tim Ellsworth of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and Todd Deaton of Kentucky Baptists' Western Recorder contributed to this article.