DALLAS – Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd was elected April 2 as president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) during a called meeting in Dallas.
On a ballet vote held during an executive session of nearly four hours, Floyd received 68 of 69 votes cast. Floyd, 63, is the EC's seventh chief executive.
Floyd said in remarks following his election that he will resign April 7 from the longtime pastorate of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas and begin his EC leadership immediately.
As senior pastor of Cross Church , Floyd's SBC service has included two years as convention president, two years as EC chairman and a term as SBC Pastors' Conference president.
"We're going to come and we're going to reach the world with all we have and call this convention up to a level that we all need to go to," Floyd told the EC. "Please pray for us."
The strong affirmation he received from EC leadership, he said, followed his prayer that the Lord would clearly declare His call for Floyd to serve in the new post.
SBC President J.D. Greear affirmed Floyd's election.
"This is a crucial moment for Southern Baptists, and I am excited to work alongside Ronnie Floyd as he leads the Executive Committee forward," Greear said. "Pastor Ronnie has had a lifetime of leading in the kinds of evangelism and sending we are promoting in the Who's Your One? and Go2 initiatives, both on the local church and national convention levels.
"He is a man of prayer and a man of action; a man of prudence and man of boldness," said Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area. "He is a gifted leader who I believe will keep the Gospel above all."
Floyd alerted his congregation March 31 to the possibility of his election.
"The thought of parting from you has been gut-wrenching for Jeana and me. Words cannot describe it," Floyd told his congregation. "The sense of loss is undeniable. But the sense of calling at this point is greater."
During his 33 years at Cross Church, the congregation has baptized more than 22,000 people, according to a press kit distributed by the EC. Cross Church has planted 148 other churches in North America and across the globe under Floyd's leadership, including congregations in 26 of the North American Mission Board's 32 Send Cities. By May 1, 2020, Cross Church plans to have planted at least one church in all 32 Send Cities.
Cross Church has given nearly $11.5 million through the Cooperative Program during Floyd's pastoral tenure, according to data from the SBC's Annual Church Profile. CP is Southern Baptists' unified method of funding missions and ministries in North America and throughout the world.
In 2017, Floyd was appointed president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a role in which he has overseen the annual National Day of Prayer emphasis in May.
SBC President J.D. Greear, issuing an endorsement of the nominee, said, "Ronnie Floyd's passion for prayer and spiritual awakening, combined with his strong support for our cooperative mission, his tireless energy, and his demonstrated commitment to raising up the next generation make him a unique gift to the SBC at this hour of transition."
As SBC president from 2014-2016, hallmarks of Floyd's leadership were emphases on prayer, spiritual awakening and racial reconciliation. At each of the two SBC annual meetings at which Floyd presided, an entire evening session was devoted to prayer for spiritual awakening in America.
Floyd's friendship with Jerry Young, president of the predominantly black National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc., eventuated in a November 2015 meeting where 10 Southern Baptist pastors and 10 National Baptist pastors discussed concrete ways to achieve racial reconciliation and foster national healing. Floyd presided over the SBC when messengers adopted a 2016 resolution renouncing display of the Confederate battle flag.
Floyd served in SBC leadership roles during at least two previous notable junctures in the convention's history.
He was EC chairman from 1995-1997, when the SBC adopted the Covenant for a New Century restructuring plan that reduced the number of convention entities from 19 to 12.
Fifteen years later, he chaired the SBC's Great Commission Task Force (GCTF), which presented a series of recommendations affirmed by messengers in 2010 and aimed at increasing the convention's evangelistic effectiveness. The GCTF recommendations led to EC recommendations, approved by messengers in 2011, that established Great Commission Giving, revised the North American Mission Board and International Mission Board ministry assignments and reduced the EC's portion of CP funds from 3.40 percent to 2.99 percent. Great Commission Giving is a category encompassing CP as well as direct gifts to SBC entities, Baptist associations and state convention ministries.
As pastor of Cross Church since 1986, Floyd has led the congregation to give $1 million or more through CP annually since 2015, according to ACP data. "Only a few Southern Baptist churches in history" have given that amount, BP reported in 2015. The church's average worship attendance increased from 1,800 in 1986 (when it was known as First Baptist Church of Springdale, Ark.) to more than 9,200 last year across several campuses.
Floyd serves on an informal evangelical advisory council for President Trump. Last year, Floyd said serving on the advisory council is not an endorsement of the president or his policies. Floyd also said he has had opportunity to express the Gospel to Trump.
He served as general editor of LifeWay Christian Resources' Bible Studies for Life curriculum from 2013-2017 and has authored more than 20 books, including "How to Pray," now in a 20th anniversary edition. He is online at ronniefloyd.com.
Floyd holds both master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and an undergraduate degree from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas.
He and his wife Jeana of 42 years have two sons and seven grandchildren.