Ronnie Floyd is the new president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, elected April 2, by ballot vote in a called meeting in Dallas.
Floyd received sixty-eight of sixty-nine votes cast, the EC said, electing Floyd in an executive session of nearly four hours.
A former SBC president, Floyd resigned April 7 from his longtime pastorate of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. He said in his acceptance remarks that he would begin his transition to EC leadership immediately.
“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 vote in Floyd’s favor, 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 in comments to Baptist Press following the 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 told BP. “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 Durham, North Carolina. “He is a gifted leader who I believe will keep the Gospel above all.”
Floyd had alerted his congregation March 31 to the possibility of his election.
“As an ambassador for Christ, the Gospel, and our Southern Baptist Convention,” Floyd said in a video now posted on YouTube, “this role provides influence for the Lord and His Gospel message in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of places, nationally and globally.”
“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.”
Floyd’s election came on the same day as the release of the twentieth anniversary edition of his book, How To Pray, copies of which he presented to EC members and staff. The limited edition new release has five new chapters and is more than 90 percent rewritten from its original 1999 edition.
Floyd was widely endorsed by Southern Baptist leaders including entity presidents, the WMU executive director, state convention executives, a diversity of pastors, and others.
“Impeccable integrity,” “visionary leader,” “prayer warrior,” and “a role model in the pursuit of inclusiveness” are traits noted among endorsements offered in advance of the vote.
EC Chairman Mike Stone led the EC in concerted prayers for Floyd, his family, the EC, and the EC staff in the midst of transition.
“When we gather again at our next meeting it will be under the strong and capable leadership of our newly-elected president and CEO,” Stone said in calling the body to prayer.
Floyd is in his thirty-third year as the pastor of Cross Church, which celebrates its sesquicentennial in 2020. Under Floyd’s leadership, the multisite congregation has planted 148 churches and baptized more than twenty-two thousand people, according to a press kit distributed by the SBC Executive Committee in advance of the vote. Cross Church reached $1 million in annual giving to the SBC Cooperative Program in 2015 and has since exceeded that amount annually.
Floyd has been active in various arenas of Southern Baptist life and interdenominational ministry. He has served as president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force since 2017 and is a member of the board of directors of the Family Research Council in Washington.
Floyd has forty-three 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. He began leading Cross Church in 1986 when the congregation was known as First Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas, and expanded the ministry to include campuses in Pinnacle Hills, Rogers, and Fayetteville as well as a campus in Neosho, Missouri. Weekly Sunday attendance encompasses more than nine thousand people in eleven worship services across the various Cross Church campuses, according to the SBC Annual Church Profile.
Floyd is the author of more than twenty books and host and lead speaker of The Summit businesspersons’ luncheon of northwest Arkansas, equipping more than four hundred business leaders each week.
He was president of the SBC from 2014–2016, chaired the SBC Great Commission Task Force from 2009–2010, and chaired the SBC Executive Committee from 1995–1997.
Diana Chandler is general assignment writer/editor for Baptist Press and is a member of First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. This article was previously published in Baptist Press.