Monday, May 08, 2006

Johnny Hunt to Nominate Ronnie Floyd for SBC President

In a press release on the web site of First Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas, Johnny Hunt has announced his intention to nominate Ronnie Floyd, pastor of FBCS and The Church at Pinnacle Hills, to be the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention. So I guess we now can officially say that Johnny Hunt is not going to be a candidate.

I don't know a lot about Ronnie Floyd. I know that from a statistical standpoint his church is among the most successful in the SBC. I know that they are actively involved in a wide variety of ministries and missions works. I know that they are very innovative in the methods that they use to worship God and reach out to others. Other than that, I know little about him.

Before deciding whether or not I will vote for Dr. Floyd, I would like to get some answers to the following questions (I will be emailing these questions to him, and if he answers I will post his responses, provided that he gives his consent.):

  1. What is Dr. Floyd's vision for the SBC? What specific things would he try to accomplish as president? The SBC does not need someone who is content to appoint committees and preside over the annual meeting. Whether you agree or disagree with his approach, Bobby Welch has definitely cast a vision for the SBC. Subsequent presidents also need to cast a vision.
  2. What percentage of undesignated budget receipts does FBCS/The Church at Pinnacle Hills contribute to the Cooperative Program? Honesty requires me to admit that my own church's giving to CP is abysmal, but I have little real influence over our church's finances. I would presume that Dr. Floyd has a great deal of influence over the financial aspect of his church's ministry and that if he made CP giving a high priority his church would follow along. Since the SBC Executive Committee has issued a report encouraging that convention-wide leaders come from churches that give at least 10% to CP, and since CP is the official means of financially supporting SBC ministry and missions causes, then our president should set an example of generous CP giving. (And let me say that it was inappropriate for past presidents to give skimpy percentages to CP.)
  3. Has Dr. Floyd established a record of cooperating with people from all over the spectrum of doctrinal belief and practice that currently exists within the SBC? Perhaps the greatest issue facing the SBC today is the question of whether we are going to pursue true unity, which is based on agreement on doctrinal essentials while allowing for differing views on nonessentials, or if we are going to demand uniformity, which is based on agreement on both essentials and nonessentials. Our next president needs to be someone who is interested in cooperation within essential biblical parameters and seeks true unity.
  4. Does Dr. Floyd support cooperation with other Great Commission Christians in order to more effectively share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all peoples?
  5. Is Dr. Floyd willing to publicly repudiate the "good 'ol boy" system that influences who is allowed to serve on the national level? Is he willing to commit himself to placing on the committees appointed by the president qualified people who have NOT previously served on the national level or do NOT have any familial, personal, or church connections to others who have served/are serving on the national level? In a denomination with more than 40,000 churches and 7-10 million active members, there is no reason for our national leaders to keep coming from the same small pool of candidates.
Let me add that I believe there needs to be at least one other serious candidate for president. Even if I decide that Dr. Floyd is the best man for the job, I believe that the current trend of uncontested elections is not good for the SBC. The longer that the current "kingmaker" and "good 'ol boy" systems for choosing convention leadership exists, the greater the erosion of trust in our leaders among many rank and file SBCers, especially younger ones, will be. A more open process for choosing our leaders would go a long way toward restoring this trust.

(HT: Kevin Hash)

11 comments:

Hashman said...

thanks for the hat tip, I should have tipped my hat to tom ascol, cause he was the first i saw on the topic.

you forgot one question for Dr. Floyd, "Will be be nice to calvinist?"

I'll be at the Mission Board today and tomorrow, so I won't be blogging. Does that make me a good 'ol boy?

Tim Sweatman said...

Kevin,

I think your question would fall under #3 on my list. In my email I'm using specific examples, such as Calvinist-Arminian, continuationist-cessasionist, premillennial-postmillennial-amillennial-preterist, etc.

You would only be a "good 'ol boy" if you have previously served on a number of state committees, have immediate relatives on any state committees, or if your church has a disproportionately high number of people on state committees. Otherwise you're just a redneck. :^)

Hashman said...

Then I are a redneck

Kevin Bussey said...

I'll be interested in his answers. I enjoyed hearing him speak at the PK Stand in the Gap.

Paul Fries said...

The following concerning the giving of Ronnie Floyd's church can be found in today's Baptist Press. The numbers, in support of Southern Baptist causes, are abysmal. If the BP article is correct giving, from this church to the CP, is less than 1/2 of 1 percent.

BP May 8, 2006
Information for the most recent year from Southern Baptists’ Annual Church Profile survey, 2005, for the FBC Springdale lists 819 baptisms. The church gave $32,000 through the Cooperative Program and $189,000 to SBC causes distributed through the SBC allocation budget. According to ACP, the church had total undesignated receipts of $11,952,137 and total mission expenditures of $1,637,503, including $54,261 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $9,516 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Paul

Tim Sweatman said...

Paul,

Thanks for pointing out this article. I hadn't read it yet.

The CP percentage (0.27%) is pitiful even for a typical SBC president. Even counting the money given to the SBC allocation budget, the percentage for SBC work is only 1.85%. And for a church that large, the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong amounts are very low. The combined total for these two offerings is 28% of the average weekly offering, or 0.53% of annual undesignated receipts, if my math is correct. That would be the equivalent of a church with a $200,000 annual budget (a fairly large SBC church) giving a combined total of $1,077 to Lottie and Annie and $540 to CP ($3,700 if you include the amount for the SBC allocation budget). If the rest of the SBC followed this example, we wouldn't have to worry about the problems at the IMB because there wouldn't be an IMB.

I have no doubt that Ronnie Floyd's church is actively involved in missions. They are to be commended for that. I personally am in favor of churches supporting missions work through other channels in addition to SBC channels, but it just makes sense that the president of the convention should be someone who is a strong supporter of SBC missions causes. The total dollar amount may be large, but the percentage is abysmal. I would like to hear Ronnie Floyd explain why he is the man to lead the SBC when on a percentage basis his church barely gives any financial support to the SBC.

Tim Sweatman said...

Just for comparison, according to the 2004 Annual of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, statewide giving for CP was $22,660,228.98 (7.96% of undesignated receipts). Combined giving for Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong was $5,589,003 (1.96% of undesignated receipts).

If KBC churches followed the example of Ronnie Floyd's church, the amount for CP would have been only $768,728.36 (or if you use the percentage including his church's giving to the SBC allocation budget, $5,267,212.85), and the combined total for Lottie and Annie would have been $1,508,985. How would that have affected KBC and SBC ministries and missions work?

Conversely, if Ronnie Floyd's church gave the same percentages as the typical KBC church, their totals would have been $951,390 for CP and $234,261 combined for Lottie and Annie. Think of the additional impact this would have had on Arkansas Baptist Convention and SBC ministries and missions work. And there still would have been over $10 million left for the church's other ministries and missions projects.

Anonymous said...

http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/5915.article

Tim Sweatman said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for the link. I basically agree with the writer.

Tony K. said...

I looks like there is going to be some serious heat for whoever is nominated. The up/down side of bogging.

Tim Sweatman said...

Tony,

I think you're right that anyone who is nominated will face the heat of close scrutiny. I think that's a good thing as long as the discussion remains focused on issues and doesn't deteriorate into a series of personal attacks or unsubstantiated rumors. Obviously, I believe that the level of support that the potential president of the SBC gives to the Cooperative Program is a relevant issue, as are the other issues I raised in my questions. I intend to submit these questions to anyone who is announced as a candidate.