Archive for the 'Giving/Stewardship' Category
After serving as President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2014-2016 and presiding over the 2015 and 2016 Annual Conventions, this year’s convention was an interesting journey for me personally. With the peace of God and the confident assurance in His timing, I enjoyed praying and participating as a messenger again.
I participated in the entire meeting, and my reflections are from my observations, where my own indelible memories from previous years cannot help but shape my perspective. Here are five personal reflections on the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention.
Reflection #1: Evangelism Awaits Becoming The Priority In Our Churches Again
Dr. Steve Gaines, our president, shared with conviction the great need for evangelism to become the priority of our churches again. While baptisms continue to decline deplorably, at least it is being talked about again. Thank you, President Gaines, for making this the needed priority again.
In my own 2016 Presidential Address in St. Louis, The Stakes Are High, one of the main points of my message was, “Now is the time for Southern Baptists to evangelize.” In fact, as I called upon us to prioritize evangelism again, I stated: “While theological debate is ascending and is applauded loudly in our convention, evangelistic fervor and fire is being extinguished and the masses are silent about it.” Yes, it is time for us to evangelize. Furthermore, I stated, “Our convention celebrates everything but the main thing and then we wonder what happened with the main thing… evangelism.”
Until evangelism becomes the priority of pastors, church leaders, and churches again, our baptisms will continue to decline. Thank God, evangelism matters in our Cross Church family and it is applauded in every way. We are on our way perhaps to one of our greatest years in baptisms and possibly the strongest yet. However, we will recommit ourselves, and yes, I have recommitted myself personally to intensifying my own witness for Jesus daily.
Reflection #2: Personal Stewardship Is Being Emphasized and Strategized
Thank God that personal stewardship is being emphasized and strategy is taking place. This is far overdue, and I applaud this action. Dr. Frank Page gave an excellent report on Tuesday afternoon, championing a new partnership with Dave Ramsey Solutions.
Dave Ramsey is the leading champion in helping families in areas of personal finance. Just recently, Dave Ramsey was a guest on my podcast, and you can listen here. Additionally, we put together an article of some lessons I’ve learned from Dave.
This is a brilliant stroke by our Executive Committee. Financing the work of Southern Baptists was one of my great burdens for our convention while I was President. In fact, in the same 2016 Presidential Address noted above, I talked about our great need of stewardship.
By the way, the Wednesday afternoon panel on stewardship I was privileged to participate in was strong. You can watch this panel here. It is something you could even show your church in certain settings.
Reflection #3: Southern Baptists Spoke Clearly and Powerfully Against All Alt-Right White Supremacy
Southern Baptists denounce all racism as anti-Christ and anti-Gospel. This has been our position and is our position today. I believe it will always be our position. We are clearly and powerfully against all Alt-Right White Supremacy.
While some were confused by our Resolution Committee’s challenge relating to bringing forward this resolution, it was not a matter of the heart, but of judgment and logistics. However, the Resolutions Committee and their chairman, Barrett Duke, with humility, offered apology, responding with a resolution all Southern Baptists could support. This Resolution #10 is powerful and you can read it here.
There were many references to resolutions and ways we have spoken to the entire race issue in the past. Yet, the Alt-Right White Supremacy issue needed to be addressed specifically. Southern Baptists have made a remarkable commitment over the past years. Both the 2015 and 2016 conventions prioritized sections of the annual meeting regarding racial unity, and addressed this great need clearly. We must and will continue forward in this area, and this resolution is proof.
Reflection #4: Celebrate The SBC Process
The past two years, we have seen messengers help the Resolutions Committee reach important decisions. Last year, it was related to the Confederate Flag. If the 2016 Resolutions Committee would have brought out a resolution calling for the confederate flag’s removal, it would have been very divisive and probably defeated. Yet, the humility of last year’s chairman, Stephen Rummage and his committee, permitted the messengers to help shape the resolution. It was done in a wholesome and right manner, all over a very difficult issue.
Again, this year, the messengers helped the 2017 Resolutions Committee achieve Resolution #10 in the right way and in the right tone. This process should be celebrated.
Yes, the SBC process can be slow, laborious, and at times, not friendly to growth. But, we need to celebrate the SBC process that was a true friend to our convention this year. The SBC messengers have been and are heard at the annual conventions.
Reflection #5: H.B. Charles’ Election As The 2018 Pastors’ Conference President Was Special
Pastor H.B. Charles of Jacksonville, Florida, was elected President of the 2018 Pastors’ Conference. I so rejoice over his election, a pastor and great preacher of God’s Word. His message in the final session of the convention was strong and wonderful.
Pastor Charles will be the first African American President of our Pastors’ Conference. This again, more than shows our great commitment to racial diversity in the future of our Southern Baptist Convention. As I stated in my 2016 Presidential Address last year, “It is with deep regret that I can do nothing about this stained past against our African American brothers and sisters; but with all I am and with all I can, I join you in creating a future together that binds up the nation’s wounds and always marches ahead knowing we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:24)
Electing Pastor Charles is another forward step toward our future in the Southern Baptist Convention. I cannot go forth without calling our attention to the humble spirit demonstrated by Pastor Brad Graves of First Baptist Church in Ada, Oklahoma. Pastor Graves, already a candidate for Pastors’ Conference President, stepped aside in humility and in honor of Pastor Charles within 24 hours of Pastor Charles being nominated. Pastor Graves did so because he too saw this as a major need in our convention and future; therefore, he put aside himself for the sake of the convention. This is refreshing and worth celebrating. Thank you, Pastor Graves and Pastor Charles, for both being great leaders and examples for all of us. We are thankful for each of you.
By the way, this past Saturday, Pastor Graves’ dad passed away. One day after withdrawing from the election, Brad led his dad to Jesus Christ after twenty-five years of witnessing to him. Thirty-seven days after giving his life to Christ, Pastor Graves’ dad went to heaven. Oh, we serve a great and gracious God. Please pray for Pastor Graves and his family during this time.
Now is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, Immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry, and host of the Ronnie Floyd on Life and Leadership Today podcast.
To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This year I decided to tread new waters and launch a new venture to develop leaders: a leadership podcast, featuring conversations with some of America’s top voices in faith, business, media and sports.
From Fox News’ chief religion correspondent, to Auburn’s football head coach and the former president and CEO of Walmart U.S., each episode features a guest with a unique perspective on life, faith and leadership.
Recently, I had the honor of talking with Dave Ramsey. When it comes to biblical financial wisdom, no one has had more reach or impact than Dave. Through his national radio broadcast, books, and financial management university, he helps thousands of people find financial peace and freedom every day.
Here are five lessons on life and money I learned talking with him.
1. Success is all about the size of your legacy, not the size of your stuff.
In a world obsessed with names, brands and money, it’s easy to confuse success with a pile of stuff. After all, what more tangible evidence can you ask for than the material stuff your hard-earned money can buy? Yet, according to Dave, true success is ultimately about leaving a legacy. It’s about that which will outlive you.
What kind of business are you leaving behind? Is it a business with a vision and mission to bless your employees and customers and glorify God with the excellence of your work?
What type of church has your leadership helped form? Does your congregation love each other and the Gospel of Jesus more than the day you first started pastoring?
And—most important—what kind of family have you raised? Are your children godly and involved in ministry? Have you cultivated a relationship of love and service with your spouse?
We should measure our success by the kind of legacy—and not the amount of stuff—we are leaving behind.
2. Communication about finances is a key to marital success.
You’d be surprised to learn that money problems in marriage are rarely ever about money itself. They are instead conflicts regarding value systems in the household. As Matthew 6:21 declares, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Finances force couples to communicate ultimately about their hearts’ desires. When couples understand this truth, they can see financial discussions as an opportunity to strengthen the marriage bond of trust and intimacy.
3. Use the Bible as a guide for financial direction.
When it comes to our daily financial decisions, there is no other book in the world packed with more wisdom than the Bible. The Bible mentions money and possessions 2,350 times, charting the path to good stewardship and financial success. Financial advisors and plans are extremely important—and you should always seek help when in financial trouble—but only in the Scriptures will you find the wisdom to wealth and leave a lasting legacy in a healthy, life-giving way.
4. The best way to escape debt is to get angry about it.
No one wanders out of debt. The only way to defeat debt is with passionate intentionality, determination and hard work. In other words: you have to get angry about debt, and concentrate your energies on eradicating every shred of it. Perhaps the most effective method of getting rid of debt is the “Debt Snowball” method. While you pay the monthly minimum on every debt, you attack the smallest loan with vengeance until it’s gone, and then move to the next and so forth. Each win—no matter how small it may seem—will uplift your spirit and move you closer to financial freedom.
5. Financial success is marked by budgeting and high-quality relationships
As obvious as it might sound, the best way to avoid debt is to avoid overspending. Determine a budget at the beginning of each month and stick to it. Manage your money; don’t let money manage you. And always surround yourself with people who will encourage you towards financial success. Scripture says, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). If you want financial freedom—for yourself and your family—you have to walk out of the relational environments that lead to debt and financial compromise.
In the end, never forget that every “good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). Both in plenty and in want, trust God’s provision, imitating His kind generosity toward us.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church and the Immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Follow him on Twitter @ronniefloyd. Subscribe to Ronnie Floyd on Life and Leadership Today here.
This article was originally published on June 7, 2017 on ChristianPost.com