Archive for August, 2014

Baptist Global Response and the Iraq Crisis

RWFBlog_IraqCrisis from BGR

(Photo Credit: United Nations)

The eyes of the world are watching the crisis in Iraq. We know that 50,000 Iraqi Christians and Yazidi Kurds are still trapped on a mountaintop, where temperatures can reach 120 degrees. Simultaneously, tens of thousands of others are being forced from their homes across Iraq by ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), many of which are being killed by these barbaric extremists. Sadly, we now also know that the first American has been beheaded by these ruthless terrorists.

While the leaders of our nation strategize about this situation politically and militarily, I call upon them to stand strong for international religious freedom. Christians in Iraq are the targets of religious cleansing, suffering abuse, injustice, violence, and death. We cannot become paralyzed by the sight of this horrific injustice. When Dietrich Bonhoeffer saw the threat of Nazism he said, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”1 This is a time for action, especially by Christ-followers, both prayerfully and compassionately.

What is Baptist Global Response?

Baptist Global Response (BGR) is a global Southern Baptist Relief and Development organization. It is incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Baptist Global Response connects people in need with people who care. The “people in need” are those suffering from acute problems such as disasters, wars, epidemics, etc. as well as chronic ones including poverty, hunger, poor health, etc. The “people who care” are Southern Baptists who want to be involved in making a significant difference in the lives of needy people worldwide.2 You can learn more about Baptist Global Response at

Baptist Global Response can connect people and churches with this crisis in Iraq. In fact, they are doing that already. BGR provides a “word and deed” witness to God’s love and the hope we have in Jesus. As Southern Baptist people, leaders, and churches, we must rise up and send resources immediately to respond in this unprecedented moment in history, demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus Christ among the peoples of the world.

How severe is this humanitarian crisis in the Middle East?

The Middle East Crisis is a new phase in a larger crisis that has been intensifying over the past two years. The current crisis in Iraq is driving Christians and other non-Muslim minorities — as well as Muslims who won’t submit to Islamist rule — from their homes. About 1.5 million Iraqis have been forcibly displaced. This Iraq crisis compounds the Syrian refugee situation, in which more than 9 million people have been driven from their homes. Jihadists have ruthlessly martyred Christians who did not flee.

Many of these families are very much like our own. They owned businesses and took care of their families, but the violence has forced them to leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Right now, they are enduring excruciating summer heat, and in a few months they will be facing bitter winter conditions without adequate shelter. BGR has been working with Baptist churches in the Middle East, as well as other partners, to provide the basic needs of life: water, shelter, food, and sanitation. Southern Baptists’ Global Hunger Relief provides most of the resources used to lessen the suffering and save lives.

Where will Southern Baptists land in this historic moment?

Millions are in desperate need. The international community is not rising to save these lives, and in any case, no one but Christians can speak the love and hope of Christ into these souls. We are praying that God’s people will rise up by donating at — a crucial way to help. We also are praying God would reveal his love to these suffering souls and raise up messengers to bring His hope to them.

How can you personally and your church corporately respond immediately?

There are two things each Christ-follower and church can do immediately:

1. We must give and give now!

Personally, Jeana and I have already given and will continue. Cross Church has also made a special gift within the last few days, beyond all we are already doing through our Cooperative Program and our other SBC mission offerings.

Three reasons to give to BGR:

  • BGR’s humanitarian work pairs word with deed. Works of love go hand-in-hand with words of truth. That is not true of other relief organizations, even some Christian groups.
  • BGR undergirds the work of Southern Baptists worldwide and works in close accountability through overseas partners, many of whom are local Baptist churches.
  • Some organizations will keep as much as 70% of a donation for administrative overhead. BGR is able to send a far higher percentage (up to 100%, in the case of hunger donations) because they work with Baptist partners and others who cover the overseas operational costs.

Therefore, Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, and laypersons, it is time to rise up personally and in our churches to fund this gigantic need that is real and personal. Do it now by going to:

2. We must pray and pray now!

We need to pray and pray now! How can you and your church pray?

  • Pray for God’s miraculous protection and intervention for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ not only in Iraq, but across the world.
  • Pray for our leaders at Baptist Global Response as they navigate through this overwhelming and unprecedented global crisis.
  • Pray for our Southern Baptist people and churches to rise up and give a special gift at this time at

How serious is this?

Last week, I was on a global call with leaders of our Southern Baptist relief effort, who were there to meet refugees and ministry partners. As they briefed me on the severity of this crisis, I knew it was incumbent upon me to ask Southern Baptists to respond immediately to this humanitarian need.

Rise up and join me, as well as our church in responding compassionately, financially, and prayerfully.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd

1 Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010.
2 accessed on 8-22-2014


Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email
Visit our website at
Follow Dr. Floyd on Twitter and Instagram @ronniefloyd

Collegiate Students: Can We Reach, Baptize, and Disciple Them?

 College Student Header

There are an estimated 22 million college students in the United States. The ethnicities of the world dwell on our college campuses. Few places in America have greater life, potential, and strategic importance than a college campus.

Last April, I walked into our Fayetteville Campus on a Wednesday night and spoke to over 500 college students. It was not a special emphasis in which I was asked to attend, but a Wednesday night worship and Bible teaching venue led by our church. Students were reached for Christ that night, willingly responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When Jeana and I were in college, we were both impacted in our spiritual growth through what was called then, Baptist Student Union. In fact, Jeana served as a BSU Missionary for an entire summer. This is one reason that we have had a heart for reaching and ministering to college students.

80% of Our Churches Baptized Zero to One Person Age 18-29, Which Includes College Students

In our recent Baptism study conducted by pastors, we learned that of the 46,125 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, 80% baptized zero to one person age 18-29. This statistic includes college students. Just recently, I wrote about this deplorable reality relating to young adults. While most relate this to the millennial generation, it is seldom equated to the young adults on our collegiate campuses.

It is amazing to me how different people look at a collegiate campus. Most never think about the spiritual nature of campuses because they are usually caught up in the mascot of the university. At times, it seems the spiritual condition of a college campus gets a pass because of this or the ages of the students.

This I do not understand. I love the enthusiasm of college campuses, as well as the sports life. There is nothing like it at all. Yet, I cannot and will not ignore the spiritual condition of the students. Each student either has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or they do not. As Christ-followers and members of Jesus’ church, it is incumbent upon us to insure that each college student in the United States is presented the gospel of Jesus Christ.

College Students are one of the Most Lost and Unchurched People Groups in the United States

Within the last five years, I did a non-scientific study, finding how many college students attend church in our region weekly. Unsurprising to me, college students are not being reached by churches in great numbers. This is not only true in Northwest Arkansas, it is true in pretty well every region where a college campus exists. Much of this has to do with a lack of passion for evangelizing college students, but also due to churches not being an effective and attractive experience for this generation.

When we began our Fayetteville Campus, we intentionally located it five to seven minutes from the University of Arkansas. While we do not desire to have a church comprised of only college students, we do desire and do have a church that is intentionally reaching college students for Christ. We are reaching them, baptizing them, and discipling them in their faith. This past school year, 77 students came to Christ and 55 were baptized. As well, over 50 of our college students gave their complete summer to missions. By the way, we are also connecting them to the church. Yes, this people group can be penetrated by the gospel of Christ.

4 Suggestions to See More College Students Reached, Baptized, and Discipled

1. Churches must rise up and reach college students!

Many Christians believe that this is the role of various campus ministries rather than the church. I choose to believe Jesus has called and anointed His church to reach all people, including students. Therefore, every pastor and every Southern Baptist church needs to answer:

  • How many college students attend the college or colleges in our region?
  • What is our intentional strategy to reach, baptize, and disciple college students?

We must know the answer to these questions and get the job done.

2. Collegiate ministries must accelerate their intentionality to see students reached, baptized, and discipled for Christ.

After reaching students for Christ, one of the greatest things these collegiate ministries must do is to see them connected to a local church. Students need to be baptized and discipled in these churches. This is a partnership with the collegiate ministry and the church.

Through your gifts to the Southern Baptist Convention, we have an estimated 775+ ministry units through our Baptist Collegiate Ministries or collegiate church plants located around the nation. To my understanding, according to the most recent statistics, we have an estimated 85,000 students connected through these ministries, mostly in the south. To God’s glory, their impact is beyond this through their ministries. I am so thankful for these ministers and ministries. I humbly appeal to our campus leaders: please prioritize reaching, baptizing, and discipling these students, connecting them to churches effectively.

3. Collegiate ministries need to be connected to local churches.

While our Southern Baptist Collegiate Ministries are connected to our churches due to gifts given through the Cooperative Program and offerings,

I think the connection needs to become even more personal and direct relationally.

I pray that one day, each collegiate minister or missionary on a collegiate campus is connected to a local church directly much like what we saw in the Louisiana State BCM story shared at the Baltimore Convention this summer. A fresh look at partnership in this mission could enhance the work on the college campus as well as through the church. This is important not only for the students who will be reached and more effectively connected to the church if this happens, but it is also important for the church. Churches must be involved in this mission of reaching college students. If we do not connect them once reached, we may never connect them to our churches.

Additionally, I pray that our collegiate ministries will impart to college students a biblical understanding of the church, encouraging them to connect in membership and ministry during the years they are in college.

4. Southern Baptists, we must prioritize reaching college students.

As a denomination, we have to elevate the importance of reaching this unreached segment of our nation located on our college campuses. This is a vision beyond our nation itself, but reaching the multiple nations represented on each campus in the United States. In our vision of reaching the world for Christ, we cannot reach the world without reaching the collegiate campuses in our own nation. These are the future leaders that will one day influence the culture of our nation and the entire world. Therefore, our churches, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, associations, state conventions, and national entities must cooperate in order to increase our effectiveness in penetrating this collegiate population of 22 million people with the power of the gospel.

This is Why I Appeal to You to JOIN THE MOVEMENT

Southern Baptists, over this next year, we must move into a major season of extraordinary prayer for a major spiritual awakening. Lead now, enlist today, and spread the word to people across the world. If we want to reach these college campuses, we need the power of God upon us.

1,000 College Students will be at Our 2015 Southern Baptist Convention

It is only right that in Columbus, Ohio, the home of THE Ohio State University, which has over 50,000 college students, 1,000 Southern Baptist College Students will join us from across the nation for the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention. This is another reason I appeal to you to Join the Movement. The time is now for Southern Baptists to rise up like never before.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd


Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email
Visit our website at
Follow Dr. Floyd on Twitter and Instagram @ronniefloyd