Archive for May, 2015
There are years when we come together as Southern Baptists annually, having little to no expectation of what God may want to do among us. For the sake of a very lost America and an ever growing lost and dangerous world, let’s come together in Columbus believing God to work in us, among us, and through us.
Let’s Refuse Unbelief
I am reminded of the words recorded in Matthew 13:58, “And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.” I am convinced this is the reason we see a limited work of God in many churches in America. I assure you, in our own church, business as usual is Satan’s weapon to create unbelief.
This year in our convention gathering, let’s refuse unbelief! It is the opposite of faith, therefore, we should refuse it in every way. As pastors and church leaders, let us not be guilty of what we accuse our people of at times: coming together with little to no expectation of God doing anything among us.
As leaders coming to Columbus, Ohio, we do not need to sit, listen, evaluate, and critique. Let’s refuse this way of thinking and all attitudes and actions of unbelief.
Let’s Believe God
I love the words of our God exhorting us in Hebrews 11:6,“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Faith is believing God is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do. I choose faith and refuse unbelief!
I believe with all my heart that God desires to pour out His Spirit in our generation in a way we have never seen before. While the promise of this outpouring of the Spirit as prophesied in Joel 2 has been fulfilled at Pentecost partially, I believe before the Lord comes back, there will be a mighty outpouring of the Spirit that will ignite a significant harvest of the lost coming to Christ.
If we will come together in clear agreement, visible union and extraordinary prayer, we will be in a position for His Spirit to pour out upon us due to His great mercy and grace. Perhaps we need to let our children remind us of what we have taught them: Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing my God cannot do.
I choose to believe that our God is able. I choose to believe God for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Columbus.
It is time we come together in clear agreement, believing that our number one need in America is the next great move of God. Some desire political, social, or moral reform. Historically, when God moves in a way only He is able, He changes the hearts of people radically with the power of the gospel of Christ. When the hearts of millions are touched, we may see things occur that only our God can do.
It is time to come together in visible union for this next Great Awakening. We need to refuse attitudes and actions that divide us. We need to lock arms in faith, ignited by the Gospel, empowered by the Spirit, and motivated by our love for Jesus and for one another.
It is time to come together in extraordinary prayer for this next Great Awakening. We are doing this on Tuesday night, June 16, beginning formally at 6:45 p.m. (EST). The entire session, built on the Word of God, will lead people to call out to God extraordinarily. Eleven pastors from various ethnicities will help me lead this gathering. I cannot think of one thing that is more important than this opportunity. Please adjust all of your convention gatherings and social times to join us for this significant gathering of thousands of Southern Baptists.
The brilliant theologian Jonathan Edwards writes, “Be much in prayer and fasting, both in secret and with one another. It seems to me, it would become the circumstances of the present day, IF ministers in a neighborhood would often meet together, and spend days in fasting and fervent prayer among themselves… SO it is God’s will that the prayers of His saints shall be GREAT and PRINCIPAL MEANS of CARRYING ON THE DESIGNS OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM IN THE WORLD. When God has something to accomplish for His church, it is with His will that there should precede it the EXTRAORDINARY PRAYER of His people.” May it be so with us in Columbus, Ohio.
In chapters five and seven of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we learn that, “every tribe, and language and people and nation” will be represented in heaven. There will not be one ethnicity left out by our loving Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
We need to believe God together that He wants our churches to explode with making disciples of all ethnicities rather than implode with division. We need to believe God together that He wants to ignite our churches to plant gospel churches by the thousands nationally and internationally. We need to believe God together that He wants to mobilize His church to take the gospel to every people group in the world, regardless of their vocation. Presenting the gospel to every person in the world and making disciples of all the nations is the heart of God.
It is for this big vision that we must come together in unity. Anything short of this will lead us into the weeds of division. This is why we will pray on Tuesday night, calling out to God for the next Great Awakening and to reach the world for Christ. Then, we will come together on Wednesday morning, imparting a vision that will advance the gospel to the world. There is nothing our God cannot do!
Let’s believe God together now,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Can you remember leading or being on a team that was riddled with harmful conflict? Do examples of unresolved conflict on church committees come to mind?
Any time a group of people gathers as a team, the possibility of harmful conflict arises. Whenever a team decides on goals or strategies requiring discussion and decision-making, conflict is virtually inevitable, and harmful conflict very possible. Personality differences, personal preferences, political agendas and the like can create deep conflict. Conflict can stop the forward motion of a group instantly, if not destroy the effort completely.
Conflict Can Paralyze or Energize
I have served as a pastor for over 38 years; 28 of those years have been in the same church. I have faced conflict in every church, no matter the size. I can tell you: Conflict can paralyze you in leadership or it can energize you to complete the vision. I have experienced both. It has discouraged me greatly or moved me to a resolve to push through the moment, keeping my eyes on Christ and the vision He has put in my heart.
Conflict Calls Upon the Leader to Lead
Whenever conflict arises, the leader is the person who must recognize and respond. The leader must evaluate whether the conflict is beneficial (working through differing ideas on the way to a solution), or harmful (rooted in jealousy, personality, pettiness, etc.).
5 Ways a Leader Can Deal With Harmful Conflict
- Don’t ignore the conflict. Conflict doesn’t just dissolve away like sugar in coffee. Harmful conflict is like a plague–it spreads. It hurts everything it touches. Good leaders do not ignore harmful conflict.
- Don’t wait longer than necessary to gather all the facts. Leaders can gather facts without ignoring the problem, and waiting does not imply ignoring the problem. In fact, making sure all the facts are in mind will lead to a better resolution of the conflict than if the leader tries to fix things ill-informed.
- Don’t address the group to get at an individual. This is an easy trap to fall into. When made aware of two people in a group who are angry with each other, blasting the group isn’t the answer. If a person or more than one person are problematic in a group, the leader should take him, her, or them aside and address the issue directly. When the scattergun approach is used, it hurts the morale of the group members who aren’t guilty. It sometimes allows the conflict causing party or parties to ignore the reprimand since it’s easy to say, “That was meant for someone else.”
- Listen, question, and listen more. Writing in Bible Studies for Life, Paul Jimenez wisely notes, “Leading through listening leads to a godly resolution-and in so doing, we honor Christ.”1 Good listening can lead to good thinking, and to spiritual awareness. Never hesitate to ask clarifying questions when leading through conflict. Get clarity from all parties.
- Make clear communication the top priority. When putting a stop to harmful conflict, it is imperative that everyone involved hear and understand the same things. Wording is as important as the delivery (written, verbal, both). Though Paul wasn’t writing about conflict resolution when he talked about the trumpet making an uncertain sound, it is a good communication principle. Paul Jimenez suggests listen, affirm, and confront as a basic framework to communicate clearly.
Leaders, you need not fear conflict. With the power of God’s Spirit, you can lead through harmful conflict and continue to move your team forward to accomplish the goals God has for you.
Lead Through Conflict,
Ronnie W. Floyd