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 www.gobgr.org

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 www.gobgr.org — 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: www.gobgr.org

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 www.gobgr.org

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 https://gobgr.org/about/faq accessed on 8-22-2014

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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 gaylao@crosschurch.com.
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This Week at Cross Church | 3 Circles Last Sunday, Preaching This Sunday, and New Series Begins September 7

3Circles-twaccThis past Sunday, I shared with you about 3 Circles. If you missed it, please take the time to watch it now. Let me share three important actions each of us can take in using 3 Circles:

  • Pray and use 3 Circles within the next few days; turn life conversations into conversations about Christ. You can do it!
  • If you have a smart phone, download the app:
  • If you can read, you can lead! Get copies of the 3 Circles booklet at the Information Desk on your campus and just read line by line. God can use you to lead others to Christ.

Then, give any testimony, from witnessing to winning others, by using the social media hashtag: #3Circles

Preaching This Sunday

I will be preaching this Sunday morning and look forward to sharing God’s Word with you. On each campus, our pastors will share what the Lord has placed upon their heart. Please be faithful on this Labor Day weekend. It is time to engage in church again regularly and consistently.

ChangeSeries-twaccNew Series Begins on September 7

Our new series that begins on September 7 is called, “CHANGE”. We believe God will use these weeks powerfully! As we celebrate a growing culture of life change, we believe God is leading us in this series.

During this series, we are choosing a biblical character that illustrates how God used challenges to bring change in their lives. Here are the message titles:

  • Change Through Calling
  • Change Through Problems
  • Change Through Understanding
  • Change Through Prayer
  • Change Through Failure
  • Change Through Obedience
  • Change Through Faith

I know this series will encourage you greatly.

JoinMovement-twacc1A few final words

Thank you, Cross Church, for all you are doing for the gospel. Please insure you JOIN THE MOVEMENT of prayer with us and thousands of Southern Baptists across the world.

Pray for me. September, October, and November will be a full schedule, filled with plentiful opportunities. God is moving. We are joining Him in what He is doing. I need your prayer support now more than ever before. I love you, Cross Church.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd

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