Archive for the 'Great Commission/Evangelism' Category

The Cooperative Program and Future Baptists

CP-blog-1024x605

Financing the work of God that we do together as Southern Baptists should never be minimized. The 51,000 plus churches and congregations that comprise the Southern Baptist Convention choose voluntarily to fund the work of Southern Baptists. Amounts and percentages are not mandated or demanded, but determined within each local church, as it should be.

Last week, when I read Dr. Jason K. Allen’s article entitled Celebrating and Strengthening the Cooperative Program, it was a tremendous reminder of many things. I commend Dr. Allen’s honest and transparent approach. As an employee of one of our Southern Baptist seminaries, he did not speak the company line, but promoted the heart of the Cooperative Program by furthering the centrality of the local church and each church’s voluntary support of our work together.

When the Church Loses Centrality

When churches lose their centrality in Baptist life at any level – association, state, or national convention, it is then that the support of the Cooperative Program stands to lose the most. An association, state convention and the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention must operate with the highest integrity and with the deepest of passion to serve the needs of the churches in carrying out their mission to reach their region, state, nation, and world for Christ. When this happens, churches will joyfully give both voluntarily and sacrificially.

I have championed the Cooperative Program for many years, but especially since I chaired the Great Commission Resurgence task force in 2009-2010, and during my recent service as President of the Southern Baptist Convention. For those who were engaged with us over those two years, you know I believe in the Cooperative Program and spent much of my time and effort toward this grand effort.

Yet, it is never something I have supported blindly, and never will.  When churches are not being heard or being assisted by denominational entities, conventions, or associations, churches will consider other ways to further the gospel. Dr. Allen superbly stated in his article,

“If a church is evaluating or trimming their CP support, let’s not cajole, pressure, or shame them. That is not a winning strategy. My assessment is not a pragmatic or political calculation. It is a biblical and theological one. Christ promised to build his church, not our denomination. Let’s clean up our vocabulary, and use words like “please” and “thank you,” and     shelve words like “should” and “must.” The Southern Baptist Convention agencies, and our state convention partners, serve the churches, not the other way around. As we serve them, they will support us.”

These words represent my heart and what I have both believed and trumpeted for years. Giving the resources God has entrusted to each church is a privilege and a responsibility. Receiving and expending these resources entrusted to denominational entities, conventions, and associations is equally a privilege and responsibility. This is not our money, our church’s money, or our convention’s money; it is all God’s money.

The Past, the Present, and the Future

The conservative resurgence began when I was in seminary. During the early years as a local church pastor, only a few of the conservative resurgence leaders were champions of the Cooperative Program. Therefore, many of us grew up with a limited to non-existent mentorship in the Cooperative Program. This was unfortunate and not to the benefit of our work together. Yet, in everything there is a season.

Over the last two to three years, we have seen the Cooperative Program turn toward growth and a future when most said it was impossible.

But also in this present reality, we are reminded of the central place of our churches in denominational life and the services extended to the churches from our denomination. It is the church that is anointed to take the gospel to the world, not a denomination. Therefore, as churches, whenever it is possible, we must cooperate with one another. To our denominational bodies of service, listen to the churches, help the churches, and represent the churches.

Relating to the future, I cannot determine what other churches do. Whatever a church’s decision, I will pray for and encourage them. I also cannot determine what a denominational entity does or does not do.

What I can do is work with my church to determine what we will do in the future. Prayerfully, we will always be given more reasons to give, rather than reasons to make us question why we should continue to give. Additionally, I am deeply committed as long it is possible for us, to mentor other churches and pastors in a growing commitment to take the gospel to the world through our financial support through the Cooperative Program.

Future Baptists will determine the future of the Cooperative Program. Pastors in their twenties, thirties, and forties will determine what the next generation will do in funding the work of God as Southern Baptists. Pastors, what are you doing now? My only charge to you is this: Your influence will never be greater than the life you and your church live together in modeling a strong commitment through the Cooperative Program. Not only in Cooperative Program giving, but also in modeling to others evangelizing the lost, reaching your community for Christ, planting gospel churches in North America, and mobilizing people to reach the nations for Jesus Christ.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church

*******

Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, 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 gaylao@crosschurch.com.

Visit our website at http://ronniefloyd.com
Follow Dr. Floyd on Twitter and Instagram @ronniefloyd

People Change the World

We believe people change the world. At Cross Church, we value this reality deeply.

Through the years, our fellowship has made sacrifices to forward this belief in our church. For us, it is a non-negotiable that we share passionately and clearly. We value that people change the world so much, we would call it one of our “team colors” of Cross Church.

Sending God-Called Leaders to Change the World

I do not know who said it first, because I have heard it said by many for decades: What is important in your church is not your seating capacity, but your sending capacity. While living and leading in a special region of the country known as Northwest Arkansas, our church has learned the value of sending leaders out from our church to change the world.

I want to focus on the power and influence of sending out God-called leaders from our church to change the world. We see this in Acts 13:2-3 when the church at Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas. Unquestionably, their influence upon the world in the first century was beyond description, but even to this day, their influence is God-sized.

How is This Possible Here?

For many years, the DNA of our church has included sending out God-called leaders to change the world. Many have come to Christ through this ministry, were called by God into ministry, and sent from here around the world. Others God calls here for a season, not only to help and minister with us, but to be further equipped in leadership and ministry, then sent from here to change the world. Through the years, some have come here injured emotionally from the challenges of ministry, given a safe place to be refreshed and healed, and in God’s timing, sent out to change the world. Another example began four years ago, when we began the Cross Church School of Ministry to place structure and systems to support what God has done through Cross Church for many years. This one-year residential ministry experience prepares leaders for life, ministry, and gospel advancement globally. Yes, we believe people change the world.

4 Unique Illustrations Within the Last Year

Within the last year, we have experienced a unique season, with at least four men from our staff becoming Lead Pastors of dynamic ministries.

Noe Garcia: Lead Pastor, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, Arizona. Noe was called here to lead our collegiate ministry. God came down in power and might, using Noe greatly. Many Wednesday night worship services, Noe would preach to 700-1,000 college students. This resulted in him being known nationally as a powerful proclaimer of God’s Word and gifted evangelist. Even though Noe had never served as a pastor, God called him miraculously to the historic North Phoenix Baptist Church.

Dr. Ronnie Parrott: Lead Pastor, Christ Community Church, Huntersville, North Carolina. God used Ronnie to assist Dr. Nick Floyd in launching our campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This ministry exploded in growth and influence. After serving there with Nick for several years, we asked Ronnie to walk alongside of me when I was elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention, assisting me in many ways. While Ronnie has never served as a Lead Pastor previously, God began to intervene last summer, moving in Ronnie’s heart to answer the call to be the Lead Pastor of this North Carolina church that has a huge opportunity in the greater Charlotte area.

Julio Arriola: Church Planter, Guadalajara, Mexico. When Julio joined our team almost six years ago, he had just interviewed with the International Mission Board about answering the call to missions. While his heart was set there, God intervened and called him here. This new citizen of the United States became not just our Global Worship Pastor, but the first Mexican-American elected as Music Director for both the 2015 and 2016 Southern Baptist Conventions. Over a year ago, Julio told me God was calling him to Mexico to plant a church in his home city that has millions in population, the city of Guadalajara. From interpreting for me while in the Dominican Republic together and watching him lead, I knew he could preach the gospel. Even though he has never served as Lead Pastor, he left a fabulous opportunity here to proclaim the gospel and become a Lead Pastor and Church Planter.

Dr. Jeff Crawford: Senior Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee. This past Sunday, Jeff answered God’s calling to this church as Senior Pastor. While serving with us for thirteen total years, for the past four years, Jeff has served as the first President of our Cross Church School of Ministry and Teaching Pastor. Jeff is a great preacher and God will use him in this very strategic church, not only in Knoxville, but throughout all of Tennessee.

I love these men and their families. They are family not only to Cross Church, but to Jeana and me.

Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider, always meets our needs. He sent us Brian Mills, one of the greatest Student Pastors and leaders in America, to lead our collegiate ministry when God led Noe away. God called Brad Noblitt here, one of the most dynamic and gifted worship leaders, to lead our Worship Ministry at Pinnacle Hills and fill the campus position where Julio was called to lead six years ago. Due to Ronnie’s position being unique in his last two years with us, we have not called anyone to fill his slot at this time. Now, the search will be on to fill the fantastic opportunity to be President of our Cross Church School of Ministry. As always, God will provide.

Closing Challenge

If you are a pastor or a member in a local church, begin to reimagine your future as a church: The influence of your church is not determined only by how many you gather for worship and ministry, but also by who you are sending out to change the world.

At Cross Church, we believe people change the world.

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, and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email gaylao@crosschurch.com.

Visit our website at http://ronniefloyd.com
Follow Dr. Floyd on Twitter and Instagram @ronniefloyd