What a week it has been! Several members of your Cross Church ministry team joined me in attending the Pastors’ Conference and the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas. God moved mightily during the days of the Pastors’ Conference and the Annual Meeting. I left encouraged by the many issues and things that were discussed. God is moving among the churches of America — including Cross Church — and we are so blessed.
My Involvement at the SBC Annual Meeting
On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, I presented a motion to the convention about the issue of ministering to those dealing with mental health challenges. My motion requested that the Executive Committee and the entities of the SBC work in cooperation to assist local churches in finding ways to minister to those suffering from mental health issues.
I feel so strongly about this issue — so many people in our church, community, and region are coping with mental illness. Did you know that 58 million Americans and 450 million people globally suffer with the enormous challenges presented by mental illness? My motion appealed to the SBC to be passionately pro-active about this concern and to start dialoging about ways to minister to those dealing with mental illness in a positive, hopeful manner.
So what happened? The Committee on Order of Business determined to refer my motion to the Executive Committee and the 11 entities of the SBC for consideration. I was asked to speak to the Convention for three minutes about the subject of mental illness, which I did. The good news is that yesterday the SBC messengers overwhelmingly approved a resolution. The approved resolution urges Southern Baptists to “oppose all stigmatization and prejudice” and supports “the wise use of medical intervention for mental health concerns when appropriate.”
As always, God is in control. It is my prayer that entire SBC will stand for and reach out to those struggling with mental illness.
Baptism at the Crosses
On the evening of June 30, all four Cross Church campuses will gather together for our annual “Fireworks at the Crosses” at our Pinnacle Hills campus. During this time you have an opportunity to take part in Believers Baptism in the outdoor baptistry located at the base of our three crosses. Every year I have the pleasure of joyfully baptizing many of my Brothers and Sisters in Christ at this phenomenal event. If you have trusted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, but have not been baptized, the time is NOW to follow the Lord’s commandment and make your commitment public. Click here for more information.
Summer Activities for Children, Youth, and Students
This week our Springdale and Fayetteville campuses welcomed hundreds of children into their Vacation Bible Xtreme events. Thank you to our staff, summer interns, and army of volunteers that made these Gospel-centered events so special for our children. Parents can still register their children for the Cross Church Pinnacle Hills VBX, July 8-12, click here for registration.
Additionally our Middle School Camp started yesterday. Lets pray that each of our middle school students experience God in a special way while away at summer camp. Please note that Sunday is the last day to sign up for Student Camp, and Kidz Kamp is just around the corner. Summer camp details can be found here.
This Sunday, as a church family we will continue our mini-series on iNFLUENCE. Join us as we study the influence of Peter from Acts 10. I hope you are enjoying our walk through the Book of Acts, I know I enjoy the many powerful lessons and messages that the Book of Acts holds.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
On Tuesday morning, June 11, 2013, I presented a motion at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention about the issue of mental health challenges. From that point until late last night, I encountered people all over the convention center who stopped to thank me, many with tears in their eyes, for standing in the gap for those who struggle daily with mental illness. Additionally, emails, twitter messages, and text messages were expressed.
Why Were These People Passionate With Their Gratitude?
They were passionate and thankful because their lives have been interrupted by the challenge of mental illness. What was expressed?
*People losing children and fathers to suicide
*Pastors with depression
*Parents dealing with major issues with their children like bipolar disorder
*Parents with special needs children
Imagine…these are numerous people overwhelmed with gratitude for presenting compassion for the least of these.
What Did I Present To The Southern Baptist Convention?
I presented the following motion to the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2013 Order of Business Committee:
Mr. President and messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, since 58 million Americans and 450 million people globally suffer with the enormous challenge I bring before you today, as well as the world needing us to address this issue, I make the following motion, appealing passionately for us to be pro-active about this concern in a positive, hopeful manner; therefore, I make the following motion:
I move the messengers of the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, request that the Executive Committee and the Bylaw 14 entities of the Southern Baptist Convention, work in cooperation to assist our churches in the challenge of ministry to those suffering from mental health issues, and that each entity in their written Annual Ministry Report inform the messengers what they have done, are doing, and will do annually, to assist people in our churches and communities who suffer with mental health issues.
What Did The Southern Baptist Convention Determine To Do With It?
The Committee on Order of Business determined to refer it to the Executive Committee and the 11 entities of the Southern Baptist Convention; however, they did desire for me to speak to the motion. At our microphone, miscommunication through technologically prevented this from happening. I was ready, yet it could not occur before the motion was voted upon. This caused unintended confusion, resulting in a problem that had to be discussed by the committee, the parliamentarians, and myself.
They requested me to speak to the convention for three minutes about the subject of mental illness. Therefore, the President, Fred Luter, extended a privilege from the chair, to speak to the convention. Prayerfully, in all of our hearts, all of us desire that our entities will deal with this issue with the ultimate goal of assisting our churches in how to minister to people with mental illness challenges.
What Did I Say In This Three Minute Appeal To The Southern Baptist Convention About Mental Health Challenges?
I’ve decided to show you below what I stated so all will understand the significance of this issue. I hope it will help us to engage in serious conversations about ministry to those who are struggling with mental health challenges. Here is my three-minute appeal:
Mr. President and Messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, I wanted to appeal to you for your overwhelming support of this motion. Jesus called us to care for the suffering, “the least of these.”
We often overlook them. At times, their lives are so disrupted and severe they require intervention. These people and their families are often isolated, stigmatized, and rejected. They are referred to as “the mentally ill.”
Our churches and communities are filled with people who need us to minister to them and their families. 58 million Americans and 450 million people globally meet criteria for a mental disorder. These are often chronic conditions that must be managed, not cured. One million of these individuals around the world die as the result of suicide annually.
In recent years and days, we have seen mass shootings and disturbing events that have left us stunned. Even some of our well-known Southern Baptist families have lost loved ones due to mental health challenges. Southern Baptist Pastor Rick Warren tweeted recently: “Why is it…if any other organ in your body breaks you get sympathy, but if your brain breaks, you get secrecy and shame?”
The church must answer this question. We can no longer be silent about this issue and we must cease stigmatizing those with mental health challenges. Pastors, church leaders, and all of our churches must become equipped to care for the least of these.
When that horrific EF5 tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, our Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were on the scene immediately. Baptist Press reported a powerful testimony of a woman who was led to Christ by one of our chaplains. She stated, “I was going to take my life today. But now I know God cares for me and people care.”
When disasters occur, we do a phenomenal job as Southern Baptists in the middle of material and physical rubble.
Now it is time that we do as great of a job in our churches and our communities, demonstrating compassion in the emotional rubble that can be piled high in the people and their families who deal with mental health challenges. It is time NOW that the Southern Baptist Convention is on the FRONT LINES of the mental health challenges.
Therefore, I call upon the Southern Baptist Convention to rise up with compassion, letting America and the world know that we will be there to walk with them, minister to them, and encourage them in the mental health challenge that plagues their lives and traps their families from the needed love and support they long for from the body of Christ.
So friends, this is what has happened thus far. God is in control. We trust Him. Prayerfully even today, June 12, we will adopt a resolution on ministry to those with mental health challenges and the heart of God for them.
Where Does This All Go From Here?
The Board of Trustees and the President of the Executive Committee and the Presidents of our 11 entities will hopefully bring back the requests of this motion. Pray for them as they study and consider, realizing that we will not know ultimately what is done about our response to the mental health challenges until our 2014 Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.
The 46,000 plus churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond need assistance in how to deal with these challenges. From our smallest to our largest church, we all need help.
Yours For The Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd