Open Letter from Ronnie Floyd

Note: You will find below an email letter sent out by Dr. Ronnie Floyd, chairman of the GCR Task Force. It expresses so well his heart, mine, and all the members of the Task Force. Let me encourage you to: 1)read it and 2)pray for our work in the days ahead. We truly have an awesome, indeed an impossible, assignment that will only be accomplished through the prayers of God’s people who intercede for us with our heavenly Father. As never before, we need to find the mind and the heart of our God as Southern Baptists move ahead. May we be found faithful do what we do for the glory of God and the good of the nations.

Dear GCR Prayer Partners:

Since the last time I communicated with you, there have been so many things happen in Southern Baptist life. Your Great Commission Resurgence Task Force has been focused on our assignment and working diligently. During this same period of time, we have been as surprised as you to learn that both of our mission boards and our Executive Committee will be searching for new leaders. With you, we trust in our Sovereign God to do His will among us.

As Chairman of the GCR Task Force, I want to clarify to everyone what I know we are not charged to do by our convention. We are not in the personnel business, but in the Great Commission business. Each of these three entities that have the need for new leaders will choose their own leaders. Their trustees have selected their own search committees, and we have confidence that God can work through this system to place the right people at the right time to provide leadership for the future. While it is not our role to select leadership, it is our role to pray for each of these entities and their need for future leadership and I have been faithful to do that daily. I hope you will join me in this privilege of interceding for them.

Please do not let these sudden vacancies take us off point on our urgent assignment of providing leadership to our convention that will move us towards this Great Commission Resurgence we are all praying for and desire. Our task force takes seriously the overwhelming charge extended to us at the 2009 convention that Southern Baptists want to move towards a new, higher, and greater commitment to the Great Commission. As we work towards creating this Great Commission vision and paradigm for the future, we are cognizant of our assignment and embrace it with prayer, faith, and courage.

While search committees have the immense task of selecting leaders for their respective entities, any leader will serve for only a limited number of years, or if you may, one generation. Our assignment on the GCR Task Force may result in affecting not only one generation, but many in the future. I appeal to you in Jesus’ name to come alongside us now as we labor together in this significant assignment. We are in great need of your most fervent intercession for us daily.

Over these next few days, I am asking you to pray for a very important meeting that will take place in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday, October 27. I have requested that each State Executive from our 42 state conventions meet with us. Due to matters of scheduling and some who have annual conventions at this same time, we are very grateful that 22 of our state convention executive leaders will be able to meet with us. I have asked their Chairman, Bill Mackey of Kentucky, to lead their group in a presentation to us about what is on their heart about the Great Commission. Following their presentation, we will dialogue with one another about the Great Commission related to the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. This pivotal meeting may be unprecedented in at least recent history and needs our highest support in prayer and hopefully even a day of fasting. It is my prayer that we can all go together towards a bold, visionary Great Commission future. The need is urgent and calls us to act together now.

Finally, we are listening, learning, and committed to leading our convention towards experiencing this Great Commission Resurgence. We do not have all the answers. As Chairman, I am in desperate need of God and His leadership. There are days I am overwhelmed with this task and feel it upon my life heavily. Our task force is agonizing not only over our desperate need, but also about what we must do to move together towards seeing every person in America and the world afforded the privilege of hearing the Gospel and coming to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, prayer partners, pray for our upcoming meeting. Pray for your GCR Task Force to have clarity, direction, power, and courage from our Lord and His Spirit. Thank you for standing with us in prayer. As you pray for us and watch for the outcome of our work, join with us in anticipation about what our God will do among us. Continue to share the need for prayer with others, encouraging them to enlist as a prayer partner on www.pray4gcr.com.

1,000 Thank Yous for Praying,

Ronnie W. Floyd
Chairman, Great Commission Resurgence Task Force
of the Southern Baptist Convention

Myth #4: The goal of the Great Commission Task Force is to dismantle if not destroy the Cooperative Program as we know it today.

Recently a Baptist Press article lamented that, “Some leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention tell us that the CP is dead or is no longer effective or efficient, or needs to be redefined. Simply stated, these leaders tell us the CP doesn’t work; it’s a relic of the past; it’s the old way; it’s a program, and programs are an anathema; and that CP is all about old denominational loyalty.” Then just a few days ago, I was told that the word was being spread in one of our state convention buildings that I, personally, was “trashing the CP.” Each of these is a sad example of straw men, hyperbole and outright misrepresentation as applied to the GCRTF. Here are the facts.

First, I affirmed the CP and countered this myth just last week when I spoke on the future of the SBC at Union University. If you like you can access the address at http://apps.sebts.edu/president/?p=1471. Further, you will look in vain to find any place where I have trashed the CP. I thank God for the CP. It helped put me through seminary and has paid a significant portion of my salary since 1992. Without it, Southern Baptists could not receive an outstanding theological education at the very best cost in the world. Without it we could not send missionaries around the world. Thank you Southern Baptists for giving through the CP.

Second, the GCRTF believes the CP is alive and well. We believe it is effective and that it is working. We believe it has a wonderful past and pray it has an even more wonderful future.

Third, does the GCRTF believe we should carefully examine and study the CP in light of the assignment given to us by the Convention in June? Yes we do. Do we believe we should see if there are ways to improve and make even more efficient the CP? Absolutely! To not do this would be irresponsible as a TF. So, have we had healthy and honest conversations about the CP? Yes.

Have we studied and analyzed a lot of data as it relates to the giving of local churches, giving through state conventions, and giving to national agencies and entities? Yes. Are we concerned about the decreasing giving patterns of our churches? Yes. Do we believe we need to find a way to cast a compelling vision that will encourage and move our churches to give more? Yes. In particular, are we asking God to help us find a way to get more resources to the nations and our nation where the gospel witness is weak or non-existent? Yes.

The CP is a good giving mechanism that allows Southern Baptists to work together. It is a good giving mechanism that allows us to do more together than we could ever do alone. It is a servant not a master. It is to be a tool and not a tyrant. It should be used to bring us together, not divide us. Pray that our Lord will guide us to find ways to make the CP even more useful for the advancement of His Kingdom as we move ahead for the glory of King Jesus.

Myth #3: The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force is attempting to influence and even control the search committee process at the Executive Committee, the IMB and NAMB.

Conspiracy theories are usually entertaining. And, they often contain a modicum of truth, but not much more. I believe this is the case with this myth as well. The GCRTF has watched, as have most Southern Baptists, with great interest the events that have unfolded in recent months (and days!) at NAMB, IMB and the Executive Committee. It would be dishonest to say we did not anticipate or see some of these things coming (others were a shock), but still we were surprised by their suddenness and proximity in time to one another. Since these decisions were made I, and I strongly suspect all GCRTF members, have been praying for these 3 agencies and their future leadership.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, chairman of the GCRTF said as much on behalf of the GCRTF, but amazingly some have misread or misunderstood his words as implying that we would like to influence and even direct the decision-making of some or all of the search committees. To jump to such a conclusion based upon Dr. Floyd’s statement that the presidential search committees watch and pray for the work of the GCR is unfounded and irresponsible.

We, and again I believe I can speak for the whole Task Force, will not be calling any of the search committees asking for a meeting. We will not be writing, emailing, texting or tweeting trying to interfere with or do their job. We will pray for them and if they want to take the initiative to meet with some or all of us for whatever reason, I am sure we would do our best to serve them and try to comply with their request. However if they do not do this, then there will be no meetings. It is as simple as that. I can assure you I will be calling no one asking for a meeting! I may or may not make a recommendation. I don’t know right now.

Personally, I have no idea where these searches will go. Actually it is too soon for them to have gone very far at all. As I write this NAMB has just named a search committee (being patient and taking their time was wise in my judgment in light of recent turmoil). I learned that Ted Traylor, a GCRTF member, would chair the search committee when I read it in Baptist Press. The fact is I have had zero influence and input on any of the search committees and their makeup. I strongly suspect that is true for the rest of the GCRTF as well.

So, who will these three search committees call to fill these three crucial and critical leadership positions? Believe it or not I know the answer! They will call who they, as a particular search committee at a particular moment in time, believe to be God’s man to lead their agency for the future. Of course they will receive resumes, talk to references, have formal and informal conversations, but when all is said and done, they will do what they think best before the Lord regardless of what anyone else thinks. As has been the case in the past, their decision(s) may be a complete surprise to many of us. We may find ourselves saying “Wow! I didn’t see that coming!” That’s o.k. I can live with that. The fact is I have too. Interested and inquiring Southern Baptists minds would do well to do the same. Pray for them and entrust them to our Lord. Isn’t that where we should want them to be?