Dr. Ronnie Floyd: Putting His Money Where His Mouth Is (by Tim Rogers)

This article originally appeared at Tim’s blog, “Southern Baptist in NC“.

It was 2006 and many were pushing for leadership to come from churches that had ten percent of their undesignated funds being given to the Cooperative Program (CP).  The Executive Committee (ExComm) was entertaining a motion to come before the convention by the State Executives that year calling for trustees of entities to be from churches that give 10% to the CP. A small group met in Memphis calling for public repentance and holding trustees accountable to the convention’s sacred trust. This call was more loudly voiced by one of their own making a mockery of the trustee system by publicly releasing private information from IMB trustee meetings. The trustee responded by arguing the information, while private, should not have been and he felt vindicated by making it public.

These three unrelated squalls in the months leading up to and coming together during the annual meeting created the perfect storm.  Dr. Johnny Hunt was the one rumored to be in the running for presidential nomination.  However, months before Dr. Hunt contacted Dr. Floyd and asked him to pray about his (Floyd) name going forth.  After many weeks of prayer and seeking wise counsel Dr. Floyd agreed and Dr. Hunt announced he was making the nomination.

When Dr. Hunt made that announcement the self-appointed journalists, known as bloggers, went into action.  Many complained that Dr. Floyd was hand chosen behind the scenes and they were tired of the President being chosen by a select few.

An ad hoc committee of State Convention Executive Directors was presenting nine recommendations concerning the CP.  The ninth recommendation called for a definition of the CP. (One amazing fact is recommendation #9 was not passed until 2007. It is this recommendation that calls for CP giving to be done through the state conventions. In 2008 Dr. Floyd was leading his church to give through the convention approved definition of the CP) With all of this talk about the upcoming CP recommendations someone looked at the Annual Church Profile (ACP) of Dr. Floyd and FBC Springdale (Cross Church). Dr. Floyd’s ACP revealed in 2005 of $11,900,000 in undesignated giving his church forwarded $34,000 to the CP.  In fairness to Dr. Floyd and FBC Springdale (Cross Church) they actually gave $222,000 to the CP that year.  The $34k was CP giving through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and nearly $200k was given directly to the ExComm. This type of giving was done by many churches and even continues to this day. But because Dr. Floyd did not give through “normal” channels it appeared he gave much less than he actually was forwarding to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).  It seemed that Dr. Floyd was doomed before his name was ever placed before the 2006 convention.

After Dr. Floyd was announced other candidates were placed before the convention. Dr. Frank Page was the go to person for those that were disgruntled with anything that was SBC.  Then we had another conservative candidate that was widely known among Southern Baptists announce he was going to allow his name to go forth.  Regardless of the reasons behind the movements of the convention that year it ended with a defeat of Dr. Ronnie Floyd.  I understand from Dr. Floyd that he was disappointed and discouraged about the misrepresentation of his church. Dr. Floyd viewed this personal disappointment as God’s will that it was not the season for him to be in an elected level of leadership for the SBC. Because he loved missions and uniting with others to fulfill the Great Commission Dr. Floyd stayed engaged and participated in the SBC as anyone else would do.  His prayer to God was just to be used by Him in any area God saw fit.

Some quiet years from Dr. Floyd followed and he encouraged Dr. Johnny Hunt to pray about allowing his name to go before the convention as President of the SBC. Dr. Hunt was elected after Dr. Frank Page’s term expired.  Dr. Hunt’s crowning legacy was bringing in the Great Commission Resurgence which called for our leaders to make a commitment to slimming down in order to increase CP giving and called on state conventions to move to a 50/50 split. Dr. Floyd was announced as the Chairman of that committee and delivered a report to the convention in Orlando, Florida that consisted of seven components. After the report was passed at the convention Dr. Floyd announced that he was going to reposition FBC Springdale to a more slim structure and direct more funds to the CP.

In 2011 Dr. Floyd led FBC Springdale to change her name to Cross Church. This change was implemented because the church began their third campus and needed to do it for the simplicity of communicating who they were. However, as early as 2008 Dr. Floyd was leading their church to increase their giving.  In 2008 they received $14,700,000 in undesignated funds and forwarded $324,000 through the 2007 defined CP giving.  Within three years Dr. Floyd led his church to move from giving $34,000 through the state to giving $324,000.  That is a huge increase.  But that is not all.  Dr. Floyd led the church that was giving $54,000 to Lottie Moon in 2005 to giving $107,000 in 2008.  This is a significant increase and certainly in just three short years one can see that Dr. Floyd was more committed to the SBC. This was not only in funding but also giving as the convention had voted concerning Recommendation #12 of the ExComm report in 2007.

From 2008 one can follow Dr. Floyd and see his heart for reaching all people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He has made a conscious decision to do this through the SBC.  Notice his latest 2012 ACP; it reveals from a budget of $15,900,000 he has led the church to forward $616,000 to the CP.  However, for this article I asked Dr. Floyd to forward to me the totals for 2013 from his state’s records. According to the Arkansas records, given to Dr. Floyd by their State Executive, Cross Church gave $716,826 through the state convention for CP causes.  That amount should place Cross Church in the Top 15 churches giving through the CP. All along Dr. Floyd has led Cross Church in placing major funds in church planting above the CP, Lottie Moon, and Annie Armstrong funding.  His church planting efforts are done through SEND North America.  In 2012 alone they mobilized 750 of their laypeople on missions endeavor around North America and the World.

As we return to the financial aspect of Cross Church.  In less than ten years Dr. Floyd has led his church to increase their CP giving from $34,000 to $716,826. When was the last time one has seen that kind of increase? According to their 2013 figures, for those who look at percentages, that means Dr. Floyd has led Cross Church to give 5% of their undesignated funds to CP.

It is clear that Dr. Floyd has placed his money where his mouth is.  He said he would increase his CP giving and he did.  Wow, did he ever!  Thank you Dr. Floyd for your leadership in giving along with your leadership in the prayer gatherings. I pray God will continue to use you in your endeavors as a leader in the SBC.  God has developed Dr. Floyd in leading people and it is evident that Dr. Floyd is not allowing that to be wasted.  His leadership is developed around uniting people and he is leading Cross Church in financing and finishing the task well.

 

Comments

  1. william thornton says

    Here’s how I would look at all this, Tim:

    1. A church that largely bypasses their state convention is not being cooperative in the sense that the Cooperative Program represents and was intended to represent. The CP is meaningless if state conventions are cut out of it. RF’s position in 2006 may have been appropriate as he and his church viewed their giving but it completely disqualified him for the SBC presidency. Nothing personal about that.

    2. I don’t think anyone could ask more movement towards cooperative giving and support of the CP than he and his church has made since then. A 4-5% CP giving by an SBC president is sufficient for me.

    3. The Executive Committee now receives more monies that are designated than that are CP gifts. We are factually and primarily a societal giving denomination.

    4. The CP though much diminished is a huge funding engine without which the SBC would be unrecognizable as it presently exists. This is why CP support should be exhibited by our elected officers, entity leaders, and trustees. It is right and proper to look at CP percentages for all of these.

    5. I also like his heavy support of SEND North America and the church planting in the SNA cities.

    Thanks for the info.

    • says

      William,

      I have been tied up all day doing wife duties and enjoying the time I was able to spend with her. Thus, I will try to interact with the comments.

      1. Nothing personal taken but let’s face it, the three squalls I pointed to led to a perfect storm. That storm opened the door, as you will remember, for Wiley Drake as well as Dr. Page being elected. The first elected based on nothing but a comical relief election speech and the second due to everyone being against the established group. If you will remember that was the first year we ever heard anyone that called himself/herself a Southern Baptist openly shout out against Dr. Jerry Vines. While his giving was not the “traditional” route he was still giving more to SBC causes and what everyone today still considers CP.

      2.) As I said it was 2007 the ExComm brought the motion to the floor that CP giving be classified as the gifts given through the state conventions. Dr. Floyd followed the conventions direction even after they rejected him.

      3. While I was not in favor of the GCR this is the one reason. We are moving to a societal method of giving and I believe that i the reason we see the CP gifts lagging behind what is expected.

      4. Agreed. However, for you it is 5% that you are agreeable with. I have friends that do not want to see anything less than 10%. We have a 2VP who claims 16%. We have one I know sitting on the nominations committee that is giving 24%. Thus, until the convention sets a percentage the debate of percentage giving is mute.

      5. I agree.

  2. Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

    I do not personally know Dr. Floyd but I have followed his ministry for several years and I have to say I have not been overly impressed with his faithfulness to the convention. I realize he leads a very influential church and has served in elite positions of leadership, but let’s look at the facts Tim has reported:

    He states early in his article, “Dr. Floyd’s ACP revealed in 2005 of $11,900,000 in undesignated giving his church forwarded $34,000 to the CP. In fairness to Dr. Floyd and FBC Springdale (Cross Church) they actually gave $222,000 to the CP that year. The $34k was CP giving through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and nearly $200k was given directly to the ExComm.”

    My grandfather used to tell me that you know a man’s loyalty by what he does, so what exactly does the church’s giving record under Dr. Floyd’s leadership reveal?

    To me it points out the following: 1) In 2005 he, and the leadership of the church must not have believed the Arkansas State Convention was to be trusted with the normal processing of their Cooperative Program gifts, or they did not support the ministry of the State Convention; 2) His bypassing the State Convention and giving Cooperative Program gifts directly to the Executive Committee of the SBC can also be viewed as an attempt to insure he is thought of and selected for preeminent positions of leadership; 3) The church’s total CP giving in 2005 was a paltry 1.8% of their undesignated receipts.

    Jesus that “… where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34) so I think anyone can see that Dr. Floyd’s heart was not in the Southern Baptist Convention in 2005, or for that matter in the Arkansas Baptist Convention.

    Later in the article Tim writes ”As we return to the financial aspect of Cross Church. In less than ten years Dr. Floyd has led his church to increase their CP giving from $34,000 to $716,826. …. that means Dr. Floyd has led Cross Church to give 5% of their undesignated funds to CP.”

    According to Tim’s own article Dr. Floyd’s church’s CP giving didn’t increase from $34,000 since the actual giving he purports was $222, 000. While the reported $716,000 is a 300+% increase in giving and notable it still only represents 4.5% of the reported undesignated receipts. If we subtract the 1.8% given in 2005 from the 4.5% for 2013 we have 2.7%. Now, if we divide 2.7% by 7 (representing the number of years from 2005 to 2013) we find that he led his church to increase its CP giving on average 0.38% per year.

    Tim states that Dr. Floyd’s election was doomed from the start because he didn’t give through the ‘normal’ channels and wrote: “I understand from Dr. Floyd that he was disappointed and discouraged about the misrepresentation of his church.”

    The ‘normal’ channel within the SBC is the Cooperative Program. Churches that depart from the ‘normal’ channel do so because they are not satisfied with the CP process and want to control with specificity where their CP dollars end up. That is like the church member who doesn’t like the pastor so he bypasses the church and gives his offerings to the local Association, State Convention or SBC entity. Tim goes on to say that Dr. Floyd was disappointed and discouraged after loosing the election. I can understand that. Anyone who campaigns for an office and looses would normally be disappointed but from what I remember and what I see again in print now he has no reason to believe his church’s giving was, or is now, misrepresented. The Cooperative Program giving falls way short and the increase in dollars is substantial the percentage of giving is laughable.

    I realize that many are infatuated by the total dollar amount of giving. I’m not and neither is the Lord. He pointed this out in Mark 12 when he pointed out the disparity of giving between those who gave out of the abundance and the widow who gave her all. We have churches in convention that give faithfully 20, even 30+% to the Cooperative Program.

    As one Southern Baptist I’m tired of seeing men presented and elected to serve in our highest office without regard to their giving record. To me that’s like a church calling a pastor who gives only 4.5% of his income to the church, or ordains a deacon who gives less than 2% but promises to increase his giving only 0.03% a year in the future. If a church wouldn’t call someone doing that should the Convention be asked to elect a president who is doing it? I think not.

    I applaud Dr. Floyd’s ministry with Cross Church but he lacks at least one credential I believe a leader of the Convention should have and that is a proven track record of financial support through the Cooperative Program equal to or in excess of what the Convention asks its affiliate churches to give. Is it too much to ask that those seeking the Presidency to be doing what they will be asking others to do?

    • says

      Dr. Tribble,

      I think anyone can see that Dr. Floyd’s heart was not in the Southern Baptist Convention in 2005, or for that matter in the Arkansas Baptist Convention. I disagree!! I would agree that his issue was with the Arkansas Baptist Convention but he was certainly a loyal person to the SBC. I believe if you contact him and ask you will find there were gifts going to the IMB, NAMB and seminaries. While this was not the way I was taught we as Southern Baptists are to direct our funds, you would be mistaken to say he was not loyal to the SBC.

      Your very own calculations of trying to negate Dr. Floyds % giving reveals your disdain for the man. I promise you, ask anyone you want on this board that knows me, I have not been a Ronnie Floyd cheerleader. But you must give credit where credit is due. Percentages mean the actual amounts. $717,000 is actual $$’s. We call it .46 If you round that up, as we would any percentage that comes to 5%.

      However, I will just allow William Thornton, another who has never been a Dr. Floyd cheerleader, to have the last word on this issue. A church that increases it’s CP percentage by. .38% per year is outstanding. Very few churches of any size have that record over the past few years. – See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/dr-ronnie-floyd-putting-his-money-where-his-mouth-is-by-tim-rogers/#comment-229215

      • Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

        Tim

        I have no disdain for Dr. Floyd.

        Your reference to .38% was a mistype which I corrected when Bill brought to my attention. It was actually 0.038%.

        Loyalty is shown in action. When a man wants to serve as president of the SBC should be leading his church to give more than 1.8%. Add to that 7 years to raise it 2.7% leaves a lot to be desired.

        You point out that they gave additional money to INB and NAMB but don’t give figures. This giving practice smacks of selective giving which we as pastors would not appreciate a leader in our church doing.

        I stand opposed to his election on principle. We disagree, but I hope we can disagree on the facts as presented rather than personalities.

          • Dave Miller says

            I think that is the issue here.

            I did not vote for Floyd the last time because I did not feel his CP commitment was worthy of election as president – based on the information I had.

            But the improvement in that giving is DRAMATIC. That demonstrates a commitment to CP causes that satisfies me (if anyone cares).

            I don’t know if I will vote for Ronnie Floyd, not knowing who will be available to vote for. But he is a candidate I COULD vote for now.

          • Tarheel says

            David,

            You’ve articulated my views on this issue well.

            Does anyone know of other candidates as of yet?

          • Dave Miller says

            You are always more intelligent when you simply follow my thinking. That’s how it works!

            I’ve heard rumors of other candidates, but nothing firm.

          • Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

            I have no problem answering your question.

            In the previous church I pastored for 8.5 years and during that time CP giving increased from 3% to 23% while support for the Association went from 1% to 7%. The first month I was pastor the CP giving went from 3% to 10% because I told them i could not pastor a church that was not giving to the CP waht they expected the church member to give to the Lord through the church.

            I started a church 19months ago and the CP giving stands at 16.5%. Sadly we had to close the church due to loosing our facilities and nothing else was avaliable in the community however, everyone but 1 is driving to the nearby community and involved in local churches.

            RF’s giving record is phenominal when we only look at the total dollars but the percentage of giving is dismal.

          • Dave Miller says

            Fact is that these standards are subjective. I agree that CP giving is important. He has reached a threshold that I am comfortable with. You are not. That’s Why We’ll Go
            To Baltimore.

  3. William Thornton says

    You show a lack of understanding of basic math. A church that increases it’s CP percentage by. .38% per year is outstanding. Very few churches of any size have that record over the past few years.

    If your threshold CP percentage is 10 or 20 or 30, nominate someone.

    Dollars still pay the bills, percentages don’t…but there must be a threshold percentage and I’m ok with 4-5% there.

    We would find agreement in that the 2006 RF would not be an acceptable candidate.

    • Dr. R. Richard Tribble, Jr. says

      My appoligies Bill, it should have been 0.038% per annuim.

      If you’re agreeable to someone giving 4.5% and serving as a leader that’s your decision but can we agree to disagree?

      • Tarheel says

        I personally prefer to see more like 10% from every church.

        One reason for that is that CP giving is often ALL (or subtantially all) the “missions” some churches give to missions. To me, 4.5% to CP is unacceptable in those cases.

        But that is clearly not the case with CrossChurch they are amazingly proactive in various forms of local, state, national, and worldwide direct missions. They’re very proud of SBC identity and consistently teach that to thier people.

        Does anyone know thier total GC giving amount?

  4. cb scott says

    This may be a first! I think it is. Yes I do!!

    This is the first time I have ever commented in the comment thread of a Baptist Blog without first reading the post.

    However this time, I must ask for help and assurance.

    Is this post written and posted here on SBC Voices by the tall, Baptist pastor from North Carolina who once jumped out of a plane with a malfunctioned parachute and fell 500 feet and lived to tell about it, named Tim Rogers? Or, have I come home from teaching a Constitutions and By-Laws class and found myself entering an alternative planet while stuck in a 1966 episode of a Rod Serling production of the Twilight Zone?

    Somebody help me! Where am I??

    • volfan007 says

      CB,

      You are in the Twilight Zone. lol.

      David

      PS. I always wondered what was wrong with Tim Rogers….I knew he wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t figure what was wrong with him. Now, I know. He fell on his head from an airplane.

          • cb scott says

            Tim Rogers,

            Thanks for clearing that up. I thought I had entered the Twilight Zone when I saw your name on the post. I thought, “Tim Rogers writing for Voices? It can’t be!”

            Later I read the post. It brought back a lot of memories. Can anyone say, “Wes Kenny”? :-)

          • volfan007 says

            CB,

            Wes has turned into an Amish Used Car Salesman in Texas. Have you seen a pic of him lately? ;)

            As far as Tim Rogers is concerned, it’s back to the old drawing board, to try to figure out what’s wrong with him.

            David

          • volfan007 says

            CB,

            Seriously, Wes is selling cars in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. He grew a beard that makes him look just like an Amish man. Get your wife to show you his pic on facebook.

            David

          • cb scott says

            Vol,

            She showed it to me just now. She also showed me you question to him about shoeing your mule. You FB people are too much for me. :-)

  5. Debbie Kaufman says

    I have never been prouder of anyone like I have the former trustee mentioned in this article. I say this 6 years later. Although the details in this article are understandably skewed, this trustee was one of the first people to buck up against a system that was wrong. And he caused some waves which should have been caused.

      • cb scott says

        Debbie,

        I wonder if you would “still believe in every word of the Memphis Declaration” if you knew who wrote it?

          • cb scott says

            BTW, Tarheel,

            Tim Rogers has been very gracious and left much of the story to its own history. He knows every iota of it, but he like many others have chosen to leave some of it behind and go forward.

            That particular time was a very unusual time and it was a time when personal bonds were made between many and it was a time when personal bonds were broken . . . . some even to this day. The IMB War left few “SBC activists” unaffected.

            In years to come, some Baptist historian will write the story of 2006 and compare it as a year of change in the SBC of a similar magnitude to that of 1979.

  6. Tarheel says

    I just read that declaration….

    Saw some familiar names.

    Why do I chuckle every time I see the name Wiley Drake, or he rises to speak at the conventions.

    People looking for a reason to come, might find seeing Wiley in action is reason enough! :-)

  7. Bart Barber says

    A candidate’s giving through the CP is one factor that we ought to consider. It is not the only factor. It is not the most important factor.

    Consider, for example, the following hypothetical: What if we were to elect as SBC President a guy who has led his church to give 50% of their undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program, but the pastor is a racist doofus (that’s the proper spelling…I looked it up). As a local pastor that guy perhaps brings money into the convention. As SBC president he brings his 50% into the coffers, but he then costs the convention my church’s 10% and a lot of other churches’ gifts as well, since they aren’t going to fund that sort of a convention.

    A candidate’s CP giving is a factor in his candidacy, in my opinion, solely by virtue of the way that it either encourages or discourages other churches with regard to their CP support. The effect that the candidate has on the CP giving of 42,000 churches is a lot more important than the effect that he has on his single church’s giving.

    Ronnie Floyd’s story of not having given much through the CP, having discovered its value, and then having dramatically increased his church’s CP giving is, in my opinion, just the sort of story that could inspire SBC churches to give more, not less, through the CP.