Congratulations to Ronnie Floyd on being elected our day-to-day, SBC leader. And congratulations on having a job that has exactly zero power over the 47,000 SBC churches and their often unruly clergy and members.
SBC Voices has a leader, Dave Miller (who has a nice article from two days ago about RF) and several others, moi included, who make up a loosely connected team. I think it would be fair to say that I was more positive and optimistic about the SBC’s worst kept secret that the rest.
May I offer a few suggestions about what we should and shouldn’t do as Southern Baptist in regard to our new EC CEO?
We should pray for him. What’s so hard about that?
We should expect him to hit the ground running. There’s too much that needs immediate attention to offer any honeymoon on this one. He’s had about 18 hours to enjoy his election as Executive Committee leader and the effusive recommendations of all the SBC movers and shakers. That’s long enough.
We should expect him to get to some degree of resolution on the sex abuse scandals, and this prior to the convention in June. As I write, there are barely 69 days to the convention. The clock is ticking.
We should expect him to promote the Cooperative Program, and that tirelessly.
We should be open as SBC pastors and laypeople to some new ideas. God and all of us know that we have recycled tired ideas and concepts until they are threadbare.
We should not tolerate any actions that lead to the belief that the Executive Committee leader is a kingmaker in SBC life. Frank Page cultivated the informal title of “Chief Encouragement Officer” for the SBC. I’d guess that Ronnie Floyd will cultivate something different. It’s a different day.
We should expect his full attention. I never understood how David Platt and Frank Page thought that they could be leaders of our largest and most important entities and accept interim pastorates. Surely, this is off the table for Ronnie Floyd.
We should shoulder some of the burden. Hey brother pastor! You want the Cooperative Program to do better? Then you lead your church to do better. It generally will not happen if you aren’t leading it in your church.
We should expect him to do some bullying. All the entites are independent and have their own trustee boards and governance but they are required to file reports to the Executive Committee. Ronnie, we hacker and plodder SBCers shouldn’t have to dig into the footnotes of the entity annual reports to find things that raise questions. You should cajole, harass, aggravate, and bully entity CEOs to publicly and openly address things like the IMB selling off property to pay their bills, NAMB’s past questionable record keeping, SWBTS’s financial issues and others.
We should expect him to lead with more openness and transparency than has been the case. The GCRTF, a group led by our new CEO, have records that are sealed. The Executive Committee has a history of long executive sessions. Put a stop to this as much as possible, and a lot is possible.
We should not expect messianic results. It’s not his job to resurrect dead programs, declining statistics, and long term trends. I didn’t look to Porter Routh when I was called to ministry in 1978. I didn’t look to A. Harold Bennett when I took my first church. I didn’t see Morris Chapman as any kind of a mentor as I slogged thorough decades of pastoral ministry. And I didn’t check with Frank Page when I retired. It was decades before I even understood the SBC’s governance scheme. The EC CEO was just the guy who presided over one of the more boring times during the annual meeting. The job can help or hurt but isn’t the helm of the SBC, or the rudder.
Brethren and sistren, cheerleading and backslapping is one of our favorite things to do but it’s not a plan for the future. I’m not interested in many things beyond our venerable convention. Perhaps we could work together for a better future, to God’s glory, not ours.