Originally posted June 10, 2014.
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Ronnie Floyd has his heart set on seeing Southern Baptists come together in "explicit agreement, visible union and extraordinary prayer" for the next Great Awakening of the United States of America.
As the newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the pastor of the multi-campus Cross Church in northwest Arkansas voiced his conviction in a news conference June 10 that the nation is overdue for "a great movement of the Lord."
A key focus for Floyd in the past year has been leading gatherings of pastors to pray for spiritual awakening. "I want to see revival come to the church of Jesus Christ," he said, "so that America would be awakened with a powerful God consciousness where great numbers come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior."
Floyd said he will speak to Southern Baptists each Monday through a weekly blog and recount his travels on Twitter and Instagram.
"Wherever I go I want to help tell the story of what God is doing across North America and the world," Floyd said. Through a Web-based relationship, he said he will call the entire denomination to pray for spiritual awakening. More than 100 years have passed since the country has had such an experience, he noted.
In addition to praying for thousands to come to faith in Jesus Christ, Floyd said he believes the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 will be "accelerated to completion in this generation."
"One of the things that literally placed me on a different trajectory of my life was the extreme lostness of the United States and the world," Floyd said, reflecting on the impact of chairing the SBC's Great Commission Resurgence Task Force from 2009-10.
Voicing his love for the Southern Baptist Convention, Floyd spoke of the 10,000 missionaries serving in North America and around the world who are "committed to discipleship, evangelism and planting Gospel churches." He cited the 16,000 ministers and missionaries being prepared in the six "conservative seminaries who are committed to biblical inerrancy," along with the 50,000 churches and missions in the convention, 1,100 Baptist associations, 42 state conventions and 12 entities all coming together for the single purpose of reaching the world for Jesus Christ.
"That's who we are -- and how can we not be excited?"
He commended the ministry of Southern Baptists as reflected in the compassion ministries of Baptist Global Response around the world and disaster relief units operated by state conventions in partnership with the North American Mission Board.
In younger Southern Baptists' participation at the annual meeting, Floyd said he sees "an excitement in that generation like I haven't seen in a long time and am grateful to God for it." He said he hopes to encourage the committee planning next year's SBC sessions in Columbus, Ohio, to make it "a little more fluid" across generations.
"We need to do everything we can to be able to hand off the great mantle of the Gospel through the work of the Southern Baptist Convention," he said.
Floyd praised plans to host annual meetings in areas beyond the South and already has begun planning for travel to new work areas. Floyd also affirmed the importance of state conventions in providing ministries that cannot be offered at the national level, citing children's homes and Baptist colleges and universities as examples.
"I'm not for duplication or triplication going on in Southern Baptist work," Floyd said, "but we need to understand what everybody brings as value to the team" in fulfilling the Great Commission. "We need to trust one another and talk to each other instead of about each other," he said.
Asked whether he foresees a time when Southern Baptists may have to exercise civil disobedience in the face of religious oppression, Floyd said only God knows. He recounted the historic commitment of Southern Baptists to religious liberty not only for themselves but for all people. Praising the "convictional kindness" of Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell D. Moore in speaking to difficult issues, Floyd said he will seek his help when asked to be that voice for Southern Baptists.
In a closing prayer, Floyd appealed to God to move His people to a deep repentance as they come together in agreement for the need of revival and spiritual awakening. Anticipating next year's meeting in Columbus, he cited Isaiah 64:1 in asking God to "open the heavens and come down."
Tammi Reed Ledbetter is news editor of the Southern Baptist Texan (www.texanonline.net), newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.