2014 SBC elections draw new leadership

by Barbara Denman, posted Thursday, June 12, 2014 (3 months ago)

BALTIMORE (BP) -- In a year when the Southern Baptist Convention focused on "Restoration & Revival Through Prayer," Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd, who has sought to encourage Southern Baptists to deepen their spiritual walk through books, Sunday School material and pastor prayer meetings, has been elected as the 2014 SBC president.

Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas for 27 years, topped fellow nominees Maryland pastor Dennis Manpoong Kim and Kentucky pastor Jared Moore to win the SBC post June 10 in Baltimore.

Floyd was nominated by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., and received 51 percent of the vote. Kim and Moore were placed in nomination, respectively, by Texas pastor Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington and Bennie Smith, a deacon at the Kentucky church where Moore is pastor.

Other SBC officers elected were:

-- Clint Pressley, pastor of the Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., elected as first vice president, nominated by Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla. Pressley is "willing and qualified" to serve, having held several SBC leadership positions, Traylor said.

-- Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Okla., elected second vice president. He was nominated by James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., who called Dilbeck a leader in Hispanic church planting and Great Commission giving.

-- John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, re-elected recording secretary, a role he has served in since 1997. He was nominated by Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

-- Jim Wells, strategic partners team leader, Missouri Baptist Convention, nominated by re-elected registration secretary, a role he has served in since 2002.

None of the other officers faced opposition.

The new SBC president succeeds New Orleans pastor Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, who became the first African American to lead the SBC when he was elected in 2012.

Mohler, in his nomination speech, said Floyd, 58, has "the Great Commission in his heart" and has been a leader "with peerless experience in the Southern Baptist Convention."

Mohler noted Floyd's service as president of the Pastors' Conference; chairman of the SBC Executive Committee; participation on the denomination's Program and Structure Committee; and, "most importantly," as chairman of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (2009-10), which set forth wide-ranging recommendations for expanding the SBC's missions outreach.

"He is a unifier and a denominational statesman. He knows the Southern Baptist Convention at every level, and he has served and led at every level," Mohler said.

While chairman of the task force, Floyd "bridged generations and institutional boundaries to forge a new commitment to reaching the world for Christ," Mohler said.

After his experience on the task force, Floyd steered his church to be one of the convention's leading contributors through the Cooperative Program, "even leading his church to give more to the Cooperative Program during a time of national recession, contributing more than $700,000 last year alone," Mohler said.

"We need a man of that commitment and leadership now as president of our beloved convention -- a man who models the message."

Floyd has been a key organizer of two pastor/leader prayer gatherings that each drew participants from nearly 30 states during the past year -- a Jan. 13-14 meeting in Atlanta attended by 400 pastors and leaders and a Sept. 30-Oct. 1 meeting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area attended by 175-plus pastors.

Floyd served as general editor for the updated version of Bible Studies for Life, the popular Bible study curriculum produced by LifeWay Christian Resources. Floyd also serves as lead pastor and strategist with the North American Mission Board for its Send North America church planting strategy. He is the author of 10 books, including "Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission" (2011) and "The Power of Prayer and Fasting" (2010).

As the pastor of Cross Church with campuses in Springdale, Rogers and Fayetteville, Floyd holds doctor of ministry and master of divinity degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and an undergraduate degree from Howard Payne University, also in Texas.

Floyd and his wife Jeana have been married 37 years and have two married sons and six grandchildren.

Eddie Bumpers, pastor of Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo., was elected to deliver the convention sermon during the 2015 SBC meeting in Columbus, Ohio. Michael Allen of Uptown Baptist Church in Chicago was elected alternate; and Julio Arriola was elected music director.


Barbara Denman is the Florida Baptist Convention's director of communications. Tim Ellsworth of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and Todd Deaton of Kentucky Baptists' Western Recorder contributed to this article. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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