ROGERS, Ark.–Underscoring the need for Southern Baptists to unify around prayer, Ronnie Floyd, chairman of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, welcomed more than 400 participants to an Aug. 26 luncheon where he and three other task force members delivered comments and fielded questions for more than two hours.
Floyd urged those gathered at the Church at Pinnacle Hills campus of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., where he is senior pastor, to pray not only for the 23 other members of the task force, but “that God will give us resurgence personally.”
Pointing to a website with over 3,200 signatures of people who have said they will pray, Floyd asked participants to help mobilize their churches to sign up at Pray4GCR.com and to be very “deliberate” about it.
Jim Richards, executive director for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, in the luncheon’s opening prayer, petitioned God to bring a “refocus and rejuvenation” to the Southern Baptist Convention.
Floyd asked for prayer for and noted the absence of Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a member of the task force. He said Akin was under a doctor’s care and would be undergoing colon surgery in the future.
Two other task force members joined Floyd in sharing their vision for a Great Commission Resurgence and listened to Southern Baptist pastors, directors of missions and laymen voice their questions and concerns.
Floyd, Johnny Hunt, SBC president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, near Atlanta; and R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky; spoke nearly an hour. Al Gilbert, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., who previously served five years with the International Mission Board, field questions during the Q&A.
Seeking the “true status” of the denomination, Floyd said the task force has exercised “due diligence” in seeking out information and needs to take an honest and close look at the SBC.
“We probably need to stop believing all that we read about ourselves and take an honest look, like every church needs to take an honest look, about who we really are,” Floyd said. “We can’t go where we need to go if we don’t really understand where we are,” Floyd said.
Acknowledging a decline in membership and baptisms in Southern Baptist churches in the United States, Floyd noted God is working internationally in “unbelievable” ways, but Southern Baptists are “losing ground with American culture every day.”
“We have more money than we’ve ever had, more resources than we’ve ever had, and we are doing less with it to reach the lost, unchurched people of America,” Floyd said.
Floyd said he would like to see a “return of this denomination to the primacy of the local church,” and “reestablish the centrality of the local church.” The headquarters of the denomination, Floyd said, is not in Nashville or in any state convention office, but in every pulpit?despite the church’s size.