(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)
BALTIMORE, Md. – Southern Baptists elected Arkansas Pastor Ronnie Floyd on Tuesday to be the new president of the nation's largest Protestant denomination.
Floyd was elected by messengers during the Southern Baptist Convention's 2014 Annual Meeting, beating out SBC presidential nominees Dennis Manpoong Kim of Maryland and Jared Moore of Kentucky. Over 3,000 messengers voted and Floyd won on the first ballot, receiving 51.6 percent of the votes.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological seminary, had praised the Arkansas pastor, whom he nominated, as "dependable" and "faithful" and someone who will "lead all Southern Baptists and lead them well," during his nomination address to messengers prior to the voting.
Floyd's election is an apparent approval of his focus on church growth and international missions.
The Arkansas megachurch pastor told Baptist Press earlier that if elected SBC president, he plans to "call upon [the convention] to cry out to God in extraordinary prayer for the next great spiritual awakening in America." He also said he would do all he could to lead the denomination to "accelerate our pace in completing the Great Commission."
Floyd's Cross Church has seen tremendous growth in Cooperative Program giving, church attendance and baptisms – three areas his predecessor Fred Luter said are in decline among Southern Baptist churches.
Baptist Press reports that Floyd's congregation led the Arkansas Baptist state convention's 1,400 churches in donations to the Cooperative Program, which is a cooperation between the Southern Baptist Convention and state Baptist conventions to assist the local church to financially support missions and ministries of the SBC and the church's state Baptist convention. Floyd's church contributed $700,000 to the SBC's missions fund in 2013, according to the Cross Church website.
Cross Church also reports baptizing over 17,000 people during the 27 years Floyd has been senior pastor.
The Arkansas pastor has also held several positions within the Southern Baptist Convention. He led the convention's Great Commission Resurgence Task Force in 2009, chaired the SBC Executive Committee before that, and joined its Program and Structure Task Force in the mid-1990s. Floyd is currently the general editor of Lifeway's Bible Studies for Life Curriculum Series as well as the lead pastor and strategist for The North American Mission Board's church planting initiative, Send North America.
Floyd will succeed Luter, the SBC's first African-American president. The Louisiana pastor advised his successor to "make sure he has a good staff at his home church" and commit to leading church services every Sunday.
Watch Ronnie Floyd's Interview With CP: