Pastor Ronnie Floyd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is calling on church leaders to respond with grace in their post-election sermons and commentaries to their congregations and the public.
Writing on his blog Monday, Floyd, pastor of the multi-site Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, advised pastors to do three things in light of the election results: listen, watch what you say, and take the high road.
Noting that President-elect Donald Trump was able to win the election because he listened to aggrieved people that the political establishment had ignored, Floyd urged church leaders to do the same.
"We cannot minister to those to whom we are not listening. We cannot identify with people we do not take the time to know," Floyd said. "The Southern Baptist Convention is a cross-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual denomination that is comprised mostly of smaller-membership churches located all over America."
An estimated 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, according to exit polling data. Nearly one-in-three Hispanics also voted for Trump, and a significant number of African-American voters formed a critical piece of his coalition, accordng to a study conducted by WPA Research and commissioned by Family Research Council.
Floyd said he was deeply grieved by what some Southern Baptist leaders have said — though he named no one — adding that their words often came back to bite them.
"What a political leader says or writes may cause harm to our nation for a period of time. But much more devastating is that what a God-called leader says and writes may jeopardize their calling, influence, and effectiveness. Not only is their personal testimony and leadership harmed, it harms our churches, our convention, and testimony."
"God has the final word on all things; not us," he continued.
Floyd said in the week leading up to the election that given Hillary Clinton's support for partial-birth abortion, the choice was a "simple decision" for Christians to make.
Floyd also commented on the speeches made by Trump, Hillary Clinton and outgoing president Barack Obama who each spoke graciously of one another on Nov. 9, the day after the election.
"Each could have gone on an endless rant, but they did not. In future days, they will each promote and stand strong in their ideology, but they stood tall when it mattered greatly, even when it would have been easy not to."
Such is the posture of a servant-leader, and that is the position Jesus took, he added.
"There were innumerable times Jesus took the high road when it would have been so easy for Him not to. After what Jesus lived through in His life here on this Earth, we should walk in His steps."
"Perhaps as Southern Baptist leaders, we need our perspective changed or at least adjusted," Floyd said. "We need to be part of the lives of the people we are called to serve. We should not just hang around our colleagues or our gang of friends, but all the people that comprise our churches."
"When we serve effectively, it is only then we can lead."