There were no major items voted upon in this year’s convention. The meetings went very peaceably without protesters. There was security on hand. There were 5,129 registered messengers on the last count that I heard, and some more messengers surely came later. Ronnie Floyd was elected as our new president. Ronnie ran in the past for this position without success. Perhaps the Lord held him back for such a time as this. Ronnie Floyd, a pastor in Arkansas, received around 1800 votes. A Korean Southern Baptist pastor from a northern state, received about 1400 votes. Interestingly, a deacon from a very small church voted for his pastor who was totally unknown and without major accomplishments—— he was simply a faithful pastor with integrity who represents a great many of the rank and file pastors throughout the SBC. This pastor received 5% of the votes– in other words one out of twenty people voted for him. I believe that Ronnie Floyd may possibly be the last of the “old guard” of traditional Southern Baptist presidents. That is, well known Caucasian pastors from large churches in the Bible belt states in the south. Our president rotating off is Fred Luter from Franklin Street Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fred is an African American pastor and a very strong orator who touches the heart. After Ronnie Floyd, I would expect a great variety and diversity in the backgrounds of future SBC presidents. Fred Luter was a trail blazer in this sense as he represents a minority ethnic group. This is indeed very good and the way it should be.
Here are some interesting statistics and figures that were shared with us involving missions. Frank Page officiated the International Mission Board (IMB) part of the program. There are 3,000 unreached people groups across the globe. There are 4,810 IMB missionaries. There was an emphasis on the island nation of Cuba. Cuban Christians want to see people evangelized and the nation is open to soul winning and evangelism as never before. In Cuba, there are 7,000 people groups and home churches winning the lost to Christ! One of their sayings is: “It is NOT about the church, it is about the kingdom.” The Cuban government has extended religious freedoms and there is currently an open window in Cuba for the Christian church to thrive.
I will sum up the preachers and their messages, special artists, and musicians from the Pastor’s Conference in a following entry.