SBC President Ronnie Floyd: “We need to be more desperate than our times.” A hope that is also desperate, a hope held desperately, an urgent hope — but not a desperate hope, as a last resort, as if our rope had frayed and we had lost all else to cling to. This hope we hold desperately because it is true and firm, held fast by the Love that will not let us go.
Are We Desperate Yet?
by Ronnie Floyd
July 21, 2014
I was conversing last week with one of America’s pastors. This specific man holds a special place in the history of our Southern Baptist Convention. As we discussed our past, present, and future, we began to talk about desperation. When we are desperate, we sense the need is great and we respond with extreme urgency.
Are We Desperate Yet?
When we are honest with ourselves, we will agree the need among us is great. We will face our reality with courage and with hope. We will not run away from our challenges or become spiritual spinmeisters. We will stand united and face the future together with hope.
Desperation is determined by understanding the condition around you. While I have never been more encouraged about many things in our Southern Baptist Convention, the following realities we must face together as a convention of churches:
- Declining membership
- Declining attendance
- Worst year of baptisms in 62 years
- Instability of our financial future
- Cross generational disengagement from our Annual Meeting
- Unhealthy condition of many of our established churches
- Increasing lostness of America and the entire world
- Continuing slide of our culture into immorality
- Rising of global crises
- Lack of passion for spiritual revival, spiritual awakening, and the Great Commission
We cannot operate in a make-believe culture. The things listed are just some of our challenges, and certainly not a complete list. They may appear to be brutal, but each one is real and when viewed together, they are a massive challenge.
We must respond urgently and with great conviction. Based upon the above list, our present condition is not sustainable and our future trajectory is not encouraging. While my burden for our convention is heavy and my task as President at this time in history is overwhelming, my hope for our future is abounding.
Why is my hope for our future abounding? I believe, with all of my heart, that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are moving toward a state of desperation. We are desperate for God to step in and miraculously and missionally do a great work in us personally, in our churches collectively, and with our convention.
Our Decision Time is Now
The time is now for us to face our challenges, stand together, and courageously embrace our future together. God has all of us here at this time in history to answer the call.
The times are desperate, but we need to be even more desperate than our times. We need to be desperate for:
- God to do a fresh work in us personally
- God to bring spiritual revival to His church
- God to sovereignly give us the next Great Awakening
- God to empower us to accelerate our pace of completing the Great Commission
You see friends, when we are so desperate for God to have His rightful place in our lives, His church, and His Kingdom, we will do all we can to answer His call in the times in which we live.
The time is now for us to make difficult decisions that will move us toward the greatest days in our history and our future. Yes, we will have to work through these challenges patiently, but we can do it, and I am convinced we will.
Only God knows what the Southern Baptist Convention will look like in the future. Only God knows how many churches we will have, how many missionaries we will have, and how effectively we will do our work together. Since He alone is Sovereign, we trust Him.
Our Trust is in Him Alone
Because our trust is in Him alone, here are some things I believe we can and should do together now. We can:
- Agree that God alone is our answer
- Agree to unite together visibly
- Agree to pray together extraordinarily
- Agree to work together through our challenges
- Agree to strategically address and turn around many of these things
I do not know all Southern Baptists, but I do know many of you. I have yet to meet anyone that wants any of the present negative conditions to continue on our watch. I can assure you that I do not.
Therefore, as we trust in the Lord and pray extraordinarily for the next great move of God in our nation and world, we need to work strategically to address each of these situations. We need to do so with desperate hearts and urgent actions. Let’s do it now, and let’s do it together.
I Learned Many Years Ago
I learned many years ago that God will meet us at the point of our desperation. Therefore, may our spiritual desperation rise even higher than the desperate times in which we live. Let’s face our future courageously with boldness and hope. I believe we are growing more desperate than ever to see God work among us and through us like never before. We will stand united and face the future together with hope.