(RNS) — Former Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has been nominated to lead the denomination’s Executive Committee, based in Nashville, Tenn.
An Arkansas megachurch pastor who serves as part of President Trump’s unofficial group of faith advisors, Floyd would succeed former Executive Committee President Frank Page, who resigned last year due to an “inappropriate relationship,” according to the denomination’s official news service.
A vote on Floyd’s nomination is scheduled for today (Apr. 2) at a meeting of the Executive Committee in Dallas. That group of about 80 Southern Baptist leaders, along with its Nashville-based staff, acts on behalf of the convention in between its annual meetings.
“We firmly believe he is the man God has uniquely prepared and gifted to lead our Executive Committee at this challenging time in our nation’s and our denomination’s history,” Steve Swofford, chairman of the presidential search committee, wrote in a letter announcing Floyd’s nomination on Sunday (March 31), according to Baptist Press.
Floyd was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2014 to 2016. He also served as chair of the Executive Committee in the mid-1990s. He is currently president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
During his three decades as pastor of Cross Church, which has campuses in Arkansas and Missouri, the congregation has baptized more than 22,000 people, according to a biography posted on the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee website. The congregation claims more than 9,000 attendees and reports that it has given more than $1 million annually to the denomination’s Cooperative Program — which mainly funds mission work and seminary education — since 2015.
As SBC president during the 2016 presidential race, Floyd expressed concerns about then-candidate Trump’s comments about women and minorities but met with him, saying it was important for religious leaders to meet with candidates. Floyd also told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he led a prayer for President Trump during a 2017 meeting at the White House.
“I prayed for protection for the president and the vice president because we live in a very difficult day in our country. I prayed for God to lead them and for them to rely on the Lord for strength and for wisdom,” he said.
Floyd’s nomination comes at a tumultuous time for the SBC.
Recent news reports have detailed alleged abuse at Southern Baptist churches. J.D. Greear, the current SBC president, has called on the convention to investigate churches that have covered up abuse. Some Executive Committee members have urged caution before investigating churches.
The topic of abuse and a proposed amendment to the SBC’s constitution that would allow the denomination to remove churches that show clear “indifference to addressing the crime of sexual abuse” will be discussed at the SBC’s annual meeting in June.