Ronnie Floyd announced his resignation in an email on Thursday.
By Brandon Porter
NASHVILLE (BP) – Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, announced his resignation Thursday night in a letter to Southern Baptists released by email.
Floyd pointed to the decisions made by trustees in a special called meeting on October 5 as the basis for his decision. “The decisions made on Tuesday afternoon, October 5, in response to the 2021 Convention now place our missionary enterprise as Southern Baptists into uncertain, unknown, unprecedented and uncharted waters,” said Floyd.
Citing his fiduciary responsibilities as president and CEO, Floyd said, “Due to my personal integrity and the leadership responsibility entrusted to me, I will not and cannot any longer fulfill the duties placed upon me as the leader of the executive, fiscal, and fiduciary entity of the SBC.
“In the midst of deep disappointment and discouragement, we have to make this decision by our own choice and do so willingly, because there is no other decision for me to make,” he said.
On Oct. 5, EC trustees voted to waive attorney client privilege related to the independent third-party investigation of the possible mishandling of sex abuse cases. Messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting mandated the investigation with the terms and scope of the investigation.
On Sept. 21, trustees allocated up to $1.6 million in Cooperative Program funds to pay for the investigation. Trustees also voted to engage in the contract with Guidepost Solutions, a New York based investigative firm, to handle the independent investigation.
Messengers tasked SBC President Ed Litton with forming a Sexual Abuse Task Force to oversee the investigation.
“The issues before the Executive Committee were indeed complex, and it remains true that good people came to different conclusions about the various issues set before them. While I was grateful for the outcome of last week’s Executive Committee meeting, I regret that Dr. Floyd and other trustees feel that this has placed them in a position where they can no longer continue to serve in their current capacities,” Litton said.
Floyd began his tenure as president in May 2019, just months after a report was published by the Houston Chronicle on sexual abuse in the SBC. He worked with EC chairman Mike Stone and SBC president on the creation and implementation of a repurposed Credentials Committee for the Convention to provide an avenue for the Convention to disfellowship churches who poorly handle sex abuse, exhibit racism, and hold to doctrine that does not align with the Convention’s confession of faith, the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, or violate its governing documents.
During his tenure as EC president, Floyd navigated several crises including the cancellation of the 2020 SBC Annual Meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a time of racial unrest in America following the murder of George Floyd. Now his departure after less than 30 months at the helm means the Executive Committee will now look to fill its presidency for the second time in three years—something foreign to an organization which has had only seven men fill that role in its 104-year history.
Prior to coming to the EC, Floyd pastored several churches across Texas until he moved to First Baptist Church of Springdale, Ark. (now Cross Church), in 1986 where he pastored for more than 32 years before his stint at the Executive Committee. Throughout his career, Floyd has been active in Southern Baptist life and other interdenominational ministries including serving as president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force and two terms as SBC president (2014-2016).
“I was a pastor for over forty years. My entire life has been devoted to serving Christ and His people. The thought of any sexual abuse done to anyone abhors me. As a husband, father, and grandfather of seven, I deeply care about the protection of all people,” said Floyd.
In the letter, Floyd conveyed deep confidence in the staff of the Executive Committee, “Every Executive Committee staff member who is serving with me, along with trustees that I know, has been united in our desire to care for people while at the same time doing what we have been asked to do by the Convention. One of the most grievous things for me personally has been the attacks on myself and the trustees as if we are people who only care about ‘the system.” Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Floyd said he would remain in the leadership role until October 31. An interim president of the SBC Executive Committee has not yet been named.
“Through the end of this month, I will ensure our team is ready to complete the matters that will accomplish the will of this Convention,” said Floyd.
“I urge all Southern Baptists to pray for Dr. Floyd and his precious wife, Jeana, as they enter their next phase of life and ministry,” Litton said.
According to the SBC EC bylaws, a seven-member search committee will be formed to begin the search for a new president. Six of the members will be the existing trustees who receive the highest number of votes to serve on the committee. The seventh member will be chairperson of the board who will act as an ex-officio member.
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