By Craig Sanders
“One of the greatest things you can do is to become a missiologist in your community and a mission strategist for your people,” says Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church, Northwest Arkansas. Floyd recently spoke at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Floyd recounted his experience as pastor of the former First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., which transitioned from a mega-church to a multi-site church with four campuses, adopting the name Cross Church in 2011.
“People are drawn to fellowships that are on mission,” Floyd said, noting that the intimacy of multi-site churches also helped promote the church’s growth in recent years.
Floyd described the initiative of Cross Church members to study people groups in northwest Arkansas, enabling them to minister to an ethnic people group related to the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean. When several in the Marshallese community became Christians, they collaborated with the Jesus Film Project to bring the Gospel to the unreached in the island nation.
“One thing Southern Baptists understand is lostness,” said Floyd, who mobilizes small groups to share the Gospel by illustrating to them the dire need of unreached people groups.
In his challenge for pastors and lay leaders to become missiologists, Floyd urges them to conduct demographic studies and “know more about the community than the community knows about itself.”
Assessing the current church landscape, Floyd described the scarcity of large churches during his seminary days prior to the mega-church era, and then commented on the decline of mega-churches in favor of multi-site church models.
“It’s no longer about maintaining the place, it’s about going on mission for God,” Floyd said of the missiological focus of multi-site churches.
Craig Sanders is a writer for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This article is based upon a forum discussion between Ronnie Floyd and R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was edited for a wider evangelical audience, but you can locate the full conversation in both in audio and video forms at Southern Seminary’s website, sbts.edu.
This article originally appeared in Baptist Press. Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press. Used by permission.