Ronnie Floyd called them “holy moments.” The senior pastor of Cross Church for nearly 33 years, Floyd preached his final sermon May 19 and commissioned his son Nick as his successor.
“Pastor Nick and my son, even as [the apostle] Paul knelt and he prayed, I put my hands in your hands today as a sign and a symbol to our people that God is transferring this to you,” Floyd said as both he and his son knelt before Cross Church’s combined congregations at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.
In turn, the son named his father pastor emeritus and praised him as a “veteran soldier who has fought the good fight of faith in our midst.”
Floyd had just preached from Acts 20, recounting and identifying with the words of Paul during a tearful first-century farewell to believers in Miletus.
“Paul was preparing them for his absence. And I want to help prepare you for my absence from you,” Floyd told several thousand gathered in the arena at the University of Arkansas. “Cross Church, listen carefully. Look to my eyes today. You give all you have to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ above all” since “I am leaving you because I have a compelling call by the Holy Spirit.”
Hours after the 9:30 a.m. service, Floyd began full-time as the new president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee in Nashville.
“Paul did not know what he would face in Jerusalem, except that the Holy Spirit warned him that those chains meant that he would be in prison, and the afflictions meant that he would be persecuted and in danger of losing his life,” Floyd said. “Even knowing that, he was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go.”
Nick Floyd, unanimously elected as Cross Church senior pastor in April, honored his father during Sunday’s service with a letter, the envelope simply addressed with a handwritten “Dad.”
“Dad, well done,” Nick Floyd said. “Not every pastor gets to hear those words from his successor who also happens to be his son. You are worthy of those concluding words to your time here as pastor of Cross Church.
“The longer I’m in ministry the more I just want to be faithful and finish well like you have,” the younger Floyd said. The church presented the departing Floyd with a Canterbury edition of the King James Bible, bound in goatskin, engraved with “pastor emeritus” and signed by church leaders.
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Source: Baptist Press