Beyond Fifty Percent: B21 Interview with New Florida Convention Executive-Director Tommy Green

B21 is excited about the plan being put forward by the new Executive-Director of the Florida Baptist Convention. We are thankful for the bold vision that Tommy Green, formerly the Pastor of FBC, Brandon, FL, is proposing as he steps into this new role.

B21’s Scott Wilson, who pastors a Florida church, recently had the opportunity to interview Executive-Director Green. We believe you’ll be encouraged by Green’s comments below. We wish to thank Tommy Green for his willingness to share his vision with the readers of B21, and we pledge our prayerful support in the days ahead.

Q: Being the pastor at FBC, Brandon since 1996 I know it was a difficult decision for you to step away and accept this new call. Can you speak to what that process was like in accepting this new position with the state convention?

A: It was a difficult decision to move away from the long-term pastorate of First Baptist Brandon. Our lives are deeply anchored in the area and church. Brandon is our home and family that we will greatly miss. God began stirring in my heart about this opportunity as I was approached to consider this calling. Karen and I diligently prayed and discerned that God was leading us to this place of ministry. God has granted us peace and assurance that accompanies such a major move. In the midst of our seeking the Lord, God began revealing to me a new paradigm for the Florida Baptist Convention. As we proceeded it was abundantly clear that the calling focused beyond the person to the plan for the future of our State Convention.

Q: What key concepts will guide your philosophy in leading the Florida Baptist Convention?

A: The paradigm is built upon the vision that the Florida Baptist Convention supports the local churches in their mission of making disciples of all the nations. The Florida Baptist Convention exists for the churches and not the churches for the convention. This strategy focuses upon three concepts of design- Decentralization, Regionalization, and Personalization. Our team will be living in the regions (we have 5 defined regions in Florida) and building personal relationships with the churches and pastors. The regional teams will be resourced to support the local churches in conferencing and development that is requested by the churches in the regions.

Q: Many Florida Baptists would love to see us reach that 50/50 division of giving through the CP so that more funds leave Florida to reach the unreached outside our borders. What is your plan regarding allocation of CP funds moving forward and why is that important to you?

A: My conviction is that churches plant churches and churches revitalize churches, not state conventions. Our budget will include monies to partner directly with churches in planting and revitalizing churches. We have tremendous churches in Florida which are led by Kingdom-minded pastors who will effectively plant and revitalize churches across our state. We will be redeploying Cooperative Program money back into our Florida Baptist churches.

The budget that will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Florida Baptist Convention will be based on sending 51% of Cooperative Program dollars to the Southern Baptist Convention and 49% will remain in Florida. This budget will be fashioned exclusively on monies given by our Florida Baptist churches. We will eliminate shared ministry receipts and negotiated dollars from the budget. The budget will be based on the contributions from our churches. It is exciting to know that we will be adopting a budget that sends more away than we keep in Florida. This percentage formula is not the final landing place for Florida. My commitment is that we will continue widening the gap as Cooperative Program monies increase from our churches. You cannot out give God and as we demonstrate generosity as a State Convention, I believe God will honor our efforts to reach Florida and the nations for Christ.

Q: As you step into this new role, what would be your encouragement to those currently serving as state executives outside of Florida? What would you like to see happening across the SBC?

A: The key to more resources from the Cooperative Program being available for the IMB, NAMB, our Seminaries, and ERLC is directly linked to the giving formulas changing within our state conventions. We have outstanding leaders at our entities who have great Kingdom perspectives. I am committed to leading Florida to doing more and giving more to change our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Q: What excites you about the future for the SBC and Florida Baptists in particular?

A: I am extremely excited about the unity that I am experiencing around this vision for Florida. Pastors of all ages are expressing their support and encouragement as we advance this vision in our state. I encourage us to unite in prayer for a powerful move of God upon and through our Southern Baptist Convention and our upcoming meeting in Columbus, Ohio.