Larry Floyd: ‘An opportunity every day to make a difference in people’

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Larry Floyd became executive director of the El Paso Baptist Association in October 2019. From deep in the heart of one Texan, he shares his background and thoughts on associational ministry and the church. To suggest a Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated leader to be featured in this column, or to apply to be featured yourself, click here.

Background

Where else have you served in ministry, and what were your positions there?

I served as youth pastor at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Cleburne (1998–1999), First Baptist Church in Azle (1999–2002) and First Baptist Church in Spearman (2002–2003).

I also served as youth and education pastor at Lakeshore Drive Baptist Church in Weatherford (2003–2007) before transitioning to administration and education pastor (2007–2013).

I then served as senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Del Rio (2013–2015). I started a new church as lead pastor, City Church Del Rio (2015–2019).

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Des Moines, Iowa but moved to El Paso when I was 9 years old. I consider El Paso my hometown.

How did you come to faith in Christ?

In 1989, I was given a grim health report, and this actually was the catalyst to my search for truth, which led me to Jesus. My wife was praying for me as she had come to a saving faith in Christ just a few months before me.

I was in church listening to the sermon when I knew Jesus was calling me to his side. I missed the invitation call, but I made the benediction call. The invitation had come and gone, and I believed I had missed my salvation opportunity. During the benediction blessing, the pastor stopped and asked if anyone else wanted to be saved, and it was then I went and received Jesus for myself. It ain’t over truly until God says it’s over. This was Jan. 14, 1990.

I am amazed even to this day of the power of God’s love over me.

Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?

I have two theology degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

About ministry life

Why do you feel called into ministry?

It is a sense of spiritual insideness that has me in vocational ministry. It is really hard to explain, except that I know he has beckoned me to serve him fully as a minister of the gospel. I have always tried to follow wherever he has led me. I have been to the Panhandle, the Rio Grande border, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Houston and now El Paso. Only God could have orchestrated that type of obedience.

What is your favorite aspect of ministry? Why?

The one thing I love most about ministry is people. I thrive on people interaction. I love how God has created so many differences in us, and yet we can become united because of Jesus.

I believe we have an opportunity every day to make a difference in people because we have been called to minister. Without people we have no calling.

What one aspect of ministry gives you the greatest joy?

Being a friend of pastors and leaders. Ministry can be a lonely place at times. I hope to be a true friend that pastors can call on for any needs they have.

What one aspect of ministry would you like to change?

I think the biggest thing in ministry today that needs to change is our concept of what makes a church. Church needs to become all things to all people in order to save a few. Gospel-centered ministry needs to be threaded throughout our methods and modes more than ever before.

How has your ministry or your perspective on ministry changed?

Having come to Christ as an adult, I was pretty black and white when it came to almost all areas of my life. I have come to realize Jesus works in the margins, and there is a lot of gray in ministry. Gray lets us be obedient to God and not have to know every detail of what he is calling us to do. Clarity is really clear until we obey the first step. Then that step gives way to clarity in the calling of each of our ministries.

How do you expect ministry to change in the next 10 to 20 years?

I listen to and read a lot of Thom Rainer, so I am a little biased. Bi-vocational ministry will be the norm, not the exception, as the struggle for resources becomes more and more evident in church life.

If you could launch any new ministry—individually, through your congregation or through another organization—what would it be? Why?

A non-traditional, non-Sunday worship service, where the outcasts could come and be “incasts.” Our desire to reach the unchurched and the outcast has become non-existent in our modern-day worship.

Name the three most significant challenges and/or influences facing your ministry.

Making associational work relevant, resources to do ministry, and working together with two Texas conventions.

About Baptists

What are the key issues facing Baptists—denominationally and/or congregationally?

Baptists have been known to be a people of the Book (the Bible). I am not sure that is still the case. I wish there was an all-out cry and outpouring of the teaching of all of Scripture, even the difficult passages.

About Larry

Who were/are your mentors, and how did/do they influence you?

One of my mentors is Dr. Mark Kemp, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove. He taught me how to love the church if we were going to be “in ministry.”

Rev. Patrick Six, senior pastor of Scotsdale Baptist Church in El Paso, taught me how to love my staff.

What did you learn on the job you wish you learned in seminary?

I wish the teaching was more geared for the reality that we would be serving in smaller churches since the majority of Texas churches are under 100 in attendance.

What is the impact of ministry on your family?

My family has been so amazing. I have tried always to remember God gave me my family before I had the ministry. I always have made time for them and have had to say, “No” to a lot of offers from well-meaning church members.

Other than the Bible, name some of your favorite books or authors, and explain why.

• Thom Rainer. I love statistics that tell a story of reality.
• Gary Chapman, because of simplicity for sharing and pouring into other people’s lives.
• Rick Warren, because he is so encouraging in his books.

What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?

1 John 1:7, because it says we have fellowship with one another. I believe we need to fellowship so we can serve together.

Who is your favorite Bible character, other than Jesus? Why?

Peter. He wasn’t afraid to try. He failed in many areas but learned from them and became a pillar of the church. He never let his failures define him.

Name something about you that would surprise people who know you.

First, I speak pretty fluent Spanish. Second, I was a dental hygienist when God called me into ministry.

If you could get one “do over” in ministry, what would it be, and why?

If I could do anything over, it would be to have started as soon as I sensed God calling me into ministry. I waited and struggled for five years with the calling.


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