Arkansas pastor to lead Southern Baptist executive committee

Arkansas Pastor Ronnie Floyd has been elected president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee after the man previously in the role resigned due to an inappropriate relationship.

The committee elected Floyd at a meeting Tuesday in Dallas. His previous SBC leadership roles include being SBC president from 2014 to 2016.

He replaces Frank Page , who last year resigned over what an SBC leader described as a "morally inappropriate relationship."

Floyd, an evangelical adviser to President Donald Trump, is senior pastor of Cross Church, which has locations in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri. He'll resign from Cross Church in order to take his new role.

The SBC has been grappling with how to better respond to sexual abuse. Two Texas newspapers reported in February that hundreds of Southern Baptist clergy and staff had been accused of sexual misconduct over the past 20 years.

With 15 million members and over 47,000 churches, the Nashville, Tennessee-based SBC is the nation's largest Protestant denomination. The SBC's structure as a voluntary association of autonomous churches has hindered past efforts at fighting sexual abuse.

Floyd said after his election that sexual abuse victims should know "we want to walk with you, we lament with you." He said he joins SBC President J.D. Greear in working to make sure churches are safe environments.

"We need to come together. Southern Baptists stand against sexual abuse," Floyd said.