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99 leave NAMB as part of downsizing
Baptist Press
December 15, 2010

99 leave NAMB as part of downsizing

99 leave NAMB as part of downsizing
Baptist Press
December 15, 2010

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — One-third

of the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) staff will be leaving at the end

of the year as a result of retirement incentives and other downsizing of the

Southern Baptist entity. On Friday, Dec. 10, NAMB recognized retirees who are

taking advantage of incentives offered at the beginning of October.

“These individuals have

served NAMB and Southern Baptists in outstanding ways over the years,” NAMB

President Kevin Ezell said. “We appreciate everything they have done to further

God’s Kingdom and the impact of their work will continue for years to come.”

Of the total of 99 people

leaving, 81 are taking an early retirement package Ezell announced Oct. 1.

Employees aged 54 and older were eligible for the package.

In addition to incentives

offered by NAMB, retiring employees also were able to lock in to a higher

annuity rate through GuideStone Financial Resources. The Southern Baptist

financial services provider announced over the summer that the floor on its

annuitized rates would drop from the current 6 percent to somewhere between 3

to 4 percent.

Anticipating a lower number

of people in the building due to retirements, NAMB also trimmed a number of

services and support staff positions. These additional reductions brought the

total number of year-end departures to 99.

Carlos Ferrer, NAMB’s chief

financial officer who also serves as vice president overseeing human resources

and other services functions, said the entity is providing support for those in

transition.

“The package we are giving

to those who are departing is as generous as we could make it,” Ferrer said. “In

addition, we are providing the services of a Christian job placement company to

assist those who are seeking further employment.”

Ferrer added that “those

leaving are our longtime friends and co-laborers and we are committed to

helping them make this transition as smoothly as possible.”

At a Nov. 16 missionary

commissioning service in Texas, Ezell stated, “As we go through changes,

absolutely every change we make and every reduction we make is to put more

missionaries in the field.”

In October, Ezell told NAMB’s

board of trustees he is undertaking a four-step process: re-focus NAMB; build a

strategy; develop the staff necessary to execute the strategy; and implement

the strategy. The downsizing is part of a re-focus effort that will narrow the

number of activities the entity undertakes.

“I have the very strong

conviction that NAMB has been trying to do too much in too many different

arenas,” Ezell stated in a Nov. 22 e-mail to the executive directors of state

Baptist conventions.

NAMB trustees also announced

in October the formation of a “vision” committee that will work with Ezell

through the strategy building and implementation process. That committee, now

referred to as the implementation committee, consists of five members: Joey T.

Anthony, pastor of Midway Baptist Church in Phenix, Va.; Stephen E. Hogan,

pastor of Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; Steven D. Holdaway, pastor

of LifeSpring Church in Bellevue, Neb.; Donna C. Medcalf, member of Edwards

Road Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C.; and David Self, executive pastor of

First Baptist Church Houston, Texas.

The Georgia Christian Index

reported Dec. 9 that Lester L. Cooper Jr., pastor of Concord Baptist Church in

Cumming, Ga., had resigned from NAMB’s board of trustees reportedly in

disagreement with the reduction in senior staff. A NAMB spokesman additionally

noted in an e-mail to board chairman Tim Dowdy, pastor of Eagles Landing First

Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga., Cooper said he wanted to focus more of his

time on his church.

In a podcast posted by NAMB

on Monday, Dec. 13, Ezell said he is working closely with state convention

executive directors to develop NAMB’s new direction and that the process is

moving as quickly as possible.

“I cannot get in a cubicle

and come up with this answer myself and come out and try and sell it,” Ezell

said. “I really think the best way … is getting everyone around the table and

saying, ‘Hey, how can we do this together?’”