ALPHARETTA, Ga. — A day after a meeting of the board of trustees of the North American Mission Board ended with the resignation of President Geoff Hammond and three senior leaders, NAMB trustee chairman Tim Patterson expressed his confidence in the staff and assured them “NAMB is going nowhere but forward.”
NAMB staff gathered for the board-wide meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, to hear directly from Patterson who, the day before, presided over a special called meeting to discuss concerns about Hammond’s leadership. Several trustees attended Wednesday’s meeting including Tim Dowdy, pastor of Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga., who serves as the board’s vice chairman, and Mike Palmer, pastor of Salmon Valley Baptist Church in Salmon, Idaho, the board’s second vice chairman.
Patterson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., expressed appreciation to the staff and reaffirmed the importance of their contribution to NAMB’s ministry.
“We want you to know that we love you guys, every one of you,” Patterson said. “Everyone who works here, who gives your heart and time here — and has the calling of God on your lives. God has placed you here as surely as God has placed me as pastor of a church.”
Patterson told employees by the end of the day someone would be named to run NAMB’s day-to-day operations. After that, trustee leaders will begin the process of finding an interim president. Soon after, a presidential search team will be established from among trustee members.
“The search will be very methodical,” Patterson said. “A careful process.”
By noon Patterson had e-mailed the staff announcing that Richard Harris, who has nearly 30 years of combined service at NAMB and its predecessor, the Home Mission Board (HMB), will serve as the entity’s acting interim president until an interim president is chosen. Harris’ previous service includes 10 years as NAMB’s vice president of church planting and 16 years leading HMB’s mass evangelism efforts.
Patterson asked the staff to continue praying for Hammond and the others who resigned the day before. “We love them and pray for them that God would do great works in their lives.”
Reading from Psalm 123:1, Patterson shared that, “Unless we keep our eyes on Him, all is for naught.”
“The North American Mission Board is one of most vital agencies in the world today,” Patterson said. “We will continue on. We have been tasked by Southern Baptists to reach North America for Christ. That is our goal and our job. And until Jesus comes back, that’s what we’re going to do.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Ebert is team leader for communications at the North American Mission Board.)