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NAMB retirees include 3 vice presidents
Adam Miller, Baptist Press
December 09, 2010
6 MIN READ TIME

NAMB retirees include 3 vice presidents

NAMB retirees include 3 vice presidents
Adam Miller, Baptist Press
December 09, 2010

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Two

longtime North American Mission Board (NAMB) vice presidents have announced

they will take the voluntary retirement offer NAMB has extended to all staff

members age 54 and older who have at least five years of service.

Richard Harris, vice president of the Sending Missionaries Group and NAMB’s

interim president from August 2009 until mid-September 2010, and Harry Lewis,

vice president of partnership missions and mobilization, will retire Dec. 31.

David Meacham, NAMB’s vice president of associational strategies, retired Oct.

31.

The three will leave the mission board with legacies that span decades and with

plans to continue their ministries in other areas for years to come.

“NAMB and Southern Baptists owe each of these men a debt of gratitude for all

of their faithful years of service,” NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. “They

have served in many capacities over the years and each leaves a legacy that will

continue far beyond their last day of service to NAMB.”

Harris began work with the Home Mission Board (NAMB’s predecessor) in 1981 in

the area of mass evangelism. In addition to serving in pastorates in Kentucky

and Texas, Harris served in more than 25 interim pastorates in the Atlanta area

before and during his work with HMB/NAMB.

During his 29-year tenure with NAMB, Harris also served as national chairman of

four national evangelism emphases, including “Good News America” and “Here’s

Hope” as well as vice president of church planting from 1997-2007.

“Get yourself where God can use you and He’ll wear you out,” said Harris,

paraphrasing a favorite preacher, Vance Havner.

In his early years, Harris said he sensed God’s call to national ministry,

which was fulfilled with his arrival at the Home Mission Board. There God used

Him to help lead Southern Baptists in evangelism efforts, in providing language

resources for cross-cultural church planting and in raising the standards for

missionary applicants.

“I’m excited about the future,” Harris said. “When I started out in ministry I

committed to be in the center of God’s will. As long as I’m there I know I’m in

the right place.”

Harris will continue to work with NAMB in the entity’s relationships with

Baptist state conventions. He and his wife Nancy have two sons and five

grandchildren. They plan to stay in the Atlanta area.

Lewis served as a pastor for nearly 20 years. During that time, he also filled

several denominational leadership posts, including serving as a member of the

SBC Executive Committee, president of the California Southern Baptist

Convention and on the board of trustees for Southwestern Baptist Theological

Seminary. He came to NAMB in 1997 to serve as a regional coordinator to develop

missions and evangelism strategies for associations and state conventions in

the Midwest and Canada. Lewis was promoted to NAMB’s vice president of missions

and mobilization in 2007.

“I’m not retiring,” Lewis said. “I’m moving on from NAMB but when God puts a

call on your life, that doesn’t end with a specific assignment.” He and his

wife Shirley will return home to Texas and pursue other ministry opportunities,

particularly in the areas of church health and spiritual awakening.

“I have a real heart for spiritual awakening,” Lewis said. “I believe it’s the

only hope for Southern Baptists. We’ve lost the passion for making disciples as

instructed in Matthew 28:19-20. (Southern Baptists) know what to do but we just

don’t do it, and spiritual awakening will renew the passion to do what we know

we need to do.”

Meacham began work with HMB/NAMB as a church planter and resort missionary in

1975, following five years as a pastor near Riverside, Calif. Before coming to

NAMB in 2008, Meacham served as executive director of the Nevada Baptist

Convention and as an associational missionary in Las Vegas. He joined NAMB

following his tenure as director of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s

Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health.

“The basic mission to impact lostness has not changed since I started in church

planting 35 years ago,” Meacham said. “I think that at all levels of our

denomination the key is for us to help churches be successful in their mission

work, and partnership is something I believe will continue to be important in

the future.”

Meacham and wife Sue will stay in Cumming, Ga., and serve in teaching and

service roles at Castleberry Road Baptist Church, making frequent visits to

their children and 12 grandchildren in California, Kansas and Tennessee.

46-year legacy

Brenda Hendrickson, an

accounting associate at NAMB, started working on the HMB’s bookkeeping staff at

age 18, right out of business college in Knoxville, Tenn.

“I had borrowed the money to

go to school and my loan was due,” Hendrickson said. “I really needed a job.”

She was hired in 1964 by B.M. Crane and has seen many changes.

Hendrickson reimbursed field

personnel, sent money to state conventions and handled other duties — using

manual typewriters, 10-key adding machines, paper filing systems and an office

calculator that required a wheel cart of its own to move from desk to desk.

“It’s been constant change ever since I’ve been here,” said Hendrickson, who

experiences yet more change this December as one of more than 80 staff retiring

from NAMB as part of a voluntary retirement offer extended to all staff members

age 54 and older with at least five years’ service.

Other NAMB staff retiring with more than three decades of service are Cheryl

Williams, Candy Elliot, Marilyn Taylor and Kendale Moore.

“Brenda is one of the most dedicated, loyal and committed employees I’ve ever

worked with,” said NAMB CFO Carlos Ferrer, who has worked with Hendrickson

since 1992. “She pretty much took me by the ears when I got here and started

teaching me. She’s mentored and taught a lot of people on how we do our work in

financial areas. She will be greatly missed.”

With 46 years with HMB/NAMB, Hendrickson is the longest-serving staff member

retiring this month.

“I’m glad I had the opportunity to work at the HMB and NAMB. I think I would

have missed a lot if I hadn’t had that opportunity,” Hendrickson said.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Miller is a

writer for the North American Mission Board.)