Chairman: ‘NAMB going nowhere but forward’
    August 13 2009 by Mike Ebert, Baptist Press

    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.”

    Photo by John Swain

    Tim Patterson, trustee chairman of the North American Mission Board, addresses staff at the entity Aug. 12, a day after a special called trustee meeting which ended with the resignation of NAMB President Geoff Hammond and three of his closest associates.

    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.)

    8/13/2009 4:16:00 AM by Mike Ebert, Baptist Press | with 10 comments

Gene, thank you for your insights into this complex and difficult situation. And don't worry too much about the knee jerk reactions of those who haven't lived long enough to hear this song and verse before.
8/17/2009 7:38:50 AM

Gene Scarborough
Charles Royal--

Wise observation, in my opinion!

I think the entire history of the Man-God relationship is about who wants to be boss. The Garden of Eden was lost because mankind wanted fruit from the tree of "Knowledge of good and evil." In other words, man wanted the moral judgment of God, and it cost him paradise.

Again, they tried to build a tower in Babel to reach up to Heaven and look God in the eye. Its fall and the differentiation of languages again shows how God has no equals and knows how to confuse and disperse mankind to remind us of our inferior mental position relative to God.

In my study of sociology at Emory, my "simple-minded Baptist" view of morality got its upset: BEHOLD, different cultures define "sin" in different ways and are not bothered that they don't conform to good traditional southern thinking. One thing is consistent, though--all cultures have a conscience, laws and traditions, a religious bent.

What gives us the right to dictate our southern culture views to all the world?

Talk about "sin" as "separation" and you are accurate--talk about "sins" like smoking, dancing, and chewing and you are on a provincial definition of things which are not seen in the same way around our country and the world. You only look like a myopic idiot!

Use the Bible as it was intended (canon = measuring rod) and you have a valid guide. Anything which separates us from the Divine Being or one another creates sin (the events cited at the start were all "sin"). Man tried to separate himself from his inferior relation to the Creator and assume the role of God--never works! Man separated from a view that he was created as a servant to God's Creation just gives us the Atom Bomb and arrogant world leaders who may, one day, use it to destroy our "Tower of Babel" in modern science.

I honor your final 3 paragraphs! I think too many arrogant Baptists these days are seen as being truely "left out in the cold" by people who don't buy our tendency to hatred and destruction of those not like us.
8/16/2009 10:56:55 AM

Charles Royal
Charlie, I guess we are prone to wander. I feel your pain. I do not have the resume that some of my brothers in Christ have that are weighing into this conversation. I have been in Southern Baptist churches all my life and I am a pastor, but I contine to feel inadaquate except for Christ. With such little experience, 51 years, I can only say that kingdoms eb and flow (leaders that follow their own way, people who think they know better than God for the short term and the longterm...this could include many organized churches and "Christian" organizations) but the Kingdom of God lives on. It lives in the community and in people that come together to worship and educate (you know, make disciples). It is messy I admit. It was then and it is now. It seems that organizations loose their way alot, but not God's Kingdom which is in His people.

Gene, do you really believe they were better off before Kings, temples, and priest? Perhaps they were just as bad off in that they were looking for their "Best Life Now." Isn't that the title of a book. Sounds like a story in the first few chapters of Genesis.

God's Kingdom has always required devotion, (a walk in His ways because we spend time with Him so we hit the mark vs. missing the mark) that brings us to rejoice in the Lord, to be gentle, to be anxious for nothing, to be thankful and pray always, to think on things that are lovely, wonderfully, etc. It is evidenced that we know God and Christ (eternal life according to Jesus found in John 17:3, and abundant life, if I am think properly) and that we trust Him to work even in the messiness of conventions, churches, families, neighborhoods, businesses, etc.

The warning is if we don't know Him we can do all this in His name and still be left out in the cold. (Matthew 7)

I don't know, I'm just saying...
8/15/2009 9:08:07 PM

Gene Scarborough
My brothers--

My daddy was a Southern Baptist serving FBC Liberty (SC) when I was born then moving to FBC Tryon (NC), then FBC Clarkston (GA), and finally starting a mission church along with being the first Director of Juvenile Rehabilitation for Fulton County (GA) / Atlanta Baptist Association / GA Baptist State Convention.

I was in the Southern Baptist nursery my second week in the world, preached to my teddy bears just like my daddy, baptized at age 10 into Clarkston Baptist Church, President of the BSU at Emory University. Called to the ministry my senior year at Emory, ordained by Decatur First Baptist Church, served as Associate / Senior minister from 1970-present(GA,SC,NC) with 1986-being bi-vocational (NC).

Is that clear enough???

You see, the SBC has not become quite mean enough and autocratic enough to drive every dissenter from a relationship to it.

If you see me as an OT prophet who was Jewish but saw clearly how the Jews had deserted their heritage of obedience to God and his ways, you will see me correctly. Remember also, much of the mean and destructive actions of the Jews were anthropomorpic--a 25-cent word for attributing the emotions of man and his thinking to God. In this way they tried to force people to follow the lead of man rather than God.

Actually, the Jews were doing a better job of following God before electing a King, building the Temple at Jerusalem, and hiring Priests / Pharasees / etc. to run the religious show!

8/15/2009 10:00:34 AM

Dr. James Willingham
Things are tough all over. This is how it is befor a Great Awakening begins. Every one is at loose ends until the Lord arrives. Our Jeremiads are woeful expressions of our grief, but are we ready for the changes that must come?
8/14/2009 4:16:58 PM

Charlie Littlejohn
I came to Christ because of the witness of a Southern Baptist friend. I have worshipped most of my life in Southern Baptist churches. I was called to ministry through a Southern Baptist congregation and licensed to preach through another Southern Baptist congregation. I received an undergraduate education at a Southern Baptist university. I earned a graduate degree from a Southern Baptist seminary. For over thirty (30) years I have served the Lord in ministry through Southern Baptist congregations (first as a youth minister for eleven years then as a pastor for over twenty years now). But I must confess that reading emails like those posted here and reading letters to the editor like those often posted in our state baptist papers and watching from a distance the baptist news as it unfolds at the local, state, and national levels I grow more distraught. As time goes by, one thing becomes ever more clear to me: as Southern Baptists we are losing our way. I am haunted by that thought!
8/14/2009 3:03:24 PM

I'm just curious, Brother Gene, do you attend or pastor a church that supports the SBC? Do you personally support the SBC? If not, why can't you get off your SBC soapbox and get on the CBF, BWA, or Alliance of Baptists soapbox?
8/14/2009 12:23:39 PM

Gene Scarborough
Well, Brent, old buddy---why do you want to deny another disaster!

Once we trained servant ministers reaching out individually to the lost in a local Baptist unencumbered by denominational headquarters. Now, we think the big show gives all the answers just as the Pharasees at the Jerusalem Temple were in the big business of religion with big prophits (not prophets).

The hurt I bespeak is the hurt our Great Servant, Christ Jesus cried over the lost multitudes! The fields are white unto harvest, but the NAMB is cutting, consolidating, kicking out their leader, etc., etc., etc.

The sad beat goes on and I am just being a prophet crying in your wilderness--and those like you--who want to act like we have arrived with inerrancy (rather than servant love) in our minds and spirits.
8/14/2009 11:55:30 AM

Brent Hobbs
"Maybe I sound a little bitter." Yes, you do. The sun shone brighter before 1979. Since then everything is a disaster. We know, we know, Gene. You've told us before.
8/14/2009 11:48:25 AM

Gene Scarborough
The theme song of the HMB was "Send The Light." I remember at age 10 the tremendous sound of it being sung with gusto in the old Spelman Auditorium where there were glass doors all around, no A-C, and you were either too hot or too cold. Ridgecrest was a touch of heaven where men like Corts Redford and Arthur Rutledge were glad to talk with one of their missionaries' children or anyone else who had a problem or just wanted to talk.

The theme song of the last 10 years has been "Another One Bites The Dust." This is tragic to the point of sad tears---more on the part of a Saviour who spoke the words of Matthew 28:19-20: "Since you are going, go baptizing. . ."

My dad used to quote the poem which said, "He has no feet, but our feet. He has no hands, but our hands. . ." What are those who call themselves Southern Baptist Christians doing to have 2 terrible experiences in mismanagement and out-of-control ego back to back???

What really puzzles me is that this last disaster was surrounded by mission money spent, not on another missionary, but a so-called "coach" to help the boss do better in management! Get it---spending Cooperative Program money for a person to walk around with a muzzle and leash so the boss doesn't bite someone!!! Muzzle the messenger's management style, rather than pray for him as "he goes.....sharing the Gospel." A proper servant never has to be muzzled as he washes the feet of his Christian brother!

I appreciate Tim Patterson's words of comfort and assurance above. It sounds, however, almost word-for-word identical to those following Dr. Reccord's walk into the sunset. The real interesting aspect of this whole deal is that Dr. Reccord--and I assume--Dr. Hammond return in the good graces of their many mega-church buddies who appointed them--to an equal position of large income and perks befitting one of our "DR" Pharasees running the show these days.

Maybe I sound a little bitter. What you are reading is the reflection of a 63-year-old who knew SBC Home Missions as a Missionaries' son, and employee who founded the Juvenile Rehabilitation Program for the Raleigh Baptist Association in 1968. I was even the first "official juvie" of the HMB because a real boy could not be pictured in the filmstrip of my father's pioneering work. It resulted in that real boy and his family finding Christ in the ministry supported by the CP and HMB----back in the day we were really concerned about lost people more than having a private jet on hold for CEO travel, and a leader with a "coach" at his powerful heels at that fine expensive "showpiece" campus in Alpharetta far removed from Spring Street bums and panhandlers---and another 40 miles from the Atlanta Airport.

Oh, and what happened to the last 2--mind you--2--attempts to use CP dollars for a media campaign encouraging the lost of America to check out a local Baptist Church which has wisely dropped Baptist from its name because of too many events bringing shame and mistrust to any thinking lost person these days.

What happened to us? Why 2 leadership disasters back-to-back? How many chances to minister and witness have been lost to the private jet taking our "DR." So-in-So to his next "ministry" involving bright lights, big bucks, proper worship of DR. So-in-So, dressed in his Hart-Shafter & Marks suit, properly lighted and amplified---the Spelman Auditorium with its transparent windows and doors has now become a well lighted / properly amplified / air-conditioned auditorium-theater!!

BUT, sadly, the leader of the show is too busy and too mighty to be dressed in short sleeves or J.C. Penney suit like Dr. Corts Redford taking a train to the mission field appointments---the new airplane ticket cost too much at the time and the missionaries were the ones we were funding---the Spring Street staff of the HMB was just there to help things go more smoothly for that Good Will Center (oops, we lost it to the private jet cost), language missionary, new Juvenile Court Chaplain (oops, they were all consolodated under Christian Social Ministries to renovate Spelman and the juvenile court chaplains dropped out), etc.

"Since we've been going after 1979---we seem to have lost our money and our way---and NO ONE can account for it!

What a sad mess. I just hope 2 messes is enough!
8/14/2009 7:24:44 AM

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