NAMB retirees include 3 vice presidents
    December 9 2010 by Adam Miller, Baptist Press

    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.)
    12/9/2010 6:27:00 AM by Adam Miller, Baptist Press | with 3 comments




Comments
Gene Scarborough
As the changes in Mission Boards take place, it would be wise to be aware of this book:

http://stopbaptistpredators.blogspot.com/2008/12/spending-gods-money.html

The lady who wrote it a couple of years ago had access to the spending practices of the NAMB under Dr. Reccord's leadership. What went on then still haunts the buget now.

It's not pretty and bespeaks too much trust given to Trustees asleep at the wheel of a gigantic ship going way off course. The practices of the mega church---whose Pastors seem to get the nod these days---do not fit well with mission sending and a focus on funding our missionries more than those selected to run their Board.
12/20/2010 7:38:10 AM

Bill
Norman,
You have asked the right qustions. I doubt you will get a reply.
12/10/2010 3:57:59 PM

Norman
What is the strategy for these mass retirements? If these people are not to be replaced, it says they were not in essential jobs. If they are to be replaced, then there is no financial savings and the question is why are they being removed? What is the enormous financial cost to offering retirement benefits to 54 year old employees? How is 25 percent reduction the magic number? Just as you are trying to reevaluate the strategy of how you work with associations, how do you let the associational strategist go?
12/9/2010 12:52:04 PM

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