NAMB trustees call special meeting to consider leadership, morale
    July 31 2009 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    Two months after passing a resolution unanimously praising the direction of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and affirming president Geoff Hammond for “exemplary, unique leadership and vision,” NAMB trustees will meet Aug. 11 to consider removing him from office.

    A 48-hour flurry of activity launched July 29 led to a specially called meeting Aug. 11 when a regularly scheduled executive committee meeting was to be held. Although either the board chair or NAMB president has the authority to call a special meeting, it takes 20 percent of the board to initiate such a meeting.

    North Carolina NAMB trustee Bruce Franklin was among the first 12 to call for such a meeting, following the first salvo of calls and email messages circulated among trustees July 29 when it became known that some members of the NAMB executive committee were unhappy with Hammond’s leadership and his future with the agency was in jeopardy.

    Franklin, told the Biblical Recorder July 31 after NAMB announced the special meeting, that a decision of such magnitude should not be in the hands of the executive committee alone.

    Although Franklin, who has been a trustee on year, said he heard the issue was “leadership,” he said in his three meetings and orientation he had not seen anything that would indicate a problem.

    An additional issue rumored for months that surfaced full-blown with the announcement of the special meeting is staff morale. Reports have reached trustees of morale sinking to a level lower even than during the tumultuous days before previous NAMB president Bob Reccord resigned under pressure in April 2006.

    “We need to find out what is going on and deal with it appropriately,” said Franklin, a businessman in Henderson. He said all that matters is “what we’re doing for Jesus” and that “it requires constant vigilance to stay focused.”

    NAMB trustee Jason Pettus, pastor of Living Hope Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Ky., sent an email to other trustees July 29 that detailed much of the background prompting the special meeting. In his email, Pettus disclosed his own conversation with NAMB board chair Tim Patterson over rumors of the upcoming executive committee meeting.

    Pettus said Patterson stated that the committee “had several ‘serious issues’ that they needed to talk with Geoff about.” He then detailed three most pressing concerns, which included that Hammond has failed to meet with an executive leadership coach hired to help him refine his leadership and management skills; that he had hired a chief operating officer without prior approval and that staff morale was at an “all-time low.”

    A NAMB spokesman told the Recorder that Hammond had been encouraged that if the original executive leadership coach did not work out, he should select one of his own choosing which he was in process of doing.

    Hammond has been working under a set of constraints not common for the chief executive of a Southern Baptist agency, constraints initiated after trustees found significant fault with their previous administration.

    According to a story in Associated Baptist Press in April 2006, a trustee investigation faulted the previous administration of Bob Reccord for poor management, autocratic decision-making, extravagant spending on failed ministry projects, apparent conflicts of interest in no-bid contracts for a friend, and creating a “culture of fear” that prevented staffers from questioning the abuses. They also said Reccord spent time and money on events and projects on the periphery of the NAMB's mission and was absent so much he couldn't provide consistent, day-to-day oversight “to properly manage the agency.”

    Consequently, trustees put safeguards in place to avoid a repeat of such behaviors, safeguards that Hammond has chafed under.

    Joe Westbury, managing editor of the Georgia Baptist newspaper, the Christian Index, broke the major stories that contributed to a change in administration at NAMB in 2006. His story on current events is here.

    The trustee affirmation of Hammond came during their May meeting in Jackson, Miss., about the time NAMB board chair Tim Patterson suggested NAMB and the International Mission Board be merged into one mission agency.

    Contrary to Patterson's statement, the NAMB board affirmed that NAMB "is crucial to the weaving together of Southern Baptist partners to fulfill the Great Commission."

    "As trustees, we are unified in support of our president, Dr. Geoff Hammond, who is providing exemplary, unique leadership and vision as Southern Baptists embrace the challenges of the ever changing and diverse mission field of North America," the statement said.

    7/31/2009 5:01:00 PM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 7 comments

Can anybody tell me how all of these discussions are benefiting the cause of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost world?
8/12/2009 4:29:13 PM

Gene Scarborough
I read the link--it is most interesting.

The most enlightening part has to do with the "Mega-church Mentality." Since when have you met a mega-church pastor who doesn't ram his way down his subordinates throat?? It just doesn't happen! It's all about the Big Show!!!

So when mega-church mentality runs the SBC, and appointments are only to those in the "inner circle of trust" among mega-church SBC leaders, why would we expect someone leading a Board or Agency who knows what "humble" means. No one has modeled this idea in a while and now we are about to fire a 2nd CEO who is acting, again, just like the CEO's of the Meta-church!

Now, how about considering Jesus and the 12 who walked in sandals among the poor and were hated by the Pharasees---mega-church models of their day? If we have sense enough to, once again, walk among the poor with true caring for things other than large buildings and large salaries, we MIGHT just rediscover what made the SBC so great and growing in 1950-1979.

Since that meeting in Houston in 1979, we have not had much humility walking among us. Crooked men with giant egos worked crooked politics to get their way. That crooked scythe removed many heads of humble and contrite leaders who had much common sense and appreciated the small churches which composed the SBC and its financial undergirding.

Take a bunch of spoiled men who were never told, "NO," by their parents and pitched a temper tantrum to get their way. Put them in charge of churches and a Convention's institutions and agencies, and see if you don't get excatly what we have gotten: misused funds, mistrust, demogogues demanding obedience, and a loss of the servant spirit with a listening and compassionate ear.

Have we lost our way or not????? The Devil wins again!!! Try and be missionally bold with this ongoing dog-and-pony show. NOT!!

We don't need to combine any agencies. We just need to get back to basics where the HMB had a heart for the hurting in the 50-60's. Hire caring people and fund them to meet the spiritual needs of those they encounter. Forget the stupid "number of converts" reports. It's not about numbers, it is about sharing the Good News with a hurting world rather than splitting our britches each quarter with another scandal of ego!!!!
8/4/2009 9:57:43 PM

Brent Hobbs
Les Puryear has some interesting info here:

A NAMB Insider Talks About NAMB & Trustees
8/4/2009 2:08:03 PM

If the NAMB trustees vacate their executive position, their organization will be very exposed during the work of the Great Commission Resurgence task force. Their board president already has indicated his interest in melding NAMB's identity into a single missions agency with the International Missions Board. But if NAMB is dysfunctional or demoralized internally, as the complaints imply, dramatic action may be required. Keep in mind the previous NAMB president was pressured to resign and his predecessor was reorganized out of a job and HIS predecessor left for a state convention leadership job. NAMB has been limping for decades. Dramatic action now may break its other knee.
8/4/2009 9:44:50 AM

Cyrus B. Fletcher
Here they go again! What a rollie coaster ride. NAMB changed its mission vision and action plan so that only church planting was the only real mission action. Pity, but they cannot seem to get together on that. I have wondered for almost ten years now why NAMB includes Canada as 'home mission' territory and not Mexico. Guess I am just a little near sighted about the inerrant message that everyone who is born again is supposed to see and agree on. Here I always thought that the operative words in 1Chronicles 7:14 were "...turn from their wicked ways...."
8/4/2009 3:44:57 AM

Um, I thought inerrancy was going to solve all this. Don't all these people believe in the infallibility of the Bible? Wasn't winning the Battle for the Bible supposed to usher in the Kingdom for the SBC?

Now all the liberals are gone, and the true believers keep inventing new enemies.

Pity, that.
8/3/2009 5:41:53 PM

Gene Scarborough
WOW--the SBC announces Great Commission Resurgence and within 2 months their main agency for the US is blowing apart AGAIN. It seems the issues are "top down" administration, micro-management, and such fuzzy use of money there is little trust anywhere in the ranks.

Just like Bold Mission Thrust being torpedoed by the "Conservative Resurgence," their very own hand-picked leadership is back to its old tricks of talking loud and doing little to reach the USA for Christ. EVERY media use opportunity is underfunded and abandoned before it gets started. Undoing Baptist Men and bringing it into NAMB cut expenses, but that money quickly evaporated under the Reccord Administration.

Meanwhile, the United Methodists and Mormons are using the media effectively to paint a glowing picture of how they care AND they are showing it by getting along in the local church and denomination. Should we take some lessons from non-SBC Christians?? I think so!

It seems, every time we turn around there are still ego and personality problems. The Resurgence folks vowed and declared they would change all, and by doing so, would have great evangelistic results. After all, who could refuse their "perfect" theology or coming to the great mega-churches they were going to build. They were training "consrvative" pastors now and teaching them how to control that congregation and make them soul winners while the Preacher only preaches!

My Home Missionary daddy always said, "It's not how high you jump, but how straight you walk when you hit the ground." That was pretty wise and, I think, it applies here. Something is badly wrong when we can't be bold with our mission and loving with our outreach so a spiritually hungry population has something good to eat!

GOD HELP US--is my prayer!

8/1/2009 6:18:10 PM

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