Ex-NAMB President Issues First Statement Since Resignation

Geoff Hammond, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention's mission agency, issued his first response since his dramatic resignation last week.

In an e-mail sent to the Southern Baptist TEXAN, a news journal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Hammond was mainly positive towards his experience at the North American Mission Board, and believed that God had led him to the agency.

"The events as they unfolded last Tuesday [Aug. 11] were a shock to me," wrote Hammond, according to the Baptist Press. "Although I am not at liberty to discuss the details, needless to say my resignation was not for moral, ethical or fiduciary responsibility but there were methodological differences."

He added, "I still feel God led me to the North American Mission Board for a purpose – to help Southern Baptists see North America as a mission field and to live with urgency reaching this continent for Christ."

Last week, Hammond and three of his closest associates at the NAMB resigned from their position after the agency's Board of Trustees met for seven hours.

NAMB trustee chairman Tim Patterson said the details of the meeting and the exact reasons why Hammond resigned will remain confidential.

But an e-mail, circulated before the fateful meeting, suggested that some on the executive committee were upset with how Hammond was running the massive agency, which oversees over 5,600 missionaries. Some critics complained that he hired friends for leadership positions even though they were not the most qualified people.

Despite the controversy that has surrounded his resignation, Hammond appears to not regret having accepted the offer to lead the agency.

"One of the greatest joys of my life was to lead NAMB as we created, developed and introduced the national evangelism initiative to Southern Baptists, GPS – God's Plan for Sharing," he wrote.

The ambitious goal of GPS is to share the Gospel to every person in North America by the year 2020.

"[D]espite what occurred, I am still grateful to have had an opportunity to influence Southern Baptists to reach North America for Christ and to help them understand that it will take missionary thinking and practices to achieve that goal," Hammond expressed. "I praise the Lord that Southern Baptists are still so mission minded and we are still planting a new church in North America every six hours."

NAMB has named longtime staff Richard Harris as acting interim president while the agency searches for an interim president.