ALPHARETTA, Ga. Geoff Hammond and three of his closest associates resigned their positions with the North American Mission Board after trustees met more than seven hours in executive session Aug. 11 at the board’s Alpharetta, Ga., headquarters.
The three staff members who also resigned were Dennis Culbreth, senior assistant to the president; Steve Reid, senior associate to the president for strategy development; and Brandon Pickett, communications team leader.
The resignations came after 54 of the board’s 57 trustees met in an all-day closed session. Four of the 54 trustees participated by conference call.
Until the announcement of the resignations, there was no word from trustees throughout the day about either the substance of their discussions or their progress toward a resolution.
In a statement delivered to the media on Aug. 11, trustee chairman Tim Patterson said:
“First I want to thank the trustees of the North American Mission Board who have come together today and worked through some very difficult issues. They have carried out their responsibilities today in a way that has been honorable, thorough and fair.
“Dr. Hammond has resigned as president of the North American Mission Board and his resignation takes effect immediately. In addition, three of Dr. Hammond’s closest associates — Steve Reid, Dennis Culbreth and Brandon Pickett — will resign their positions as well.
“Even though the subject of today’s meeting has been the topic of much media speculation, it is important to remember that this is a personnel matter and we will keep the details of today’s discussion confidential.
“As you can imagine, these last few days have been very challenging for Dr. Hammond and his family, our trustees and the employees and missionaries of the North American Mission Board. We will continue to be in prayer for Dr. Hammond, his family, and for the families of the others who have resigned.
“I want to thank Southern Baptists for their prayers and ask that they continue praying. We have much work left to do as we seek God’s guidance in these days. I still believe that God has great plans for the North American Mission Board and that NAMB will play a key part in the Southern Baptist effort to reach North America for Christ.”
‘NOWHERE BUT FORWARD’
The following day, Patterson expressed his confidence in the staff and assured them “NAMB is going nowhere but forward.”
NAMB staff gathered for the board-wide meeting on Aug. 12, to hear directly from Patterson who, the day before, presided over the special called meeting to discuss concerns about Hammond’s leadership. Several trustees attended the 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.”