August 11, 2009
Southern Baptist Mission Board President Resigns
Geoff Hammond and three associates resigned from the SBC's North American Mission Board after reports of management concerns emerged.
President Geoff Hammond and three of his associates resigned their positions on the North American Mission Board today after an e-mail circulated that Hammond might be removed over management concerns.
An e-mail from Jason Pettus to trustees was leaked last month, addressing rumors that Hammond might be fired.
"[Trustee chairman Tim Patterson] said that some on the executive committee had strong negative feelings about Geoff," Pettus wrote, according to the Baptist Press. "He said that some on the executive committee were very 'angry' and 'frustrated' with Geoff."
Pettus said Patterson, who is pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., identified three issues some trustees have with Hammond:
-- that Hammond had stopped meeting with an executive leadership coach trustees had hired to work with him and was seeking a different coach,
-- that Hammond had hired an administrative associate without consulting trustee leadership,
-- that morale among board staff is at "an all-time low and people within the entity and outside of it are unhappy with the way things are going."
Dennis Culbreth, senior assistant to the president, Steve Reid, senior associate to the president for strategy development, and Brandon Pickett, communications team leader, also resigned.
"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," Patterson said in a statement.
Bob Smietana of The Tennessean wrote last week about complaints within the convention over Hammond's management style.
The Rev. David Thompson, pastor of North Pointe Community Church in Old Hickory, is concerned about Hammond's leadership, in particular that Hammond hired friends instead of qualified candidates in key positions.
"There's a lot of nepotism and cronyism," he said. "There's been a fair amount of that from the beginning.
"People were being brought in who weren't the best qualified, but were brought in by the director so they would do what he wanted, I guess."
...The tipping point seems to have come when Hammond hired the Rev. Bob Atwell. ... That staff person was supposed to be approved by trustees. Instead, Hammond hired Atwell as a senior associate for administration, without approval.
Hammond was hired in 2007 to replace Bob Reccord, who resigned amid mismanagement allegations.