|NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- W. Thomas Hammond Jr. was approved as vice president for convention advancement during the Executive Committee's Feb. 20-21 meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Hammond comes to the Executive Committee from the North American Mission Board, where he served most recently as team leader for "GPS: God's Plan for Sharing," a national evangelism initiative.
Hammond arrived at NAMB in 1997 as director of church evangelism and left in 2005 to serve as director of missions for the Metrolina Baptist Association in Charlotte, N.C. He returned to NAMB in 2006 as senior director of evangelism, serving in that role until this year.
Before his time at NAMB, Hammond was an evangelism pastor at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Ga., for five years, worked in the evangelism department of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio for a year and was a hospital chaplain for three years.
Since 1998, Hammond has been an interim pastor for 12 churches.
Hammond earned a bachelor of business administration from Augusta State University in Georgia and a master of divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tenn.
As vice president for convention advancement, Hammond will seek ways to advance the work of the Southern Baptist Convention in general and the Executive Committee specifically, including:
-- Oversee Cooperative Program development and stewardship promotion. Hammond will be involved in the creation of a nationwide process for CP development and will work with state convention personnel in this role.
-- Develop and implement strategies for the involvement and participation of those identifying with various ethnic groups within the convention. He will work to enhance relationships with people identifying with various special interest groups within the convention.
-- Develop relationships with demographic subsets such as young ministers, small church pastors and mega-church pastors, regularly assisting the Executive Committee president in expanding his outreach to various constituencies.
-- Oversee the Global Evangelical Relations ministry.
In a three-year plan toward receiving full reimbursement from the Pastors' Conference for use of the SBC annual meeting facilities, the Executive Committee voted to increase the reimbursement stipulation of $50,000 last year (up from $38,000 in 2010) to $100,000 for 2013, $150,000 for 2014 and a full reimbursement for all costs by 2015.
The Executive Committee also asked EC staff to "continue to document the variable cost attributed to the Pastors' Conference and annually request a written financial report be provided by the Pastors' Conference leadership by August 10 to the Executive Committee for review during its September meeting."
The Pastors' Conference has paid a $38,000 reimbursement since the 1992 SBC annual meeting in Indianapolis while its costs have risen over the years to $201,000 last year in Phoenix, for example, and $179,000 in 2010 in Orlando, Fla. The balance has been paid from Cooperative Program funds in the SBC Operating Budget.
Bryant Wright, who serves on the Executive Committee as SBC president, voiced concern that a pastor elected as Pastors' Conference president, as well as the church he leads, could face difficulty in raising funds for the increased reimbursement.
Colorado pastor Mike Routt, chairman of the EC's Business and Finance Subcommittee, recounted that the 2011 Pastors' Conference in Phoenix secured added funding through 10 vendors that each paid $10,000 to be on site and through gifts from various larger churches in the SBC.
Wright, a former Pastors' Conference president, noted that the income received by the conference was not used solely for expenses but also was distributed to missions causes (helping with the translation of the "JESUS" film into an unreached people group's language in the Arabian Peninsula and conducting pastors' conferences on two continents, encompassing about 20 countries).
Wright also said a future Pastors' Conference president may not be comfortable raising extra funds to cover conference costs and thus he and the church he serves could face "a huge financial responsibility" under the new reimbursement levels.
California pastor Roger Spradlin, chairman of the Executive Committee, commended the missions aims of last year's Pastors' Conference though noting it nevertheless was "subsidized by the Executive Committee. Money that we're going to spend, we should be in charge of -- if we want it to go to church planting or whatever. ... So that's the difficulty of the situation," Spradlin said.
In other business, the Executive Committee, in its Feb. 20-21 sessions: Continued...