Open letter to NAMB trustees

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Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby William Thornton » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:22 am

I'm a pastor, not a mega-pastor but rather just a hacker and a plodder in the SBC hinterlands. I have consistently if not spectacularly supported the SBC through the Cooperative Program and through the Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon offerings...for decades.

While I understand that no SBC agency or institution is perfect, none seem to be as dysfunctional and rudderless as the North American Mission Board has been for the last decade or so, maybe longer.

In light of the most recent NAMB meltdown I have sent this letter to the trustee chairman. If I had email addresses for all of the trustees, I would post them here. The chairman's (Tim Patterson) email is pastortim@hbcjax.net.

I’m a pastor who has supported and given to Annie Armstrong and the Cooperative Program for decades.

NAMB’s continuing dysfunctional condition has called into question the efficacy of sending any of my church’s offerings to Atlanta because Southern Baptists deserve better than we have gotten from NAMB. I’m not mad about it but have reached a point where the same platitudes and explanations are no longer sufficient. I daresay that my church can spend our small amount of Annie Armstrong offering a lot better than NAMB can.

To repair the damage from this latest debacle, NAMB trustees need to be completely open and transparent. You can start with being frank and honest with Southern Baptists about why the leader who was highly praised just last May was sacked here in August. You can continue by disclosing how much it is costing us to replace these four employees. I am just a loney voice from the SBC hinterlands but I suggest that all NAMB trustees and staff take a substantial amount of time to shut up, sit down, and start listening to Southern Baptists. God only knows the damage that has been done to North American missions over the past few years. I hold trustees accountable for this.

I have asked the agency for email addresses for all NAMB trustees and would happily say the same things to all of them.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby johnfariss » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:05 pm

Amen, William. When will our boards start being as open and as transparent as are our churches--at least our smaller, and medium-sized churches?

John :brick:
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby Jerry_B » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:47 am

Here - here, hope you get a reply. I must be on some don't reply to him list, they used to send an acknowledgement letter, now they don't even do that.
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby trich » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:00 am

William - I posted an article on my blog expressing my support of your open letter, and had some interesting anon comments posted I thought I'd share here:

"Why did I know you would leap on this ridiculous call for "openness and transparency"?

This guy is a liberal who is as anti-SBC as anyone on that blog.

Obviously you guys don't stop to consider the legal ramifications of full disclosure of a personnel matter. The same holds true for churches in their staff relationships.

I don't think you really want full openness and transparency because sometimes its more than you bargained for."


and this one:

"Just thought you folks should know that a few of us wrote Tim Patterson today (since they posted his email address on Baptist Life) and reaffirmed our support for him and asked him to be sure NOT to publish any of the details of Hammond's resignation and/or firing.

This kind of information has no business being made public. The trustees have been empowered by the convention to deal with personnel issues and it needs to stay there.

The last thing Hammond and his family needs is a bunch of malcontent bloggers like you guys poring over every detail of his life."


and this one, in response to the previous one:

"Great idea! It is just that thinking that allowed Bob Reccord to spend millions on his pet projects that published his personal books, took him around the world promoting his own business, etc.

That thinking also paid Paige Patterson's taxidermy bills, pastry chef and renovations to Pecan Manor from CP dollars.

They love lemmings like you. Keep up the support.

What flavor kool aid are they serving you guys this week?"


I didn't know you were a "liberal"! Now that you've called for accountability from NAMB trustees, you have been unmasked as the liberal you are!
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby William Thornton » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:30 am

Yeah, Tom, I read the comments. People can think what they will but NAMB is a dysfunctional SBC agency and the problem is mostly with trustees.

It is hypocrisy for trustees to expect the SBCers who pay the bills to just shut up and keep sending money when some among them circulate personnel emails among the 57 of them and while Baptist Press and the Christian Index do major pieces on agency morale and leadership issues.

Here is the bottom line: NAMB trustees have ushered that outfit through two high-profile, costly failures within the past 40 months. Whose fault is that?

Concerning employment contracts, severance agreements, and non-disclosure agreements, trustees should initiate a policy that these are not confidential documents and are available to the people who pay the bills. Any CEO of a publicly traded corporation has such information disclosed to all shareholders. If the prospective new CEO insists on a confidential employment contract he is unworthy of the position.

Southern Baptists deserve better than we've gotten from NAMB.
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:01 am

An aside;

William writes in part "Concerning employment contracts, severance agreements, and non-disclosure agreements, trustees should initiate a policy that these are not confidential documents and are available to the people who pay the bills. Any CEO of a publicly traded corporation has such information disclosed to all shareholders. If the prospective new CEO insists on a confidential employment contract he is unworthy of the position."

Ed: William perhaps a solution would be to find a female CEO. :wink:
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby William Thornton » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:16 am

I started to put "he/she" Ed but I try to be realistic here.
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby rfuss » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:58 am

William wrote: writes:

"Yeah, Tom, I read the comments. People can think what they will but NAMB is a dysfunctional SBC agency and the problem is mostly with trustees.

It is hypocrisy for trustees to expect the SBCers who pay the bills to just shut up and keep sending money when some among them circulate personnel emails among the 57 of them and while Baptist Press and the Christian Index do major pieces on agency morale and leadership issues.

Here is the bottom line: NAMB trustees have ushered that outfit through two high-profile, costly failures within the past 40 months. Whose fault is that?

Concerning employment contracts, severance agreements, and non-disclosure agreements, trustees should initiate a policy that these are not confidential documents and are available to the people who pay the bills. Any CEO of a publicly traded corporation has such information disclosed to all shareholders. If the prospective new CEO insists on a confidential employment contract he is unworthy of the position.

Southern Baptists deserve better than we've gotten from NAMB."


rfuss: I agree with you William. But don't all the other Trustee Boards in the SBC operate under these non-transparent rules? IMB Trustees, Seminary Trustees, etc.?
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby Michael » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:09 pm

William, thanks for sharing the letter with us. I doubt you'll get a forthright response but you are representing your church well as their pastor in seeking to lead in good stewardship of mondies given toward missions.

However, Athens, Georgia is not exactly the SBC hinterlands.

Respectfully shared by one in a location that is.....
Last edited by Michael on Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby Mark » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:45 pm

Somebody anonymous, in reference to William, wrote:This guy is a liberal who is as anti-SBC as anyone on that blog...

trich,to William wrote:I didn't know you were a "liberal"! Now that you've called for accountability from NAMB trustees, you have been unmasked as the liberal you are!...

As moderates have long known, the SBC Takeover's "powers-that-be" like to operate under cloak of secrecy, and via intimidation tactics. To question anything they do runs the risk of being branded "liberal", despite a person's theology. Hate to see good people continue to be on the receiving end of such stuff.

To defuse all of this, NAMB trustees could have simply issued some kind of statement like "Dr. Hammond is dealing with some personal matters that led to his resignation..." Or something.

Regardless, we willl continue to pray for William's return to orthodoxy. :angel:
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Re: Open letter to NAMB trustees

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:47 am

Excellent letter that deserves an answer. I doubt you get it; asking questions makes you a liberal. Welcome to the way some of the rest of us first acquired the label.
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