ALPHARETTA – Georgia Baptist Convention President Thomas Hammond is a visionary leader with more ideas than a football stadium full of inventors and entrepreneurs.
If you were to go into his office on the campus of First Baptist Church Alpharetta you would see a rather large space with desks and books, acrylic boards and magic markers where Hammond writes his sermon outlines. This is where he charts his vision for the church and projects his plans for the Georgia Baptist Convention meeting in the fall.
Hammond is a thinker, a dreamer, a visionary, an almost quixotic character. His idealistic dreams are driven by a faith that endeavors to convert everyone to Christianity. In a society based on drugs, sex, anarchy, and depravity, Hammond still believes the world can be reconciled to God and wickedness can be defeated.
Hammond is so likable and positive he makes all those who know him believe victory is on the horizon and that the most hopeless sinner can be rescued from the clutches of Satan. He wants to see Georgia Baptists win in the battle for souls.
Uniting to win
Under Hammond’s leadership last November’s annual meeting was one of the most inspiring and challenging Convention sessions in memory. The meeting was accented by the song of the most charming cowgirl in the country, Elizabeth Bailey, the appearance of Black Hawk Down Ranger, Jeff Struecker, and Georgia Tech football chaplain Derrick Moore.
The theme of the year was “Unite Georgia,” facilitated by five Georgia Baptist Pastors’ Luncheons, an emphasis on pastors connecting in prayer for one another and a shared vision and passion to win the lost in Georgia.
Numerous pastors have testified that the prayer connections with other pastors have been a godsend. Pastors need prayer support and fellowship with other pastors who can encourage them and make them accountable.
Recent surveys indicate that:
- 90 percent of pastors work 55-75 hours a week.
- 80 percent of pastors say the ministry negatively affected their family
- 33 percent of pastors say the ministry is an outright hazard to family life
Unite Georgia was all about encouragement, prayer and unity.
This year’s theme will be “Win Georgia,” with a more pronounced effort to win the lost and baptize new believers. Hammond is seeking to rally Georgia Baptist pastors to continue striving for unity and significantly push back the lostness across the state.
Additional luncheons are being planned for pastors across Georgia this year. President Hammond and the GBC vice presidents will be hosting these meetings. The following luncheons have been already been confirmed.
- Monday, Aug. 14 – Thomas Hammond (Pres.)/FBCA, Alpharetta
- Thursday, Sept. 14 – Rick Statham (4th VP)/Salem BC, McDonough
- Monday, Oct. 16 – Levi Skipper (3rd VP)/Concord BC, Clermont
- Monday, Oct. 23 – Jim Perdue (1st VP)/Second BC, Warner Robins
- Tuesday, Oct. 24 – Joey Taylor (2nd VP)/Springhead BC, Adel
Pushing back against lost influence
These pastor prayer luncheons will help prepare the way for a momentous and God-honoring Georgia Baptist Convention, when hundreds of messengers and guests gather in Lawrenceville’s North Metro Baptist Church Nov. 12-14 for the Convention’s annual meeting.
GBC President Hammond stated, “Our state is becoming increasingly lost. And as the percentage of lost people grows, so does their influence. As this trend continues a secular worldview becomes more widely accepted than the biblical worldview.
“The only thing that can stop this is the Gospel. We must proclaim the gospel for the sake of souls.
“My hope and prayer is when we meet together in November, we will experience a defining moment that will kindle our passion for sharing the gospel like never before and result in a tremendous harvest. Win Georgia!”