DULUTH — The Search Committee selected to nominate the Executive Director for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board has announced that Thomas Hammond, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Alpharetta since 2013, is the individual they believe God would have serve in that strategic office.
The Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Committee will need to vote to approve the search team’s recommendation at their next meeting on September 11 in order to make it official. The Alpharetta pastor would succeed the much-beloved J. Robert White who has held the office since January 1993.
Bob Jolly, pastor of First Baptist Church, Cumming and chairman of the Search Team, made the announcement by reporting, “The CEO Search Committee began with an intentional season of prayer and God led this committee to unite as a team with the purpose of bringing a visionary leader to the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
“We are convinced that our nominee has the relational skills to bind our convention together under the Lord’s mandate found in the Great Commission to win the lost, disciple believers, and take the Gospel to the Nations.”
The Search Team chairman continued, “Therefore, we are united and honored to recommend Thomas Hammond to be the next Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
“Thomas brings a passion to win the lost, a deep respect and love for pastors, and a vision for the future of Georgia Baptists. Thomas comes with a heart for serving ethnic churches, encouraging young pastors, and equipping all churches of all sizes to share the Gospel with the lost."
Hammond would bring a wealth of experience to the role for which he will be recommended. He has provided outstanding leadership for First Baptist Church of Alpharetta. During his pastorate at the Fulton County church he has led the congregation to be among the top ten fastest-growing churches in the Georgia Baptist Convention in the large church category for three years, planted two churches with plans to launch a third this month, and invested heavily in starting new churches.
At Alpharetta Hammond has increased the Cooperative Program giving of the church from one percent to six percent. The church budget has increased by 25 percent in the course of his pastorate and has been the top giving and top baptizing church in Roswell Baptist Association since his first year as pastor.
In 2015 First Baptist Alpharetta added two worship services and in 2017 the church became debt free. From 2013 to 2018 the church has baptized over 250 people.
In addition to his current pastorate, Hammond has served the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee as the Vice President for Convention Advancement and Senior Director of Church Evangelism for the North American Mission Board. At NAMB Hammond supervised teams for Personal Evangelism, Event Evangelism, Prayer Evangelism, and Student Evangelism.
During his 13 years at the North American Mission Board, Hammond led in the development of Evangelism Resources for the Southern Baptist Convention, directed Crossover events in SBC Annual Meeting Host Cities, and led in the creation and implementation of GPS: God’s Plan for Sharing, National Evangelism Strategy.
Additionally, Hammond has served as a director of missions, minister of evangelism at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, and evangelism associate for the Ohio Baptist Convention.
The search team’s nominee has served as the president of the Georgia Baptist Convention and led Baptist churches to implement The Big Invite and the Pastor Prayer Network. He has also served as a trustee at Truett McConnell University and LifeWay Christian Resources.
Hammond is a graduate of Augusta State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He has a Master of Divinity from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis and was the president of the school’s National Alumni Association from 2011 to 2017.
Thomas is married to the former Kerri Russ and the Hammonds have two daughters: Katie Elizabeth, who has earned a doctor of Physical Therapy Degree from Samford University and is now practicing her profession in Athens, and Karley Marie, a senior in the School of Business at Berry College in Rome.
Thomas Hammond’s dad, now gone on to be with the Lord, was a pastor in Georgia for many years. Many have observed that the sons of pastors often have a spiritual intuition about people and the ministry that serves them well if God choses to call them into Gospel service.
The Search Team’s choice has a winsome personality, a love for the Lord, a love for the church, and a love for the lost. He has the ability to relate to all generations and ethnicities, a vision for Georgia Baptists, and a wealth of experience on every level of Baptist life. He has the ability to smile and keep a lot of plates spinning at the same time and that will come in handy in the significant role for which he is being recommended.