Executive Director Thomas Hammond addresses the Executive Committee in September. SCOTT BARKLEY/Index
DULUTH — During Thomas Hammond’s Executive Director report to the Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Committee meeting Sept. 11, he broke form just a little.
His goal, Hammond explained, was for the Mission Georgia offering to essentially become a love offering for the state.
“We want to create a state missions offering designed to help churches meet the needs of Georgians so that we will also share the Gospel with those people,” he said. The plan will include working with business leaders and public officials to address key areas of concern that affect Georgians – and by obvious extension – Georgia Baptists.
Sounding more like his fellow preachers in the room rather than the measured words associated with a state exec, he gave examples of how Mission Georgia could impact the state.
“I’ve met with the governor and his wife and know the passion she has for foster care and adoption,” he said. “We have the people, resources, and money.
“What would happen if Georgia Baptists knew we had the means to help … 15,000 children right now [in a situation] through no fault of their own? We should not turn away from that. We should run to the need.
“We should say to the state, ‘We’re followers of Christ. We’ll take the babies.’”
Such steps have become representative of Hammond’s first year as executive director. Beginning with an announcement at the beginning of the year, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board has reshaped itself to – as Hammond has repeated – honor pastors as heroes, make churches the priority, and Georgia the mission field.
His Executive Director’s report at the annual meeting, slated for Tuesday morning, will go into the Restructuring in more detail. His Mission Georgia report that afternoon will further explain how churches can be a part of sharing the Gospel while helping address some serious societal issues.
5 points of emphasis for Mission Georgia
“The morning report will focus on how we have been and will continue to strengthen pastors, churches, and their families,” Hammond told The Index recently. “At the listening sessions we heard pastors telling us what they needed. We responded to that and this is what we’ve built. We want them to come to the annual meeting to discover how this new approach will be.”
That afternoon the attention will turn to Mission Georgia. Five emphases the state missions offering will address are:
- Foster care/adoption
- Human trafficking
- Pre-post natal care for uninsured mothers.
“We’re also looking forward and seeing how we can strengthen our ability to help Georgians battling addictions,” Hammond added. “Penfield Christian Homes has been doing a marvelous job with this, but we want to increase our ability to answer that need.
While the offering has been supplemented by the state budget in the past, Hammond is calling for Georgia Baptist churches to instead commit $1,000 toward the effort.
“Can you imagine what would happen to our state if 3,600 churches committed to that?” he asked. “The result would be mind-boggling.”
Joining churches in their ministry
Hammond stressed that the steps in the Restructuring are designed to identify where Georgia Baptist churches are at work and provide resources to do those jobs more effectively. In cases where churches want to be involved but lack logistical know-how to do so, the Mission Board will help handle that as well.
“I want every Georgia Baptist and every Georgia Baptist pastor to join us in launching the Restructuring to better respond to the needs of pastors and churches. It’s focused on helping churches minister to the needs of Georgians in the name of Christ for the purposes of showing and sharing the love of Christ.
“We want to be engaged and involved in helping heal the hurts of Georgians and share the Gospel with them.”