ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–In one of his first actions as the North American Mission Board’s new president, Geoff Hammond appointed Roy Fish -– the board’s interim president for the past year -– as “ambassador-at-large.”
“Generations of Southern Baptists have been stirred to share Christ through the godly influence of Dr. Fish,” Hammond said, “and we are honored to continue to have him on the NAMB team.”
Hammond said Fish will speak in churches and at NAMB events representing the president’s office, noting “I regard him as an SBC treasure!”
Fish was “a strong voice of stability and credibility at NAMB” as interim president, Hammond said. “NAMB staff and missionaries quickly embraced him and responded to his leadership. Our churches and partners welcomed him as a passionate preacher and leader, and Southern Baptists owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Fish for his willingness to assume this new responsibility.”
Fish, a longtime evangelism professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, had Hammond as one of his students.
As NAMB’s interim president, Fish noted, “I didn’t have one unpleasant experience. Relating to the people of NAMB and the missionaries was an incomparable experience. I had a sense of the divine when I made the decision to leave the seminary and come to NAMB.
“I look forward to representing Geoff and the board when he is unable to perform some duty because he’s terribly busy or any other reason. I want to be there and stand in his stead.”
Fish said one thing he learned about NAMB, even as a lifelong Southern Baptist, was that “there is far more extensive work under way at NAMB than I ever dreamed.”
Delivering sermons at missionary commissionings were among the highlights of the past year, Fish said.
“Commissionings did rank as high as anything I did. But I also considered it an unparalleled opportunity when speaking to any Southern Baptists for the board or even producing videos,” he said. “Addressing last year’s SBC annual meeting in Greensboro was also a high point,” said Fish, who plans to attend this year’s annual meeting in San Antonio in June.
Fish said he also enjoyed re-connecting with dozens of his former Southwestern Seminary evangelism students while speaking across the country, whether at the commissioning services or at state conventions and evangelism conferences.
Fish now plans to have a bit more time at home in Fort Worth with his wife of 47 years, Jeanie, and the mother of their four grown children: a daughter, who is a missionary in Thailand, a son, who is a pastor; another son, who teaches at Baylor University; and a second daughter, who teaches at a Christian college in Arkansas. The Fishes have 11 grandchildren. They, along with fishing, are his only hobbies.
On the future of NAMB under Hammond, Fish sees bright days ahead.
“I think Geoff is God’s man for sure for that position. I don’t think anybody could fit the position any better than Dr. Hammond. I think he will have a sense of design leading him in the way he fulfils his vision for NAMB. I’m tremendously encouraged about the board’s future. I see nothing but the positive for NAMB’s future and the people who work there.”