After his last day of work June 17, Hamilton said he will give full attention to a national network he has launched to strengthen and start churches and to pastoring Journey Church, which he planted 18 months ago in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Garvon Goldon, associate executive director of the Dakota convention, has been named interim executive director "to lead our convention in navigating these changes," according to an Executive Board news release. Golden also is the DBC's southwest regional missionary and Sharing Christ strategist.
"Dr. Hamilton has served our Convention as Executive Director for eight years, and we appreciate his service," Executive Board chairman Paul Young wrote in the letter sent June 8 to the 94 churches that comprise the Dakota convention. Young is pastor of Dakota Baptist Church in Fort Totten, N.D.
The impact of Hamilton's influence on ministry in the Dakotas includes an increase in Cooperative Program receipts six of the last seven years, and they are on track for a year-to-date increase, DBC records show.
The 2010-11 budget calls for $265,000 to be given through the Cooperative Program, "and we're meeting that," Hamilton said. "Baptisms have been up; ACP stats have been up in several categories. I think God has done some good things in our churches and our people during the last years.
"Looking back, I think we can say we've seen God do something significant in the Dakotas during the eight years I've been executive director," Hamilton continued before explaining the reason for his resignation. "I came to the place of recognizing that I needed to choose between my exec role and this new direction. I'm not sure what that means yet, but I know it means shifting to consulting and coaching roles as well as getting back to the local church as a pastor."
Journey Church, started by Hamilton in late 2009 as "a downtown church for the city," meets in Sioux City's Gourley Building. About 70 people now participate in Sunday morning worship.
Journey Church is the third church Hamilton has helped plant during his eight years in the Dakotas.
"For the last 20 years I've had a passion for planting churches," Hamilton said. "I think new churches reach people who are aren't attending an established church. Church planting equals reaching people."
In its press release, the Executive Board requested prayer for Hamilton and his family, for DBC staff and "for our Convention as God leads us into His plan for our future."
Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Dakota Baptist Connections, Louisiana Baptist Message and The Montana Baptist newsjournals.
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