By Shannon Baker, BaptistLIFE Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—Keith Hammer, former executive pastor and elder at Riva Trace Baptist Church (RTBC) in Davidsonville, Md., has joined the staff of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network/BCMD. He will serve in the area of church strengthening.
“Not only does Keith Hammer bring great ministry and corporate experience, but also a strong Christian character and servant attitude,” Will McRaney, executive missional strategist for the Network, said. “His extensive experience in local church leadership and in high capacity corporate roles will add great value as the Network seeks to strengthen our churches’ capacities to love our neighbors and share Christ in this great Mid-Atlantic region.”
For 14 years in his role as executive pastor, Hammer managed staff and ministry leaders as well as coordinated and facilitated strategic planning in several areas. Also in charge of finances, facilities and operations, Hammer served as project lead for the funding, construction and relocation of the church to a new 65,000 square foot facility in 2006.
During that time, he served for around four years on the Network’s Leadership Development and Support Team and as the point leader for the hosting of the Global Leadership Summit at RTBC.
Since 2002, he also has served as a certified regional and national instructor for “Walk Thru the Bible,” an organization that teaches biblical doctrines, primarily through an innovative, interactive seminar format. He is a certified life coach through CoachNet and a marriage counselor through Prepare & Enrich ministries. Most recently he has served as consultant/coach at The Caleb Advisory Group, a ministry he started to help pastors and other leaders have greater success in their endeavors.
Prior to beginning his service as an executive pastor, Hammer gained over 15 years of corporate experience as manager and executive in high growth environments, leading both small project teams and large departments. He served in the role of chief information and technology officer in companies such as Mars Music, a start-up and rapidly growing specialty retailer, and Crown Books/Dart Group, a group of retail chains. He also served as director of corporate systems at Circuit City where he provided business solutions for the corporate staff during the company’s growth from $240 million in sales to $6 billion in sales.
“My role as a senior IT (information technology) executive provided me with a unique window into all of the other various internal departments that we served and the ‘big picture’ of how everything fit together and could be better integrated,” Hammer said.
Hammer said God used the book “Halftime (Moving from Success to Significance)” by Bob Buford to serve as a catalyst to call him into pastoral ministry for the second half of his life.
“During those 20 years [in the IT field], I led Bible studies, taught adult classes, hosted small groups, and served as an elder in two churches. While doing so I received much confirmation from others of the fruit that God’s gifting was producing in the lives of those that I was serving,” said Hammer. “After committing it to prayer along with my wife and seeking the counsel of a number of godly men in my life that I respected the most and knew me the best, God confirmed His call to pastoral ministry.”
Since following God’s call, Hammer has earned a Certificate in Biblical Studies from Capital Bible Seminary, Lanham, Md., and a Masters of Divinity degree from Rockbridge Seminary. He completed the executive program in managing information technology from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and has an undergraduate business management degree from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
He and his wife Janice, who he met in youth group, recently celebrated their 35th anniversary. They have three adult children, Dan, Mark, and Sarah, and four grandchildren, Amanda, 6; Logan, 4; Caroline, 3; and Isaiah, 1.