JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (BP)–E.J. Hines can say something many other retirees -– secular and those in Christian service -–can’t say.
Thanks to his planning and consistency in saving for retirement through the years, Hines is making more money in retirement than he did as director of missions for the New River Association in Jacksonville, N.C., on the state’s southeast coastline.
Hines, 75, never was paid millions but he saved money at every opportunity.
“My second pastorate began March 6, 1960, and that was my formal introduction to the ministry of the Annuity Board [now GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention],” Hines said. “Pastors and preachers in Southern Baptist life don’t get paid a whole lot. As soon as I could, and all along the way, I asked the church to increase the amount contributed to my account.”
Hines was instrumental in starting the New River Baptist Association, where he spent 41 years in ministry.
After being called to Calvary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, he visited the pastor of First Baptist Church and talked about forming an association. Hines explained that the Atlantic Baptist Association to Jacksonville’s east and the Wilmington Baptist Association to its west encompassed Jacksonville, but the distance made it difficult for local pastors to participate in their respective associations.
Hines was elected chairman of the missions committee and, after a year, the recommendation was made to call him as what was then titled superintendent of missions, beginning on Jan. 1, 1964.
“The New River association asked the missions committee, that I chaired, to be the search committee,” Hines said. “So I was on the search committee that called me.
“The joke was that ‘Hines couldn’t preach, so he had to form an association,’” he added, laughing. “It’s been a wonderful journey -– one that has thrilled my heart.”
New River association and its churches have an important ministry point in Jacksonville in the giant Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base. More than 50,000 active duty Marines and sailors are stationed at the camp, along with 30,000 spouses and children. Another 20,000-25,000 retirees and their dependents live in the area. Hines said those 100,000-plus individuals have special ministry needs that the association and its churches seek to reach.
“Almost immediately after creating the association, we bought a large building downtown, right next to the bus station, where hundreds of sailors and Marines come in to Camp Lejeune,” Hines said. “We called it the Welcome Inn and it was a great ministry opportunity there.”
In addition to the military ministry, Hines said the association also has the state’s largest and oldest ministry to Japanese residents in the region, and they are looking at new mission opportunities in Japan.
But even in the midst of growing the ministry of New River Baptist Association, Hines did not neglect his responsibility to take care of his personal finances. An accounting major in college, Hines already was interested in personal finance.
“I began going to the conferences [when the then-Annuity Board representatives came],” he said. “I listened to become further sensitized to financial management. In the last 15 or 20 years, I began to intensify those efforts.”
Those efforts were aided by his wife’s return to work in later years, which allowed them to contribute even more to his retirement savings.
“GuideStone has provided an education for me,” he said, crediting current and past GuideStone representatives who have helped him along the way.
After his decision to retire, the transition to a new director of missions formally took about six months. Hines said he has no feelings of unfinished work; his tenure -– the longest in North Carolina history -– wrapped up Jan. 2 of this year.
“When I walked into my successor’s office [the office he had used for 18 years], I had the sensation that I was in his office, it didn’t feel like mine,” Hines said. “That was a grace … a work of God’s Spirit.”
Retirement for Hines includes staying quite busy -– he says “day off” and “vacation” were not part of his dad’s vocabulary, which wore off on him.
“Establish a plan, and do not conclude that money is evil -– even Jesus had a plan to buy the food,” Hines said as advice to younger ministers. “You must have a plan to take care of your family. You need to plant your feet firmly in the context of reality and build a strong financial foundation.
“GuideStone,” Hines said, “has the best thing going.”
Roy Hayhurst works in GuideStone Financial Resources’ communications department.