COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) — Calling 2015 the “Year of Efficiency” at GuideStone Financial Resources, O.S. Hawkins, president, shared positive reports from each of the ministry areas at GuideStone.
Hawkins praised GuideStone’s staff for the various ways they have sought to make the organization more efficient for the benefit of GuideStone’s 220,000 participants.
“There’s a difference between being effective and efficient,” Hawkins said. “Being effective is the ability to achieve our objectives, and we seek to do that every day. Being efficient is the ability to achieve our objectives with the minimum amount of time, resources and people.”
For the fourth year in a row, GuideStone Funds was honored with a Lipper Fund Award. For the second year in a row, the Extended-Duration Bond Fund was honored as the top fund in its category for both the three- and five-year periods ending Nov. 30, 2014. In 2013, GuideStone’s MyDestination 2025 Fund received top honors for the three-year period ending Nov. 30, 2012. In 2012, GuideStone Funds was ranked the No. 1 mutual fund company with up to $40 billion in assets for its figures as of Nov. 30, 2011.
Additionally, GuideStone Funds was once again, for the 17th consecutive quarter, ranked among the top 25 percent of mutual fund companies in the United States by fi360. GuideStone is one of only 10 mutual fund companies that can make that claim.
“We’ve got an incredible group of folks in our investment team who are working daily to get all of us to a place of vocational retirement with a sense of financial security,” Hawkins said. “The folks at GuideStone are competing against the world’s best, and they’re beating them.”
Additionally, Hawkins spoke to GuideStone Funds’ availability to church members, reminding pastors that this offers economies of scale to keep services and products competitive.
Ninety-eight percent of Group Health Plans participants have renewed coverage from 2014 to 2015, with 99 percent of participants renewing group dental, life and disability coverage, Hawkins said.
“Our health program remains strong,” he said, adding that GuideStone still continues to advocate on behalf of pastors and churches related to issues of religious liberty in the health plans GuideStone offers.
GuideStone remains involved in litigation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act. Currently, GuideStone has a legal injunction that has protected hundreds of ministries from millions of dollars in potential penalties.
Wellness remains a challenge for Southern Baptists — half of the claims GuideStone pays are for preventable diseases. Hawkins cited two people who came through the free Wellness Center that GuideStone offers each year during the Southern Baptist Convention; both men were found to have diabetes and were not aware.
Property and casualty
“No one knows the church better than GuideStone,” Hawkins said. “We’ve had tremendous success in this arena.”
GuideStone makes available property and casualty coverage through Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. For more information, visit GuideStonePropertyCasualty.org.
Hawkins harkened back to GuideStone’s roots. At its founding, the ministry was principally a relief agency founded to aid “old soldiers of the cross” who needed help in their declining years. Mission:Dignity remains the cornerstone of GuideStone’s ministry.
Hawkins noted that in only a few years, monthly assistance grants have grown from $50 per month to $600 each month for the neediest couples.
Mission:Dignity Sunday is the fourth Sunday each June. Churches that want to celebrate Mission:Dignity Sunday can order materials by visiting MissionDignity.org. Materials are undated so as to allow churches to use them anytime.
“We’re on a mission to provide dignity to some forgotten folks,” Hawkins said. “That’s those folks who have served out on the highway and hedges and are now in financial need.
“One of the things we are so thankful for is that we have raised over $100 million for Mission:Dignity over the last 15 years and been able to come alongside these dear folks.”
Hawkins also mentioned the scores of churches that have used “The Joshua Code” or “The Jesus Code” in churchwide emphases; all author proceeds benefit Mission:Dignity. Additionally, a new book, “The James Code,” will come out in November; author proceeds for that book will also benefit Mission:Dignity.
“It’s a beautiful way to be Christ’s hand extended,” Hawkins said.
GuideStone recognized three churches with the Harold and Judy Vick Mission:Dignity Church Award for their ongoing partnership with Mission:Dignity. Churches honored were Prestonwood Baptist Church of Plano, Texas; Providence Baptist Church of Opelika, Alabama and Crosspoint Church of Whitesboro, New York.
Prestonwood is the second church, following Sagemont Church of Houston, to give more than $1 million to Mission:Dignity. Providence has provided a monthly gift to Mission:Dignity since May 1989, and Crosspoint has given to Mission:Dignity for 20 consecutive years.