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GuideStone trustees adopt long-range plan

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–GuideStone 100, a long-range plan to guide GuideStone Financial Services of the Southern Baptist Convention to its centennial year in 2018, was adopted by trustees during their Aug. 1-2 meeting in Orlando, Fla.

GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins told trustees, “The increasingly competitive financial services industry demands that we think strategically.”

Hawkins noted, “Recent Southern Baptist Convention approvals have given us unprecedented opportunities to re-brand our products and services within our Southern Baptist constituency, as well as reach out to additional markets through other evangelical churches and ministry organizations.”

Hawkins said the GuideStone 100 long-range plan “will further enable us to fulfill the mandate of our vision statement,” which states that the SBC entity exists “to honor the Lord by being a LifePartner with our participants in enhancing their financial security.”

“In every decision we make, we look through the lens of our vision statement to focus on the pastor at the crossroads,” Hawkins said.

GuideStone 100 is organized in three phases that coincide with future dates — GuideStone 90—2008, GuideStone 95—2013 and GuideStone 100—2018 -– to set forth a 13-year vision for strategic objectives that emphasize advancing the Kingdom of God while enhancing participants’ financial and physical well-being.

Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones told trustees that “initiatives related to GuideStone 90 are focused on strengthening GuideStone’s lifelong partnership with its participants and establish GuideStone as a known provider of employee benefit products among Southern Baptist and evangelical ministry organizations.”

GuideStone 95, Jones continued, envisions GuideStone becoming a leading provider of employee benefit products among Southern Baptist and evangelical ministry organizations, while GuideStone 100 envisions GuideStone as the premier provider of financial services for Southern Baptist and other evangelical ministry organizations.

Jones, in further amplifying GuideStone 90, told trustees that the first phase “will not raise fees or impact medical rates for our participants. When fully implemented, we believe GuideStone 90 will ultimately reduce overall costs to our participants and add value.”

Trustee chairman Dale Patterson of Mississippi recounted to trustees the involvement of a trustee task force he had previously appointed to work alongside staff in developing GuideStone 100. Patterson emphasized that the task force met with staff over the past six months to thoroughly discuss each phase of the 13-year plan.

“The trustee task force has studied the financial and resource implications and unanimously endorse GuideStone 100,” Pattersons said.

Hawkins reiterated, “Every decision we make as trustees and staff must be considered in terms of our vision statement. We must always ask, ‘Will this decision enhance the financial security of the pastor at the crossroads and our other participants?’”

Following a time of discussion, trustees passed a resolution to adopt GuideStone 100. Additional details about the initiative were not released by GuideStone in time for Baptist Press’ deadline Aug. 3.

In other business, Samuel E. Stohner, GuideStone executive officer for organizational development and strategic planning, and Douglas D. Day, executive officer for benefit services, reported on the progress of healthcare plans for 2006.

“While we were pleased to give good news to our medical plan participants for 2005,” Stohner said, “the news for 2006 is even better. The majority of our participants will see rate decreases or no increase for 2006.” More complete information regarding benefit rates and structures will be announced soon, Stohner and Day said.

Trustee investment committee chairman Oliver Allred of New Mexico provided an update on the performance of the investment funds available to GuideStone participants.

“We are pleased to announce that as of June 30, 2005, 10 of the 13 retirement investment funds turned in a positive performance for the year and all 13 funds have positive returns since their inception on Aug. 27, 2001,” Allred said, with detailed information on investment performance to be released in an upcoming GuideStone news release.

The trustees’ relief committee added 199 recipients to the financial assistance roll during the first six months of 2005. They approved six two-year monthly grants and four two-year expense grants. Sixty-five applicants were declined because they did not meet the relief guidelines.

Trustees welcomed three new trustees elected during the SBC annual meeting in Nashville: Jeffrey P. Amberg of California, C. Darren Gaddis of Kentucky and George B. Walker of North Carolina.

The trustees’ next scheduled meeting is Nov. 7-8 in Dallas.
Curtis D. Sharp is executive officer, denominational and public relations services, for GuideStone Financial Resources.

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