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GuideStone underscores disability aid

DALLAS (BP)–The numbers tell a moving story of lives touched during difficult times through the Church Retirement Plan of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention:

— Since 2002, GuideStone has paid out more than $30.4 million in disability benefits to nearly 1,500 retirement plan participants who were no longer able to work.

— An additional $29.9 million was paid in survivor protection benefits to 1,277 families of participants who died while active in the Church Retirement Plan.

The Church Retirement Plan’s protection section, which is free to eligible participants, includes a disability income benefit — up to $500 per month if the participant becomes disabled — and a survivor protection benefit of up to $100,000 payable upon death to the participant’s family.

Eligible participants accrue protection benefits as they begin to make contributions to the Church Retirement Plan. Twelve consecutive monthly contributions are required to receive full protection benefits. If a participant has less than 12 consecutive monthly contributions and dies or becomes disabled, protection section benefits are prorated.

During rocky financial times, as church budgets tighten and many church leaders forego salary increases, some participants may be tempted to suspend their retirement plan contributions. While it may seem like a small thing to cease retirement contributions, the impact to the participant’s protection section benefits creates a doubly negative impact. Not only do participants experience the opportunity cost of investments not made that could have accrued additional shares, but they also lose their full protection section benefits.

“We know of no other retirement plan for ministers and churches that provides this type of protection and assistance at absolutely no cost to the participant or the church,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “GuideStone works in concert with the state conventions to provide these valuable benefits.”

GuideStone participants who have had to make use of the disability income benefit and survivor protection benefit frequently say the benefits may mean the difference between paying everyday expenses — food, shelter, medicine -— and not.

Haven Bailey was one such beneficiary. A pastor’s wife in Ware Shoals, S.C., she and her husband Tim had four young children. Tim, a healthy 34-year-old, and the kids were playing along the Saluda River near their home when he had to jump in to save two of their children. Tim died during the May 2005 rescue.

With the protection section benefits, coupled with life insurance Tim had purchased from GuideStone, Haven and her children were able to remain financially secure while dealing with Tim’s sudden passing.

The benefits from GuideStone helped the family to buy groceries and to survive, Haven noted.

“For the first two months [after the accident], I was just in shock,” she told GuideStone in 2006. “GuideStone stepped in very quickly and took care of everything.”

Haven’s story is one of scores GuideStone hears of every week.

“Unlike secular companies who are primarily interested in turning a profit, GuideStone is a ministry focused on the needs of the pastors at the crossroads,” Hawkins said. “Our purpose is to come alongside our churches and help their ministers and staff members plan for the future.”

For more information on GuideStone’s Church Retirement Plan, or to ask about eligibility for protection section benefits, visit the www.GuideStone.org website or call 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433).
Roy Hayhurst is senior marketing communications editor for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    About the Author

  • Roy Hayhurst

    Roy Hayhurst is director of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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