BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — GuideStone Financial Resources is experiencing one of its best years ever across all areas of the ministry, including retirement, insurance, investments, Mission:Dignity and property and casualty, President O.S. Hawkins told Southern Baptist Convention messengers June 11.
In the entity’s first report of its second century, Hawkins noted that GuideStone continues to focus on serving participants and Southern Baptist churches.
GuideStone Funds was honored with a Lipper Fund Award as the Best Overall Small Fund Family in the United States at a March 7 dinner in New York City sponsored by Refinitiv.
The award received by GuideStone compared 222 fund families with up to $76.8 billion in assets under management, of which 29 met the standards to be considered over three years as of Nov. 30, 2018, based on risk-adjusted total return.
“We’re so grateful for that honor there in New York,” Hawkins said, noting that it bears testimony to GuideStone’s goal to “be good stewards of serving you.” He noted this was the second time in a decade Lipper had recognized GuideStone.
Acknowledging affordability continues to be a struggle due to medical inflation, Hawkins said GuideStone introduced Secure Health 3000, which provides a lower cost, true medical coverage alternative to many health-sharing ministries.
Hawkins reminded messengers of the importance of preventive care, inviting messengers to the wellness booth offered each year at the SBC annual meeting. Nearly half of all claims, he said, are for preventable diseases that could be addressed through modified diet and exercise.
Property and casualty
Fighting the scourge of sexual abuse in churches has been a focus of GuideStone’s Property & Casualty ministry in 2018 and 2019, Hawkins said.
Earlier in 2019, GuideStone and the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church hosted a webcast on preventing and responding to sexual abuse within the church. Another session will be held July 18 at First Baptist Church in Trussville, Ala., cosponsored with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.
“No one knows the church like GuideStone; no one can come beside your church and stand with you in your property and casualty needs,” Hawkins said, noting a renewal rate of 98 percent among existing P&C clients.
Hawkins noted that Vision 20/20, which has provided strategic guidance to the ministry’s work since wrapping up the GuideStone 100 long-range plan in 2018, has three main initiatives: increasing market share to achieve additional economies of scale for the benefit of pastors and others served by GuideStone; responding to changes in the marketplace; and continuing to aggressively manage costs while keeping participant service as the No. 1 focus.
The Code Series
Hawkins’ books, including The Joshua Code, The Jesus Code, The James Code, The Daniel Code, The Christmas Code, The Believer’s Code, The Easter Code and The Nehemiah Code, have sold 1.5 million copies, with all author royalties and proceeds benefitting Mission:Dignity, GuideStone’s ministry for retired pastors and their widows in financial need.
A new video curriculum for The Nehemiah Code — It’s Never Too Late for a New Beginning — debuted this year. The video series, designed for Sunday School classes and small groups, also will provide author royalties and proceeds to Mission:Dignity.
“We’re having the best year we’ve ever had,” Hawkins said. “Last year we had over 8,000 individual donors that gave and over 2,000 new donors. We’re sustaining a program for years to come with regular donors for which we’re so grateful.”
Mission:Dignity provides support to retired Southern Baptist pastors who often served out at the crossroads, without enough money to save for retirement. The neediest couples with at least 25 years of paid Southern Baptist service can receive $600 each month in payment. By the end of next year, Mission:Dignity, which will pay out more than $8 million in benefits and will have raised some $150 million since 1997.