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Helping pastors start and stay well to finish well serves as theme of GuideStone president’s report

Hance Dilbeck addresses messengers at the SBC Annual Meeting. Photo by Adam Covington


INDIANAPOLIS (BP) — Helping ministers achieve financial security and resilience so they can focus on their ministry calling served as a key theme in GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck’s report to the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting June 13.

Dilbeck shared that in 2023, GuideStone paid out more than $1.6 billion to and for members in the form of medical and life insurance claims, disability and survivor benefits, retirement accounts, annuities, IRAs and personal investment accounts.

“We are honored to have this kind of impact on the financial security of our members, and we believe in the depth of our being that this level of financial support is helping thousands of ministers to stay in the work, persevering under adversity, to faithfully fulfill their calling until the Lord Jesus declares their race complete.”

Central to the heart of GuideStone’s mission is Mission:Dignity, a program designed to provide relief to retired ministers, spouses and widows under financial duress. In 2023, donors gave $12.2 million through Mission:Dignity. No administrative costs come out of the gifts; 100 percent of donations through Mission:Dignity go to help retired ministers and their families or their widows.

“Through Mission:Dignity, we’re helping to remove or at least lighten someone’s pain and distress of financial burden,” said Dilbeck. “I think there are fewer callings closer to the heart of God.” 

Dilbeck summarized highlights of a strong 2023 for GuideStone, including helping members achieve over $1 billion in new retirement savings for the first time in the organization’s history, 21 of 22 mutual funds attaining a three-star rating or better, bringing all proxy voting in-house to bolster faith-aligned investing, and being recognized as a 2024 Gallup Exceptional Workplace award winner.

Pastor and minister wellness across different life stages also received prominent emphasis, with Dilbeck underscoring that GuideStone seeks to partner with members and ministry partners to help ministers start well and stay well so they can finish well.

Dilbeck shared Grey Matter research findings revealing that 76% of GuideStone member ministers wish they had started preparing for retirement at a younger age and 80 percent reported sacrificing their own well-being for their ministry work.

“The median age for those who open a GuideStone account is 41,” said Dilbeck. “Starting earlier will always put you in a better position.”

Citing additional research results, Dilbeck pointed out that about one-third of surveyed member pastors said that financial wellness served as their greatest challenge, with physical and mental health being close behind. According to Dilbeck, these findings amplify the need for better pastor self-care.

“Self-care is not selfish, it’s strategic,” said Dilbeck. “Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, but he does not call us to neglect ourselves. The Bible in fact commands us to pay careful attention to ourselves and to the doctrine and to manage our own households well. So, it’s an act of obedience and wise stewardship to take care of ourselves – physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.”

Illustrating GuideStone’s commitment to providing helpful, relevant resources, Dilbeck mentioned the Pastor Resources available at GuideStone.org/pastor, containing videos and articles to address common challenges pastors face. He also highlighted the launch of a retirement readiness tool this year at MyGuideStone.org

“Over 10,000 of you have already utilized this tool to help you track where you stand in your retirement journey,” said Dilbeck. “We’re constantly updating this tool and hope that you’ll take advantage of it.” 

During his remarks, Dilbeck recalled that he met two pastors while traveling in the spring who exemplify how GuideStone seeks to serve its members.

“Both of them faithfully served small churches for over 30 years, and both of them said almost the same thing to me. That with humility and gratitude, they said, ‘I never made a lot of money, but my church helped me get started early, and I stayed with my retirement savings. And I recently retired.’ Both of them smiled and said, ‘I’m doing just fine.’

“That’s music to our ears,” said Dilbeck. “That’s why we do what we do. In their retirement years, these men and their wives were continuing in active ministry. They were still preaching the Gospel and serving churches. But they were free from anxiety, and they were free to serve the Lord the way they felt He was leading them.”

    About the Author

  • Chris McGee