DALLAS (BP) — Mission:Dignity recipients received a welcome increase in their October assistance payments with the neediest among them seeing their monthly grant amounts grow by 12 percent to $450 for singles and $600 for couples.
Qualified individuals receiving the largest payouts must have at least 25 years of Southern Baptist ministerial service and must meet guidelines for income and assets. Eligible recipients with at least 10 years of full-time, salaried Southern Baptist service receive $225 per month, if single, and couples receive $300.
“Since 1918, GuideStone has been on a mission to help retired Southern Baptist pastors and their widows in meeting their basic needs,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “This step helps ensure that these dear soldiers of the cross will have the comfort and dignity they’ve earned in their declining years.”
The increases are possible as more and more Southern Baptist churches and members have embraced and supported the program, GuideStone noted.
Mission:Dignity will now pay out a little more than $7 million annually to more than 1,800 recipients. GuideStone receives no Cooperative Program funding for Mission:Dignity, and no GuideStone Funds underwrite the ministry. All proceeds come from the gifts of individuals, local churches and Sunday school classes; 100 percent of all gifts go directly to the aid of recipients.
Additionally, individuals and churches who purchase either of O.S. Hawkins’ recent books, “The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know” and “The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer,” support the ministry. All royalties benefit Mission:Dignity. Both books are available at amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and many other bookstores.
John Ambra, director of development for Mission:Dignity, said he invites new and currently participating churches, groups and individuals to grow with Mission:Dignity by increasing their donations to reflect the increased amounts.
“Through the years, many donors have chosen to fully underwrite the support for an individual or a couple by sending a donation each month that matches the payout amount,” Ambra said. “Of course, gifts of any amount are welcome, and 100 percent of contributions still go to those in need with nothing ever used for operating costs.
“Those monthly gifts sustain the ministry throughout the year and are so appreciated. We’re encouraging donors to prayerfully consider updating their budgets for the coming year. By growing with us now, Mission:Dignity will be well-positioned to care for the needs of those on whose legacy we stand today.”