After 35 years, GuideStone bids farewell to Chief Operating Officer Jones
By Roy Hayhurst
PLANO, Texas (BP) – Growing up in Memphis, Tenn., John R. Jones was at First Baptist Church whenever the doors were open.
“I’ve been a Southern Baptist since I was in the womb,” Jones said. “Sunday mornings were for Sunday school, Sword drills, Scripture memory, and worship. Then we’d go home for a big lunch of pot roast or ham. A Sunday afternoon nap followed, and then we returned to church for the youth choir, Training Union, and the worship service.
Wednesday nights were for Royal Ambassadors and prayer meeting after dinner.
“Other times I was up at church, spending time at our activities center, bowling, skating, shooting hoops or just hanging out with other youth,” Jones recalled. “Through RAs, I learned about our mission boards, the seminaries, the Sunday School Board and the Annuity Board. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that God was already preparing me to serve at GuideStone.”
Jones credits his godly parents – Bob and Nancy Jones, who both went home to be with the Lord in the Spring of 2022 – with an upbringing centered on the church and serving the Lord.
GuideStonetrustees, staff and special guests, including Jones’ wife of 45 years Ann, their three adult children and their spouses, celebrated Jones during a two-hour dinner Monday, Feb. 27. Jones will serve as special assistant to the executive office through the end of the year. He will be succeeded as chief operating officer by Chu Soh.
Jones marveled at how the Lord prepared him for 35 years of service at GuideStone – the past quarter of a century as chief operating officer. After graduating from high school, Jones moved to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University, where he majored in finance. Upon graduation, Jones joined an insurance company, working in its employee benefits area, becoming its youngest chartered life underwriter. He later joined a bank in its trust department trusteeing employee benefit plans. A former boss, Gordon Hobgood, then serving as the chief operating officer at the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (now GuideStone), invited Jones to lead the investments division beginning in 1989.
“It was remarkable to see how God prepared me for the role He had for me,” Jones said.
In 1997, when trustees elected O.S. Hawkins president of the Annuity Board, Hawkins set out to choose his chief operating officer.
“When I arrived at GuideStone, we faced many opportunities to ‘take something great and make it greater,’” said Hawkins, now GuideStone president emeritus. “We needed a trustworthy partner to help guide the day-to-day operation of this ministry. We would need a steady and keen business mind who could keep focused on the important work of ministry. It was clear from our earliest meetings that John Jones was the man we needed to work alongside me as we led GuideStone.”
Trustees affirm Soh as Chief Operating Officer
By Roy Hayhurst
PLANO, Texas (BP) – Chu Soh, who joined GuideStonein June 2020 as chief insurance officer, was unanimously elected chief operating officers by GuideStone trustees during their regular meeting Feb. 27-28.
Prior to coming to GuideStone, Soh served as chief operating officer of Christian Care Ministry, growing it from 23,000 households in 2013 to more than 150,000 in his final year. He is also a retired U.S. Air Force officer.
“I could not be more excited about Chu Soh joining us as chief operating officer,” GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said. “I thank God for equipping Chu for this role. He is passionate about our ministry assignment and he is passionate about our mission.”
Soh succeeds John R. Jones, who has served as chief operating officer for 25 years. Jones will become special assistant to the executive office and will retire fully at the end of 2023, having served 35 years at GuideStone.
“I hand this torch to Hance and Chu, totally confident in the future of GuideStone, and excited with what God will do through you” Jones told Soh during the trustee meeting. “I’m going to be cheering from the sidelines and relishing and observing what God will do in the future.”
Trustees affirmed Soh in his new role by laying hands on him and voiced prayers for wisdom and discernment in his new role.
Soh earned his Bachelor of Science in biology from the United States Air Force Academy, a Master of Science in sports medicine from the University of Florida College of Medicine and a doctorate in physical therapy from Baylor College of Medicine. He retired after 21 years in the Air Force; in his last role, he served as deputy group commander — equivalent to a civilian vice president — where he led 115 professionals in 10 departments at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. In addition to serving at Patrick AFB, Soh served in Germany, Japan and South Korea.
Soh came to Christ as a fifth-grade student. After moving to Kansas from South Korea as a 4-year-old boy, he began attending a Southern Baptist church each Sunday and on Wednesday evenings through its bus ministry, as his parents, Buddhists, thought it would be a good way for their children to learn English. A fifth-grade Sunday school teacher provided him with his first Bible and prayed over him and encouraged him to give his life to Christ. Ultimately, Soh’s parents came to know the Lord as their Savior as well.
Soh and his wife Karyn have four children, ranging in age from 24 to 8.
“I am excited to join with Hance in leading GuideStone into its next era of service,” Soh said. “Our members and ministry partners can rest assured of our commitment to them, to the Lord and to this ministry we have received through Southern Baptists from Him.”
GuideStone taps Nadeena Kersey as new Chief Insurance Officer
By Roy Hayhurst
PLANO, Texas (BP) – GuideStonetrustees unanimously elected Nadeena Kersey as chief insurance officer during their regular meeting February 27–28.
Kersey succeeds Chu Soh, who was promoted to chief operating officer.
In her role, she will provide executive leadership and oversight to the insurance line of business, including product development, sales and marketing, services and operations of life and health plans, property and casualty coverage and ancillary products. She joined GuideStone in 2022.
“Nadeena is a proven leader and has already begun positively impacting GuideStone’s insurance team,” GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said. “She has a heart for our members and ministry partners, and we are thankful for the Lord’s direction in leading us to her.”
Kersey came to GuideStone in July from her position as the chief financial officer at Point University in West Point, Ga. There, she led the effort in a university-wide health care benefits change, navigated fluid federal and state regulations during the pandemic and reinstituted the school’s commitment to career development for its student body. Before joining Point University, Nadeena worked at Christian Care Ministry for 15 years. During that time, she served as the vice president in various roles, including medical bill processing, business intelligence and business operations. Kersey devoted herself to improved processes, employee development, streamlined customer experience and ministry revenue growth. In each of those areas, her leadership and passion showed sustained numeric results, including, but not limited to, a 70 percent-plus improvement in service levels, a 110 percent increase in revenue,and the highest turnaround in “trusted leadership” by employees.
She holds an MBA from Campbell University and a bachelor’s in applied mathematics from Georgia Tech. Kersey attended high school in the Dallas area.
Kersey has three sons: One is a senior at Auburn University, another is in medical school, and the third is a second lieutenant in the United States Army. She has served the Lord as a consistently active member of her church with 20-plus years in youth and children’s ministry and more than 10 years teaching adult small groups.
“I’m looking forward to serving our members and ministry partners as we offer the insurance solutions they need in today’s world,” Kersey said. “Joining GuideStone is a dream, and I’m excited for the stewardship the Lord has entrusted to me.”