News Articles

SBC DIGEST: GuideStone adds chief marketing officer; Black church conference encourages faith

GuideStone adds new chief marketing officer, Justin Stowell

By Roy Hayhurst/GuideStone

DALLAS (BP) – Justin Stowell, an experienced non-profit marketing leader, has joined GuideStone Financial Resources as chief marketing officer.

In the newly created role, Stowell will provide leadership for GuideStone’s marketing efforts across its retirement, investment, insurance and Mission:Dignity areas.

“Justin brings a proven track record of non-profit marketing expertise and leadership to this role,” GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said. “As we build on a strong reputation and continue to reach out to Southern Baptists and other evangelical churches and ministries, we determined that the time is right to create this role to augment our marketing efforts.”

Before joining GuideStone, Stowell held marketing roles with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Ramsey Solutions and Cru Global (formerly the Campus Crusade for Christ). He also served on staff with a Southern Baptist church. Stowell has 13 years of marketing experience, focusing on brand development and digital. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communications from the University of Central Florida.

“As we look to build on the strong foundation GuideStone has built over the past 104 years, we determined building out our brand was one of our top priorities,” Dilbeck said. “Justin was a candidate that rose to the top due to his commitment to ministry organizations, marketing excellence and a clear, personal understanding of the pastors, churches and ministry organizations we serve today and those we hope to serve in the future. He has already proven himself a valuable member of our team.”

Stowell expressed excitement about the opportunities to join GuideStone in this strategic role.

“Joining the mission of GuideStone is an incredible blessing for myself and my family,” Stowell said. “As GuideStone participants ourselves we know the value this organization provides to those who serve the Lord. I am excited to help amplify the great work this organization has been doing, and reach even more people than ever before.”

Stowell is married to Mandi; they have three children. The family relocated to the Dallas area from Nashville early this summer.

Black church conference encourages faith of attendees

By Aaron Earls/Lifeway

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP) – Church leaders from across the country gathered to encourage one another through hardships they’ve endured and challenge each other to continue in ministry, during the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference on July 18-22, 2022, at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.

The theme “Faith Tested!” comes from James 1:2-3 and fits this moment for churches and pastors, said Mark Croston, national director of Black church ministries at Lifeway. “James was written for people going through a struggle,” he said. “As we come through the struggle of COVID and other challenges, we have found our faith is able to endure struggles. A faith that is not tested is unsure, but a faith that is tested can withstand adversity.”

The conference serves to strengthen ties between local African American churches and the Southern Baptist Convention. In addition to Croston and others from Lifeway being present at the conference, representatives from the SBC Executive Committee, the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, GuideStone Financial Resources, the Woman’s Missionary Union, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the North Carolina Baptist Convention spoke to attendees during the evening sessions. “Many African American churches are newer to the convention,” said Croston. “The conference helps them learn about these connections, how the entities exist to serve them and how their ministry can be enriched by increased participation in the SBC.”

Two other important aspects of the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference that Croston pointed out are the intentionality to welcome families and to provide downtime for attendees. “There are daily experiences for people of all ages,” he said. “Usually when a pastor goes to a conference, he has to leave his wife and children behind. We don’t want that to be the case here. One pastor from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was able to come and bring his wife and seven kids.”

Despite all the events taking place, Croston said there are specific periods of unstructured time and that he even encourages attendees not to do everything. “During those moments of downtime, attendees often form relationships with others, some of which develop into lifelong friendships,” he said. “After many conferences, pastors leave exhausted. We don’t want that to be the case. We want them to leave refreshed and energized for the ministry God has called them to in their local churches.”

For those unable to attend this year, the 2022 conference is available to purchase online and on demand, including more than 24 hours of training sessions, at live.lifeway.com. Purchasers will have access to the material until July 2023.

Registration is now open for next year’s 30th anniversary Black Church Leadership and Family Conference on July 17-21, 2023, with the theme “Reimagine.” To register, visit RidgecrestConferenceCenter.com/events/bclfc.

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