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SBC DIGEST: GuideStone Funds marks 20 years; SBTS celebrates bookstore, coffee shop opening

GuideStone celebrates 20th anniversary of GuideStone Funds

By Roy Hayhurst/GuideStone

DALLAS (BP) – Aug. 27, 2001, feels like a world away. The date Sept. 11 was not yet indelibly marked on our minds. President George W. Bush had only been president for a short eight months. GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins was coming up on his fourth anniversary as president of what was then known as the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

It was also the beginning of a new era in GuideStone’s history – the launch of GuideStone Funds, the nation’s largest faith-based mutual fund family, serving more than 250,000 individuals and 38,000 organizations.

“It had been a dream for many years that we would be able to launch mutual funds, to help pastors prepare for retirement, but also to capture other assets to help them prepare for their future while living out their values through their investments,” GuideStone Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones said. “You cannot overstate the impact on GuideStone to move from unregulated investments to a regulated environment.”

Until 2001, participants in GuideStone’s retirement plans could invest in one of four commingled funds. After the Funds launched, investors and their spouses could contribute to IRAs or invest for non-retirement needs.

It also paved the way for GuideStone to be able to serve the investment needs of like-minded evangelical institutions, the name change to GuideStone in 2004-05 and ultimately, the ministry’s ability to provide investment services to those in the pew, not just the pulpit, in 2014.

“Since the Funds’ inception, we have sought to manage GuideStone Funds in a manner that reflects both the values of Southern Baptists as well as the church and ministry partners we represent,” GuideStone Chief Investment Officer David S. Spika said. “Through our efforts, we believe we are doing exactly that.”

GuideStone Funds started with a vision to better serve GuideStone’s participants.

“When John Jones and I sat down, he told me that his dream was to launch registered mutual funds, the ultimate platform for retirement, personal and institutional investing,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “It would require a great deal of adaptation, requiring many changes to GuideStone’s operations but no change to who we are as a ministry. Looking back with the benefit of two decades of hindsight, we can say it was undoubtedly the right decision at the right time.”

Twice in its first 20 years, GuideStone Funds was honored – in 2012 and 2019 – by the Lipper Fund Awards as the top small fund mutual fund family in the country. Professional management, competitive performance and investments that align with biblical values make the Funds a strong choice for pastors, church and other ministry workers, as well as a growing number of individual and institutional investors drawn to the faith-based screening of the Funds.

In the last two decades, new Funds were launched, including a global real estate fund, a global bond fund, the Defensive Market Strategies Fund, the Strategic Alternatives Fund and the MyDestination Funds, a target-date fund series. The success of GuideStone Funds eventually allowed the organization to launch the Global Impact Fund in 2021.

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SBTS dedicates new bookstore and coffee shop

By Charles Robinson/SBTS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Marking a new milestone, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary community dedicated both The Bookstore at Southern and Scholars’ Coffee on Tuesday morning (Aug. 24).

SBTS President Albert Mohler and his wife Mary cut the ribbon for the seminary’s new bookstore and coffee shop. Photo by Stuart Hunt/SBTS

“This is the fulfillment of a lot of hopes and dreams,” SBTS President Albert Mohler said. “We are a people of books, and that goes all the way back to Ecclesiastes where [the author] is talking about so many books. That’s because where you find Christians, you find disciples, you find scholars, you find readers, and readers need books. This is a great day for Southern Seminary for which we are very thankful.”

Construction originally began on the new bookstore in February of 2020 but was interrupted for a year by the pandemic. Work resumed this past February. During construction, the campus bookstore was housed in a small room above Founders Cafe. Scholars’ Coffee is attached to the bookstore and offers a wide variety of desserts, coffee and other drinks.

The new bookstore is spacious with 2,600 linear feet for bookshelf space and includes a wide selection of used books in addition to dozens of new titles and hundreds of works on theology, church history, preaching, ministry and numerous other categories pertinent to theological education and the historic Christian faith. The Bookstore also offers a wide variety of SBTS and Boyce College apparel.

“While anyone is welcome to come shop in our store, we want The Bookstore at Southern to excel at serving the Southern Seminary community,” said bookstore manager Jacob Percy.

“This means we will continue to prioritize rich, theological books that aid in the sharpening of the Christian mind and the development of future church leaders. The Bookstore at Southern now has an extensive and ever-growing section of used books that make some of the great works of theology, biblical studies and church history of the past available to our customers. We hope this will encourage people from all over to come and visit the store for a one-of-a-kind experience.”

The Bookstore is modeled after the historic Hatchards Bookshop in London, which opened in 1797, and the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D. C. In a day when brick-and-mortar bookstores are struggling financially and many are closing, Southern’s new bookstore is unique in the depth of books it will sell on topics related to theology and ministry.

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