GuideStone plan adds flexibility for state convention-provided benefits
By Roy Hayhurst
DALLAS (BP) – While the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed many plans, financial planning should not be something set on the back burner, especially for pastors and other church leaders.
The Church Retirement Plan – GuideStone’s 403(b)(9) retirement plan designed exclusively for Southern Baptist church pastors and staff – can help provide for the future.
As ministry leaders invest to fund their future, many Baptist state conventions come alongside to provide additional protection benefits based upon retirement plan participation and contributions. These valuable benefits are designed to help protect ministry families in the event of disability or death.
Thanks to GuideStone’s partnership with many Baptist state conventions, eligible Southern Baptist ministers and church employees may qualify for a disability benefit of up to $500 each month and survivor benefits of up to $100,000.
“These benefits are possible thanks to the efforts of state conventions and GuideStone,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “These benefits set GuideStone’s retirement plan apart from any plan available to pastors and church staff.”
Last year, GuideStone paid out about $5 million in disability and survivor benefits to pastors and their families. Furthermore, GuideStone reduced the cost of the benefits to state conventions by 33 percent to free more money for ministry and broaden accessibility to ministry leaders.
In addition to the protection benefits, Baptist state conventions may choose to make an annual retirement contribution to the retirement accounts of ministry leaders should participants meet the state convention’s individual eligibility requirements.
“By saving through the Church Retirement Plan, you are preparing wisely for the future while providing additional supplemental protection for your family in the near-term,” Hawkins said. “While no pastor ever plans to retire, saving through the Church Retirement Plan can help prepare for a future where one can take on self-funded ministry opportunities wherever the Lord will lead.
“Our mission reminds us that we exist to honor the Lord by being a lifelong partner with our participants in enhancing their financial security. Through the Church Retirement Plan, state conventions and GuideStone aim to help Southern Baptist pastors prepare for retirement while providing a measure of value-added security, should they or their family need it during their working years.”
For more details regarding the benefits, retirement contributions, and state conventions’ eligibility requirements, please visit GuideStone.org/SBCchurchbenefits  or call 1-888-984-8433.
SEBTS’ Adams lectures emphasize preaching with faith and hope in view
By SEBTS Staff
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) welcomed Andy Davis to the pulpit for the Adams Lecture Series Feb. 9-11. Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., spoke on the importance of preaching for the faith and hope of one’s hearers.
Davis introduced his lecture with a scene from John Bunyan’s allegory of the Christian journey, “Pilgrim’s Progress.” The imagery captured the essence of how Christ continues to keep the fire of grace burning in our hearts while Satan seeks to quench that fire of faith through temptations and accusations. Using this analogy, Davis discussed how the ministry of God’s Word feeds the souls of its hearers and keeps our faith burning.
“We need to realize time is short for our hearers and the central work of God is the salvation of souls, Davis said. “That’s what preaching is all about.”
Davis also explained that faith is how believers see spiritual realities. One way this occurs is through pastors helping their people see Jesus and the reality that He is seated at the right hand of God interceding for His people. Because Jesus will always pray according to God’s will, His intercessory prayer for us will always succeed.
In Thursday’s lecture, Davis focused on renewing biblical hope in the hearts of God’s people. A biblical hope focuses on the eternal and unfailing glory of God and serves as a testimony to the lost. Referencing Hebrews 10:32-36, Davis highlighted how the writer reminded the Hebrew Christians of their unwavering hope in God in the past and to continue in that hope in the present. For the Christian, we have a heavenly hope in the future and a present hope to endure in suffering that is different from the world.