News Articles

SBC DIGEST: New GuideStone COO; MBTS For the Church conference

Chu Soh to succeed John Jones as GuideStone chief operating officer

By Roy Hayhurst/GuideStone Financial Resources

DALLAS (BP) – GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck announced today that he is naming Chu Soh, currently chief insurance officer for the Southern Baptist board, as his new chief operating officer. Soh will succeed John R. Jones, who has served at GuideStone for almost 34 years; 25 of those as chief operating officer.

Soh and Jones will work together through the February 2023 trustee meeting when Soh will officially transition to the chief operating officer role, providing day-to-day leadership to the executive staff in all ministry areas of GuideStone. Jones will transition to serve as Special Assistant to the President until 2024, when he retires with 35 years of service.

Left to right: John R. Jones, Hance Dilbeck, Chu Soh

Jones praised Soh’s selection and promised a smooth transition.

“Chu has demonstrated an ability to lead through tumultuous times with a steady hand and a servant’s heart,” Jones said. “Working alongside him for more than two years now, I have come to know and love him and his commitment to GuideStone and the members we serve; he’ll be a tremendous asset to GuideStone and I am fully committed to his success as COO.”

Dilbeck said the process of selecting a new chief operating officer was bathed in prayer.

“One of my priorities, when I arrived at GuideStone, was to develop a good relationship with John Jones and to seek the Lord’s will on who would serve as the next chief operating officer,” Dilbeck said. “God has led in this enterprise, granting John and me a wonderful relationship and leading us to establish a strong process for evaluating several qualified leaders. John and I prayed, asking the Lord to unify our hearts and clarify His leadership in this important decision. We can both share testimonies of the Lord’s clear leadership in this timing and this decision.

“Chu loves the Lord Jesus, and his walk with Christ impacts how he lives, works, talks and treats people. He is a man of integrity. He is passionate about our ministry, creative and optimistic, full of faith for our future.”

Dilbeck said a new chief insurance officer will be announced by early 2023.

Soh came to GuideStone in June 2020, during the height of the pandemic. A health care industry executive and retired Air Force officer, Soh previously served as chief operating officer for a large health sharing organization, growing it from 23,000 households to more than 150,000 households in his last year there.

“It is a sincere honor to be selected to succeed John Jones as GuideStone’s chief operating officer,” Soh said. “John has led ably, with excellence, skill and dedication, and leaves big shoes to fill. He has successfully helped GuideStone navigate the important role of ministry organization and business, never losing sight of the pastors and churches we are privileged to serve. I’m thankful for this period of transition, to work alongside John as we serve those who serve the Lord.”

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MBTS’ For the Church National Conference, focuses on ‘For the Nations’

By Brett Fredenberg/MBTS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – With a focus on taking the Gospel to the nations, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the eighth annual For the Church National Conference in Kansas City Sept. 26-27.

Keynote speakers Tony Merida, Jared C. Wilson, Jason K. Allen, J.D. Greear, Matt Carter and Brian Davis preached impassioned messages revolving around the conference’s theme of “For the Nations,” while Matt Boswell led attendees in corporate worship.

“I believe this was the best For The Church National Conference we have ever had,” said Allen, MBTS president. “From the speakers, to the worship, to the breakout sessions, every aspect of this conference was encouraging, equipping, and challenging. I am confident the Lord did use and will continue to use this conference in the lives of all the attendees as we seek to be faithful in fulling the Great Commission.”

Every Tongue, tribe and nation

Tony Merida, pastor of preaching and vision at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., led the conference’s first session, focusing on the urgent need to evangelize the nations.

Drawing from 2 Corinthians 5, Merida reminded conference attendees of three essential priorities of the missionary task: why we speak, what we speak, and how we speak.

“We are good news people in a bad news world,” he said. “The Gospel is too good to keep to ourselves.”

The heart of Jesus

Jared C. Wilson, assistant professor of pastoral ministry and author in residence at Midwestern Seminary, delivered the conference’s second message, focusing on Jesus’ love for sinners and the importance of pursuing Christlikeness in missions.

Wilson preached from John 17, revealing Jesus’ heart as unifying, missional and glorious.

“The Gospel doesn’t just make strangers friends; it makes enemies family,” he said.

“Who do we think we are to give the cold shoulder to a person that Jesus Himself embraces?” Wilson asked, urging attendees toward Christlikeness. “Who are we to malign a person whom Christ Himself loves?”

The Gospel for the nations

Allen opened the second day of the conference, continuing the theme of “For the Nations” by speaking to the centrality of the Gospel in the missionary task.

Preaching from Matthew 28:16-20, Allen addressed three main emphases from the text: the authority to realize, the mission to fulfill and the promise to claim.

Reflecting on the significance of this passage for every Christian, Allen said, “Worship precedes the Great Commission. The Great Commission is an act of worship.”

“We are in a race against time to reach the world for Christ,” he said, urging pastors and ministry leaders to take the next step in their discipleship to Jesus. “We need to move to a mobilized wartime footing today.”

Reaching Hard Places

J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., addressed attendees on the urgent need for courageous missionaries taking the Gospel to the hardest places on the planet.

The main emphasis of his message from Romans 15 was to help attendees discern the call of Christ on their lives. He asked two questions to help understand the missionary call: 1) where is the Spirit of God moving in my life? and 2) what is the Word of God saying to the Church?

“When you accepted Jesus, you accepted the call to missions,” Greear said. “You don’t need to wonder if you’re called; you need to discern where you’re called and how.”

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