Referring to 2 Corinthians 10:13, GuideStone Financial Resources’ President O.S. Hawkins told trustees that each person is assigned an area of influence by God. To be a person of influence, one must possess vision, integrity and purpose. With that in mind, Hawkins declared 2016 the “year of influence” at GuideStone during the entity’s Feb. 29-March 1 trustee meeting in Dallas.
In addition to the annual theme, trustees heard reports from ministry areas and celebrated the retirement of Jeff Billinger, who leaves GuideStone after 22 years of service, primarily as chief financial officer.
“Every one of us has been assigned an area of influence,” Hawkins told trustees. “To be people of influence, we must possess a clear, God-sized vision, be people of integrity in all that we do and have a God-ordained purpose.”
The verse and the theme are two-fold in importance, marking the annual theme that guides GuideStone’s work in 2016, as well as the subject of a new book, VIP: How to Influence with Vision, Integrity and Purpose, released March 8, whose proceeds benefit Mission:Dignity.
In his report to trustees, Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones described 2015 as a challenging year.
“Even so, GuideStone Funds finished the year ranked No. 29 out of 246 mutual fund families, according to fi360 [Fund Family Fiduciary Rankings], placing GuideStone Funds in the top 12 percent of fund families,” Jones said. This ranking placed GuideStone Funds ahead of many well-known fund families.
Additionally, GuideStone Funds continued to perform well compared to their respective Lipper and Morningstar peer universes. For more information on GuideStone Funds’ performance, visit GuideStoneFunds.com.
GuideStone’s ministry to retired Southern Baptist pastors and their widows in serious financial need continues to bless the lives of both donors and recipients, Jones said.
“We had a recipient who shared with us recently, ‘I don’t have a soul to look after me,’” he said. “Thanks to hundreds of faithful donors, these dear soldiers of the cross have someone to look after their financial needs.”
Reported total assistance payments increased 7.4 percent to $7.5 million from 2014 numbers.
GuideStone continues to encourage people who may know a retired Southern Baptist pastor or his widow living near the poverty line to visit MissionDignity.org to see if Mission:Dignity can serve the retired church worker in need.
Property and Casualty
“Property and Casualty continues to be a success with the alliance we launched with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company,” Jones told trustees.
Written premiums have increased by $2.0 million, or 13 percent, year-over-year. With average renewal rates exceeding 99 percent, renewals now account for $15.3 million, or nearly 89 percent of the written premium balance, and are driving year-over-year increases.
Life and health plans
Enrollment in group medical plans continues to grow; 2015 saw growth of 5.8 percent, or an additional 1,439 lives. The insurance line of business, including all life and health products, grew 6.9 percent in 2015. During 2015 the dental line of business was transitioned to a self-funded business model which improved the financial strength of the program.
In addition to recognizing Billinger for his service, three trustees ended their terms of service. Staff and other trustees expressed their gratitude for the tenures of Robert L. Bender (Colorado), F. Donald Davidson (Virginia) and J. Dudley May (Louisiana). New trustees will be elected at the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Mo., in June.
Trustees will meet again in July in Newport Beach, Calif.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roy Hayhurst is department head of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.)