Started in 1918 to provide financial relief to aging ministers and their widows, GuideStone is one of the largest faith-based entities to offer financial services for church and denominational workers. Formerly known to Southern Baptists as the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, GuideStone’s mission to support aging ministers and their widows and orphans began with a $100,000 gift from the Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources) and a nearly $1,000,000 gift from John D. Rockefeller and his son.
The stated mission of GuideStone Financial Resources is: “to assist churches, denominational entities, and other evangelical ministry organizations by making available retirement plan services, life and health coverage, risk management programs, and personal and institutional investment programs.”
Founded in an era when many churches and Christian organizations provided little retirement or insurance support for their staff, GuideStone provided vital services to leaders and staff of local churches and Convention ministries, giving them peace of mind to concentrate on the Great Commission as they reach out to their communities with the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:3-4).
GuideStone also supports the Great Commission by its sponsorship of the “Widow’s Might” ministry. This ministry encourages widows to pray for Southern Baptist ministries worldwide—especially in the area of evangelism. As the GuideStone website reflects, this ministry encourages prayer for regular ongoing ministry needs as well as specific prayer requests that are posted on a quarterly basis.
Unlike many Southern Baptist entities that are supported by the Cooperative Program, GuideStone Financial Resources receives no funding from the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program allocation budget. It is supported by the fees earned on its services and the growth of its investments.
In 2007, GuideStone voluntarily stopped receiving Cooperative Program funds in order to release those funds to enhance the spread of the Gospel through other SBC ministries. Prior to then, 100 percent of the Cooperative Program funds received by GuideStone was used to support its Mission:Dignity ministry that provides relief support for retired pastors, denominational workers, and their widows who live in financial need.
Formerly called “Adopt an Annuitant,” GuideStone’s Mission:Dignity provides assistance for approximately two thousand retired ministers, denominational workers, or their widows living on meager incomes. Many of these individuals once served small, often rural, churches which were unable to provide retirement support for them during their years of ministry. Operating largely by donations that GuideStone receives, manages, and disperses, almost $6.5 million were given to these deserving individuals in the last recorded year.
What financial services are offered by GuideStone Financial Resources? First, GuideStone provides several retirement plans for churches, Christian organizations, and individuals desiring to set up and maintain a retirement plan. These include employer-sponsored plans, deferred compensation plans, and even individual retirement plans. Originally only marketed to pastors and their families, over the years these retirement plans eventually were offered to a wide array of Christian organizations and the individuals connected to them.
In addition GuideStone offers personal investment accounts that individuals might use for either retirement or as part of an assets management plan for producing additional income aside from retirement.
GuideStone also offers a wide variety of insurance plans. These include various levels of medical insurance. Group medical plans are provided for any group that possesses 10 or more employees. These medical plans also include optional health savings accounts. Since insurance plays such a critical role in contemporary society, other insurance options beside medical insurance include dental, life, disability, property, and casualty insurance.
Furthermore, GuideStone provides financial services geared to specific financial needs of organizations and individuals. These include executive benefit services and actuarial services.
GuideStone Funds is GuideStone’s affiliate for providing Christian-based, socially screened, registered mutual funds. It offers a variety of mutual funds available to meet the needs of its participants. GuideStone Funds operates a “manager-of-managers” investment model. Providing access to world class investment firms within a single investment fund, this approach benefits the individual investor. The firms utilized by GuideStone Funds have specific guidelines for each fund, and the funds themselves are carefully chosen based on a rigorous selection process utilizing both quantitative and qualitative measures and analysis.
A controlled affiliate of GuideStone Financial Resources, GuideStone Capital Management, is the investment advisor for GuideStone Funds. At the end of 2011 this affiliate managed $9.6 billion in assets. In its advisory role GuideStone Capital Management currently serves more than 800 plan sponsors and over 200,000 participants.
All investments are managed consistently with a Christian worldview orientation and each investment is screened for its compatibility with the established biblical guidelines as determined by GuideStone policy.
In recent years GuideStone Funds has won numerous national awards for outstanding investment performance from industry ranking firms like Lipper, fi360, and Morningstar. GuideStone Funds in March became the first ever Christian-based, socially screened mutual fund family to win the prestigious Lipper trophy for Best Overall Small Fund Group in the U.S., ranking #1 out of 182 eligible companies. (Lipper classifies fund families with up to $40 billion in assets under management in its Small Fund Group.) “This is the first time that a Socially Responsible Investing fund group has won the award,” said Jeff Tjornehoj, head of Lipper Americas Research. “2011 was a challenging year for the industry; GuideStone and all our winners should be congratulated for their achievements.”
To accomplish its mission GuideStone Financial Resources develops its products and services in consultation with churches, state conventions, representatives from the other national entities, and the experience and expertise of the personnel from the six Southern Baptist Theological Seminaries. GuideStone maintains a long tradition of cooperating and working alongside other Convention entities, and encourages its employees to donate time and resources to Southern Baptist ministries all around the world. The spirit of these initiatives demonstrates the long history of cooperation in Southern Baptist life. Indeed this principle of cooperation is one of the eighteen spiritual principles enshrined in The Baptist Faith and Message.
For more information call 1-888-984-8433,
or visit www.GuideStone.org.
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