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2017 in review

GuideStone reflects on first century of ministry, looks forward with expectancy to second century of service


O.S. Hawkins declared 2017’s theme as the “Year of Innovation” for GuideStone Financial Resources®. The theme — an annual tradition Hawkins began shortly after his arrival 20 years ago — focuses on a theme Scripture passage and helps guide the organization’s work as it seeks to serve its 250,000 participants well.

Hawkins drew from Nehemiah to show how people of innovation must face up, team up, gird up and look up to achieve their goals.

“We want to achieve a culture of innovation at GuideStone®,” Hawkins said in February, “so that we are able to meet the needs of our participants today and anticipate the needs of our participants as we seek to honor the Lord by being their lifelong partner in enhancing their financial security.”

In March, GuideStone Defensive Market Strategies Fund Named Best Fund by Lipper for 3- and 5-year Periods 

The GuideStone Funds Defensive Market Strategies Fund-Institutional Share Class was named the “Best Fund Over 3 Years” and “Best Fund Over 5 Years” by Lipper within its Flexible Portfolio Funds category for the year ending on December 31, 2016. This award recognized the Defensive Market Strategies Fund within its Lipper category, which is made up of 442 similar funds in the 3-year period and 335 similar funds in the 5-year period. The 2017 Lipper Fund Awards honor funds for their consistently strong risk-adjusted performance relative to their peers. The accolades were announced at an investment industry awards dinner March 23 in New York. This marked the seventh and eighth times in six years that Lipper has awarded GuideStone one of its prestigious trophies.

The Fund offers a lower-volatility option that aims to deliver equity-like returns at reduced risk when compared to the S&P 500® Index. The Fund is designed to participate in the return potential of stocks over time, but at lower risk levels than a traditional stock portfolio.

“These awards, once again, distinguish GuideStone from all of our peers,” Hawkins said. “We are humbled and energized by these awards. As we develop our investment products, we want to ensure that they always reflect the values of the pastors and other church and ministry workers we serve, while not sacrificing performance. We strive for excellence in all we do for God’s glory and for the benefit of our participants.”

Mission:Dignity has record-breaking year.

Mission:Dignity, the GuideStone ministry that provides financial assistance to retired Southern Baptist pastors and their widows near the poverty line had its largest fund-raising year ever, receiving more than $7.5 million and paying out a similar amount.

Couples at poverty-level income with at least 25 years of paid Southern Baptist service can receive up to $600 each month.

“Mission:Dignity is a testimony to the faithfulness of GuideStone to our founder, William Lunsford, and his vision when we were established in 1918,” Hawkins said. “Dr. Lunsford promised those faithful saints that we would ‘comfort you in your declining years.’ Through Mission:Dignity, we’re living out that purpose.”

To help celebrate GuideStone’s Centennial, Mission:Dignity launched its 100 Reasons to Give theme during the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix and will continue through 2018. The theme encourages donors to make a legacy gift to support God’s faithful servants as GuideStone and Mission:Dignity enter the second century of service.

Hawkins’ Books

Starting with The Joshua Code in 2012 and continuing in 2017 with The Christmas Code and The Believers Code, Hawkins’ Code series — The Joshua Code, The Jesus Code, The James Code, The Daniel Code, The Christmas Code and The Believer’s Code — has sold more than one million books, with all author royalties benefitting Mission:Dignity.

In 2017, close to one-half million copies of The Christmas Code alone were sold, many to churches that used them as giveaways for evangelism outreaches. As of this writing, reports continue to come in from churches nationwide that used it and recorded numerous gospel conversations, first-time visitors drawn in by the book giveaways and families blessed by its simple, easy-to-use devotional nature during the Advent season.

“We are so thankful for how God is using these books to help people grow in their faith, and for churches and individuals who are able to use them to share the gospel with their friends and family,” Hawkins said. “It’s a joy to hear these reports and to know that all of our proceeds benefit Mission:Dignity.”

Tenth Circuit dismisses government appeal of injunction in contraceptive mandate lawsuit.

The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal October 23 filed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration in the contraceptive case filed by GuideStone in 2012. HHS had filed a voluntary motion to dismiss its appeal in GuideStone’s litigation against the contraceptive mandate after the Trump administration announced earlier this month that it was publishing a new interim final rule that respected the religious convictions of employers providing health care plans.

The dismissal of the appeal sends GuideStone’s litigation back to the federal district court in Oklahoma where the case was initially filed. In light of the contentious nature of groups that have vowed to challenge the new interim final rule, GuideStone will continue to press for additional and lasting judicial relief to protect its health plan and the religious employers it serves from further government entanglement.

Housing Allowance Challenged

A federal district court judge in Wisconsin entered a final order December 13, declaring the minister’s housing allowance unconstitutional. The ruling was stayed for 180 days after all appeals are exhausted, meaning it currently does not have any impact. Observers expect the government will appeal the order.

The minister’s housing allowance exclusion allows churches to designate part of eligible ministers’ income as a tax-free housing allowance.

The challenge specifically applies to the cash housing allowance; the part of the tax law that provides for tax-free use of a parsonage or other church-owned home is not impacted.

“We have monitored these challenges closely and will be prepared to provide amicus briefs at the appropriate time,” Hawkins said. “We believe the housing allowance law as it currently exists removes government-imposed favor and allows churches to determine whether a church-owned home or providing a cash allowance is the best way for a church to provide for its minister’s needs. We look forward to advocating on behalf of all pastors along with other denominational pension boards and with our Southern Baptist partners.”

Church Security Seminars

GuideStone offered two church safety and security seminars in November. Scheduled before the horrific church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on November 5, the seminars explained the steps churches should consider to protect their members.

Steps churches should consider taking in light of security needs can be found online here. (GuideStone.org/NewsRoom/NewsReleases/2017/2017Nov9_ChurchSecuritySeminars)

Looking to the Future

As GuideStone celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2018, GuideStone gives thanks to the Lord for His blessings on the ministry founded in 1918 in the heart of William Lunsford, a Nashville pastor who acted on a vision to help “old soldiers of the cross,” Hawkins said.

“It is our hope and prayer that as we enter this second century of service, those who come after us will find us fitting heirs to the vision Lunsford established those years ago.”

You should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the GuideStone Funds® before investing. A prospectus with this and other information about the Funds may be obtained by calling 1-844-GS-FUNDS (1-844-473-8637) or downloading one at GuideStoneFunds.com. It should be read carefully before investing.


GuideStone Funds shares are distributed by Foreside Funds Distributors LLC, not an advisor affiliate.


The fund may experience negative performance. Lipper designates award-winning funds in most individual classifications for the 3-, 5- and 10-year periods and fund families with high average scores for the 3-year time period.


GuideStone Funds won the Lipper Fund Awards for 2012 Best Overall Small Company Award (1 out of 182 eligible as of November 30, 2011), 2013 Mixed-Asset Target 2025 Fund Award-3 year (1 out of 92 funds as of November 30, 2012), 2014 Corporate Debt A-Rated Fund Award-3 year (1 out of 57 funds as of November 30, 2013), 2014 Corporate Debt A-Rated Fund Award-5 year (1 out of 51 funds as of November 30, 2013), 2015 Corporate Debt A-Rated Fund Award-3 year (1 out of 44 funds as of November 30, 2014), 2015 Corporate Debt A-Rated Fund Award-5 year (1 out of 41 funds as of November 30, 2014), 2017 Flexible Portfolio Funds Award-3 year (1 out of 425 funds as of November 30, 2016) and 2017 Flexible Portfolio Funds Award-5 year (1 out of 322 funds as of November 30, 2016).  Awards are based on risk-adjusted total return.


About the 2017 Flexible Portfolio Funds Award (3 year and 5 year): Classification averages are calculated with all eligible share classes for each eligible classification. The calculation periods extend over 36, 60 and 120 months. The highest Lipper Leader for Consistent Return (Effective Return) value within each eligible classification determines the fund classification winner over 3, 5 or 10 years. The GuideStone Defensive Market Strategies Fund-Institutional won for the 3-year and 5-year periods ended 11/30/2016. 425 funds were eligible for the 3-year award and 322 funds were eligible for the 5-year award.


Lipper Inc., a Reuters Company, is a nationally recognized organization that compares the performance of mutual funds having similar investment objectives. The comparison is made across registered mutual funds, ranking the funds with similar objectives according to total returns. These investment returns are calculated after operating expenses have been deducted from each fund, but the rankings do not take sales charges into account. Lipper rankings are subject to change monthly, and past rankings are no guarantee of future results.


The Defensive Market Strategies Fund may be suitable for investors who have a medium- to long-term investment horizon, possess a moderate tolerance for risk and seek to participate in the return potential of stocks at a slightly lower risk level than an all-stock portfolio. This Fund is subject to interest rate risk, meaning, when interest rates rise, the value of the existing bonds decreases and vice versa. Changes in interest rates have a bigger impact on long-duration holdings than on short-duration holdings. The value of convertible securities increases and decreases with the value of the underlying common stock, but may also be sensitive to changes in interest rates. Foreign securities may be subject to greater risk than domestic securities due to currency volatility, reduced market liquidity, and political and economic instability. To the extent that the investment advisor misjudges current market conditions, the Fund’s volatility may be amplified by its use of short sales and derivatives and by its ability to select sub-advisers to allocate assets. Short sales by a fund theoretically involve unlimited loss potential since the market price of securities sold short may continuously increase. Leverage may increase the risk of loss and cause fluctuations in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio to have disproportionately large effects or cause the NAV of the Fund to decline faster than it would otherwise.


Past performance does not guarantee future results. Visit GuideStoneFunds.com for the Funds’ current performance.




Roy Hayhurst is director of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention®.

Media Contact
Roy Hayhurst
Director of Denominational and Public Relations Services
GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention
Roy.Hayhurst@GuideStone.org | (214) 720-2141