Blessed to Serve, Inspired to Give Back


YORKTOWN, Virginia

Bethel Baptist Church in Yorktown, Virginia, has long been missions-oriented, but a trip to the 2017 SBC Annual Meeting in Phoenix put Mission:Dignity® on their radar. They have been laser-focused ever since.

With a 179-year history of serving one of Virginia’s most historic areas, Bethel Baptist Church’s (BBC) 700+ members come from all walks of life. Many serve at nearby military outposts like Langley Air Force Base and the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center. BBC also partners with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBCV) in serving the needs of churches all over the state of Virginia.

Upon hearing about Mission:Dignity from GuideStone® President O.S. Hawkins in Phoenix, BBC’s Pastor Doug Echols made a commitment to get the church involved and immediately ordered materials upon arriving home. The stories on the videos presented at each session prompted Pastor Echols to realize he was blessed to serve in a church that could provide a comfortable salary and benefits. He was convinced that Bethel Baptist Church needed to be involved in giving back.

In its first year, Bethel Baptist Church collected more than $10,000 to support retired SBC ministers, workers and their widows.

“I was overwhelmed by the response of our people,” Echols said. “We simply share the videos that are provided and try to tell the stories of how the offering is benefiting retired pastors. We do not set a church goal for this offering. We just ask our people to give sacrificially, and they have responded.”

Echols noted that BBC has a large senior adult population who can relate to living on a fixed income. The Mission:Dignity stories have resonated with many of BBC’s senior adults and inspired them to give.

“We have seen people really get behind the Mission:Dignity emphasis,” he said. “We have people that give once a year and others that have made this a part of their regular giving. I believe that showing the videos and telling the stories have made the greatest impact on our people.”

This year, Mission:Dignity Sunday is June 23. GuideStone provides promotional posters, flyers and videos available to download for free online at Crowdfunding opportunities are also available. Pick a fundraising goal for your church, Sunday school class or Bible study and give together this Mission:Dignity Sunday.

Churches may hold their Mission:Dignity Sunday at any time during the year. All materials are undated to allow for flexibility in timing. Every dollar given goes directly to retired ministers, workers and their widows thanks to an endowment that covers all administrative costs.

Follow @MissionDignity on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for up-to-date information and testimonies of people assisted by Mission:Dignity.

Individuals wishing to donate or refer potential recipients can do so through In addition, all proceeds of the sale of Hawkins’ books go to support the ministry. Visit for more information.



Susan Ervien is a marketing strategist at GuideStone®.

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