GuideStone Financial Resources® trustees met in regular session July 29–30 to hear reports from the GuideStone® executive leadership team and staff about the ministry’s key lines of business. Trustees also welcomed new members during the meeting.
In his address to trustees, GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins referred back to GuideStone’s annual theme, the Year of Harvest, to discuss how the ministry is looking outward, inward and ultimately upward to reap the harvest the Lord has prepared for GuideStone over the last several years.
Reminding trustees of the completion last year of its long-range plan, GuideStone 100, Hawkins told trustees that the ministry must always know where it is going, who it is and why we are here. To maintain the momentum GuideStone has had, the organization adopted Vision 20/20 to run concurrently with the last years of GuideStone 100 and forward. Vision 20/20 is a long-range strategic plan guiding the ministry with three strategic goals: increasing market share, responding to changes in the marketplace and aggressively managing costs within GuideStone.
“When William Lunsford, our first president, promised Southern Baptists that we’d care for them in their old age and walk beside them, he was making a commitment that we seek to live out each and every day,” Hawkins said. “It is our prayer that we never lose sight of the vision we have: to honor the Lord by being a lifelong partner with our participants in enhancing their financial security.”
Chief Operating Officer John R. Jones spoke to key initiatives GuideStone is pursuing, including identifying key relationships that have the potential to help GuideStone achieve its vision and mission, evaluating the current service model and identifying future enhancements, focusing on participant outcomes and a customer experience transformation, focused on improving technology to provide better outcomes and experiences.
Jones emphasized these initiatives focus on enhancing GuideStone’s effectiveness in serving its participants. A survey taken earlier in 2019 asked 10,023 GuideStone participants how satisfied they were in their relationship with GuideStone — 98% said they were somewhat or very satisfied. When asked for the one word they would use to describe GuideStone, the Top 5 responses, comprising a third of the responses included “Trustworthy,” “Helpful,” “Reliable,” “Dependable” and “Christian.”
“We do not take these results lightly,” Jones said. “Our intent is to continue listening to our participants, anticipating and exceeding their expectations at every turn.”
Financial results continue strong: As of June 30, organizational assets hit another all-time high with $16.4 billion in assets under management, an increase of $1 billion year-over-year. Retirement and investment contributions are up 22% for the first half of the year, as compared to the same period in 2018. Institutional plus intermediary channels comprise 40% of contributions in 2019, compared to 28% in 2018 and 20% in 2017. GuideStone continues to reap the benefits of increased brand awareness and enhancements to the investment lineup.
Among the items enhancing GuideStone’s brand awareness were honors received in March. At a dinner in New York on Thursday, March 7, GuideStone Funds® was awarded the Lipper Fund Award from Refinitiv — formerly presented by Thomson Reuters — as the Best Overall Small Fund Family for 2019. The entire GuideStone Funds family won the Lipper Fund Award for 2019 Best Overall Small Company over three years (out of 29 eligible as of November 30, 2018), based on risk-adjusted total return. Of the 222 small fund families, only 29 met the standards to be considered for the Best Overall Small Fund Family prestigious award — with up to 76.8 billion in assets under management. This marks the second time in less than a decade that GuideStone was honored with this top award.
On the insurance front, claims have increased year over year from 2018 to 2019, and medical and prescription drug inflation is running higher than the amount used in pricing. Contract renegotiations have reduced carrier expenses, and decreased internal operating expenses have helped offset the increased claims and inflation.
On the Property and Casualty front, revenues continue to grow even as expenses remain consistent. The nationwide program in an alliance with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company grew in 2018, as GuideStone now serves as a Brotherhood Mutual agent in Louisiana. It continues to serve as an agent in Texas and Alabama. GuideStone is currently renewing 98.3% of its P&C clients.
Mission:Dignity®, GuideStone’s ministry that provides financial assistance to retired Southern Baptist pastors and their widows near the poverty line continues to grow in both total gifts and new donors, compared year-to-year. Total gifts were $4.4 million so far this year, compared to $3.5 million. So far in 2019, 5,460 donors made gifts to Mission:Dignity, including 714 new contributors — compared to 608 new contributors in the first half of the year.
During business sessions, trustees adopted a resolution affirming the entity’s commitment to partnering with the Sexual Abuse Advisory Committee and other Southern Baptists in fighting the scourge of sexual abuse that has affected some churches. (Editor’s Note: See end of article for the resolution.) The resolution was in response to a motion forwarded to all Southern Baptist entities during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Birmingham in June, asking for a response at the 2020 meeting in Orlando.
“GuideStone will do all it can do within its ministry assignment to help churches in their efforts to be safe places for vulnerable populations and help churches know how to respond well to reports of abuse in their midst,” Hawkins said.
Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. The Funds may experience negative performance, and past performance does not guarantee future results.
The Lipper Awards for Best Overall Small Fund Family are based on a review of 29 fund families for 2019 and based on risk-adjusted performance for the three-year period ending November 30, 2018. Award for U.S. Region Only.
The Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards are based on Overall/Small fund family groups and will need to have at least three distinct portfolios in one of the asset classes — equity, bond or mixed asset. The lowest average decile rank of the three years’ Consistent Return measure of the eligible funds per asset class and group will determine the asset class Group Award winner over the three-year period. The Lipper Leader for Consistent Return rating, which is a risk-adjusted performance measure, is calculated over 36, 60 and 120 months. The fund with the highest Lipper Leader for Consistent Return (Effective Return) value in each eligible classification wins the Lipper Fund Award. The Lipper Fund Awards, granted annually, highlight funds and fund companies that have excelled in delivering consistently strong risk-adjusted performance relative to their peers. Additional information is available at LipperFundAwards.com.
Our first recognition as the Best Overall Small Fund Family came in 2012 for the Best Overall Small Company Award (out of 26 eligible fund families as of November 30, 2011). Of the 182 small fund families, only 26 met the standards to be considered for the Best Overall Small Fund Family with up to $40 billion in assets under management. At that time, fund groups with at least three equity, three bond and three mixed-asset classes were eligible for a Group Award, with the lowest average decile rank of the three years’ Consistent Return measure of the eligible funds per asset class and group determining the award winner over the three-year period ended November 30, 2011. In case of identical results, the lower average percentile rank was determined the winner.
Group Methodology: For the 2019 Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards (based on three-year period ending November 30, 2018), a small fund family is defined as having assets of $76.8 billion or less.
From Refinitiv Lipper Awards, ©2019 Refinitiv. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution or retransmission of this content without express written permission is prohibited.
While GuideStone manages $16 billion in assets, as of December 31, 2018, GuideStone Funds has $12.1 billion in assets, which makes GuideStone Funds the nation’s largest faith-based mutual fund family. No other fund family with a Christian screen exceeds GuideStone Funds in asset size.
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 1-888-GS-FUNDS (1-888-473-8637) or downloading one. It should be read carefully before investing.
GuideStone Funds shares are distributed by Foreside Funds Distributors LLC, not an advisor affiliate. Foreside is not a registered investment adviser and does not provide investment advice.
Timothy E. Head is the executive officer of denominational and public relations services at GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Editor’s Note: During the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Birmingham, Alabama, June 11-12, 2019, Phillip Bethencourt (TN) presented the following motion:
Motion: That the Southern Baptist Convention request each of the entities of the Southern Baptist Convention provide an update related to their efforts to address abuse and report back to the 2020 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, covering three subjects:
Action: Referred to All Entities
Response: That the board of trustees of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention (“GuideStone”) report to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 9–10, 2020, that GuideStone stands with all Southern Baptists, our sister entities and the churches against the scourge of sexual abuse visited upon the vulnerable in our churches and ministry organizations. We are fully supportive of the recommendations by SBC President J.D. Greear’s Sexual Abuse Advisory Group and others interested in protecting children, youth and other vulnerable populations. GuideStone is committed as well to assisting churches and ministry organizations to develop procedures and policies that would avoid such abuse from ever occurring.
To that end:
GuideStone offers policy and procedure reviews for churches and ministries in our Property and Casualty Program to aid them in preparing and responding to potential issues, including how to care for victims, and will continue to support the efforts of our sister entities and the churches we are privileged to serve as together we stand to protect vulnerable populations. Southern Baptist churches and others interested in learning more about the resources available can find actionable checklists to help protect against abuse by visiting GuideStonePropertyCasualty.org or find more information about the training from MinistrySafe by visiting MinistrySafe.com.