In his first report to Southern Baptist messengers, GuideStone® President Hance Dilbeck recalled the first time he called into the call center of GuideStone as a 25-year-old pastor as he and his wife Julie were expecting their second child and had no insurance.
Armed with the information from GuideStone, he expressed his family’s need for insurance to church leaders, who, after prayer and discussion, provided his family with insurance and began making regular retirement contributions.
The service Dilbeck said he received as a pastor of a church of 50-60 is indicative of the people at GuideStone, adding, “that’s what we do.”
Dilbeck joined GuideStone in 2021 as President-elect and became the eighth President of GuideStone on March 1, 2022.
“During the past year, the Lord used 1 Timothy 4:16 to clarify my call to GuideStone,” Dilbeck said. “Paul tells Timothy, ‘Pay careful attention to yourself and to the doctrine. Persevere in these things. For in doing so, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.’
“The pastor and his family are called to a difficult work,” Dilbeck said. “They’ve got to persevere in that hard work over the long haul because the souls of men and women depend on it.
“At GuideStone, we believe we are called to serve those who serve the Lord,” Dilbeck said. “We’re convinced that what we do helps improve the resilience of pastors and their families. What we do in putting someone on a pathway to a secure retirement, providing health insurance that brings peace of mind and that keeps us from financial crisis created by a health care need — these are the things that make a pastor and his wife feel more secure, and that creates a resiliency that allows them to encounter the difficulties of day-to-day life that God’s called us to do.”
That resiliency allows them to stay in the ministry when they might be tempted to quit.
2022 has been a remarkable year, Dilbeck acknowledged, with war in Europe, stock market volatility and inflation impacting pocketbooks and the nation overall.
“I am deeply grateful and thoroughly impressed with the staff of GuideStone,” Dilbeck said. “These people are at the top of their field as financial services professionals; they have a deep love for Jesus and commitment to serving those who serve Him.
Dilbeck expressed thanks for the work of the Sexual Abuse Task Force, telling messengers that GuideStone regularly reviews its own internal policies and procedures to ensure all employees are free to work in an environment free of harassment and abuse.
He told messengers that the ministry has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment in the workplace. Supervisors are trained to detect harassment and abuse. The ministry provides employees access to a toll-free hotline to a third party for any harassment complaints so that they can be investigated quickly and appropriately.
Retirement and Investments
“GuideStone is committed to being a trusted advocate, guiding and simplifying your retirement journey,” Dilbeck said. “We want to help you be on the path to a secure retirement.”
In recognizing GuideStone Chief Retirement Officer Christy Teeter, Dilbeck acknowledged the economic challenges this year.
“This is a tough market environment this year,” Dilbeck said. “It is a time to be steady and stay committed to your long-term plan. Don’t make rash decisions.”
Messengers at the Convention were invited to stop by the GuideStone booth to talk to someone about their retirement account. Any GuideStone participant can visit with a retirement educator or set up an appointment with an advisor by calling 1-888-98-GUIDE (1-888-984-8433).
During the report on insurance, Dilbeck also introduced Chu Soh, GuideStone’s chief insurance officer.
“Chu and his team believe that a healthy body of Christ is free to transform the world with the Gospel,” Dilbeck said. “They’re about serving you with products that can help create security and well-being in your life.”
One noteworthy area among claims is that mental health claims within the health care plan have increased 40% since 2019, Dilbeck said.
“Pay careful attention to yourself,” Dilbeck encouraged pastors, referring back to 1 Timothy 4:16.
Under Soh’s leadership, Dilbeck said the insurance team has developed more than 20 new products that will be unveiled in the coming months, including a new referral program to low-cost solutions, including exclusive discounts through Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries.
GuideStone insurance can be reached by phone at 1-844-INS-GUIDE (1-844-467-4843).
GuideStone President Emeritus O.S. Hawkins was available to messengers who visited the booth in the exhibit hall to sign copies of his books. All author proceeds from the books go to the benefit of Mission:Dignity®.
Mission:Dignity honors retirement-age Southern Baptist ministers, workers and widows struggling to meet basic needs through advocacy and financial assistance.
Mission:Dignity is the heart of GuideStone® and has been at the center of work since 1918.
“Our donors gave over $11 million in 2021 to support 2,500 individuals, two-thirds of whom are pastors’ widows,” Dilbeck said. “Mission:Dignity is not supported primarily by large gifts, but by small gifts.”
Last year, more than 10,000 donors gave to Mission:Dignity.
“Southern Baptists from all over the nation give to Mission:Dignity year by year,” he said. “More and more churches are including Mission:Dignity in their budget.”
Mission:Dignity Sunday is June 26 and offers Southern Baptists an opportunity to take up a special offering to Mission:Dignity. Free materials to promote Mission:Dignity Sunday can be obtained by visiting MDSunday.org. (Materials are undated for churches that want to participate on other days in the year.)
Neither Mission:Dignity nor GuideStone receive Cooperative Program funding.
“These faithful servants of the Lord should be honored, and we honor the Lord and these faithful soldiers of the cross when we take care of them in their latter years,” Dilbeck said. “This was the burden of our founder, William Lunsford, it was the burden of Dr. Hawkins, and it’s my burden today.”
Roy Hayhurst is director of denominational and public relations at GuideStone®.
Director of Denominational and Public Relations
GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention
Roy.Hayhurst@GuideStone.org | (214) 720-2141