GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck announced today that he is naming Chu Soh, currently chief insurance officer for the Southern Baptist board, as his new chief operating officer. Soh will succeed John R. Jones, who has served at GuideStone for almost 34 years; 25 of those as chief operating officer.
Soh and Jones will work together through the February 2023 trustee meeting when Soh will officially transition to the chief operating officer role, providing day-to-day leadership to the executive staff in all ministry areas of GuideStone. Jones will transition to serve as Special Assistant to the President until 2024, when he retires with 35 years of service.
Jones praised Soh’s selection and promised a smooth transition.
“Chu has demonstrated an ability to lead through tumultuous times with a steady hand and a servant’s heart,” Jones said. “Working alongside him for more than two years now, I have come to know and love him and his commitment to GuideStone and the members we serve; he’ll be a tremendous asset to GuideStone and I am fully committed to his success as COO.”
Dilbeck said the process of selecting a new chief operating officer was bathed in prayer.
“One of my priorities, when I arrived at GuideStone, was to develop a good relationship with John Jones and to seek the Lord’s will on who would serve as the next chief operating officer,” Dilbeck said. “God has led in this enterprise, granting John and me a wonderful relationship and leading us to establish a strong process for evaluating several qualified leaders. John and I prayed, asking the Lord to unify our hearts and clarify His leadership in this important decision. We can both share testimonies of the Lord’s clear leadership in this timing and this decision.
“Chu loves the Lord Jesus, and his walk with Christ impacts how he lives, works, talks and treats people. He is a man of integrity. He is passionate about our ministry, creative and optimistic, full of faith for our future.”
Dilbeck said a new chief insurance officer will be announced by early 2023.
Soh came to GuideStone in June 2020, during the height of the pandemic. A health care industry executive and retired Air Force officer, Soh previously served as chief operating officer for a large health sharing organization, growing it from 23,000 households to more than 150,000 households in his last year there.
“It is a sincere honor to be selected to succeed John Jones as GuideStone’s chief operating officer,” Soh said. “John has led ably, with excellence, skill and dedication, and leaves big shoes to fill. He has successfully helped GuideStone navigate the important role of ministry organization and business, never losing sight of the pastors and churches we are privileged to serve. I’m thankful for this period of transition, to work alongside John as we serve those who serve the Lord.”
Soh earned his Bachelor of Science in biology from the United States Air Force Academy, a Master of Science in sports medicine from the University of Florida College of Medicine and a doctorate in physical therapy from Baylor College of Medicine. He retired after 21 years in the Air Force; in his last role, he served as deputy group commander — equivalent to a civilian vice president — where he led 115 professionals in 10 departments at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. Soh’s experience includes leading a digital modernization strategy to transform the customer experience, driving down urgent care visits and creating a “Total Fit” injury prevention wellness program recognized as an Air Force unit best practice. In addition to serving at Patrick AFB, Soh served in Germany, Japan and South Korea.
Jones praised Soh’s dedication to excellence and the pastors and churches GuideStone serves.
“I often remind our team that we are a ministry that exemplifies best business practices,” Jones said. “When considering the next chief operating officer who can help carry Hance Dilbeck’s God-given vision for this organization forward, I can think of no one better to continue that focus on best business practices with a heart for ministry than Chu Soh. As chief insurance officer, he led our efforts in property and casualty coverage, along with spearheading our efforts to create more affordable options for pastors and churches. He helped lead the insurance line of business to a new vision, that a healthy body of Christ is free to transform the world. I know he’ll bring the same dedication to our pastors to the entire GuideStone organization, continuing in insurance, but also our retirement, investments, Mission:Dignity and support areas as well.”
Soh came to Christ as a fifth-grade student. After moving to Kansas from South Korea as a 5-year-old boy, he began attending a Southern Baptist church each Sunday and on Wednesday evenings through its bus ministry, as his parents, Buddhists, thought it would be a good way for their children to learn English. A fifth-grade Sunday school teacher provided him with his first Bible, prayed over him, and encouraged him to give his life to Christ. Ultimately, Soh’s parents came to know the Lord as their Savior.
“The Lord used the love of that little church to lead me to Him,” Soh said. “It is a tremendous honor today to serve tens of thousands of churches, like that one, through GuideStone in this role. I welcome the prayers of our employees, trustees and members as I take on this new role.”
Soh and his wife, Karyn, have four children between the ages of 8 and 23.
Roy Hayhurst is the director of denominational and public relations at GuideStone.