More than 170 ministry leaders in the fields of finance, HR, accounting and administration from 24 states — including Hawaii — learned and shared best practices during the two-day Employee Benefits Summit. The fifth in-person summit featured speakers from GuideStone and industry leaders who spoke on topics including retirement plan changes spurred by the Secure 2.0 Act and protecting ministries from predators, employee engagement and development, along with other church and ministry business issues.
GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said the work these administrators do is important to the overall work of the church, even though they are often not in the limelight.
“When the Old Testament talks about those serving in the tabernacle or the temple, you’ve got priests who are in the spotlight, and you have Levites, who did all that work in the background, preparing, cleaning, stocking, and providing for worship,” Dilbeck said in his opening remarks. “We have a room full of Levites here for the summit today. The spotlight is seldom on you, but you are doing essential Kingdom work. Remember the promise in the New Testament for unseen servants: ‘your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.’”
Danny Miller, a partner with the law firm Conner and Winters, and a preeminent expert on church retirement plans, spoke to leaders regarding the SECURE 2.0 Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden on December 29, 2022. He outlined key components that affect church retirement plans.
Miller said there are various effective dates from the legislation — some took effect immediately, while others will happen in upcoming years. One key component is the age for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) has increased to 73 for those born between 1951 and 1959. It has increased to age 75 for those born after 1960, and the penalty for not taking an RMD has been reduced from 50% to 25%. GuideStone automatically distributes RMDs from 403(b) and 401(k) accounts to ensure members avoid the IRS penalty.
GuideStone offers a summary of SECURE 2.0 Act provisions on its website.
Mark Dance, GuideStone director of pastoral wellness, provided the opening keynote on four obstacles to a strong finish, taken from Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesians recorded in Acts 20. Those obstacles include Fear, Fatigue, Frustration and Finances.
Dance, whose first book, Start to Finish, comes out this summer (with author royalties donated to GuideStone’s Mission:Dignity ministry) said it is important for ministers to take care of their lives, noting that Paul, in his farewell to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, and again in his letter to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul instructs to be on guard and pay close attention to your life.
“Neglecting yourself is not an option,” Dance said. “self-care is strategic, not selfish.”
Jenni Catron, author of The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership, spoke in a keynote on the importance of Hiring and Retaining an Extraordinary Team.
Catron discussed how “quiet quitting,” a term popularized to describe when an employee reports to work, but only does his most basic duties, is less about burnout and more about a re-evaluation of their work-life priorities. Catron said more employees are reflecting on the work they do, citing statistics indicating four our of five employees say “finding meaning in day-to-day work” was a top goal.
During her keynote, Catron identified six trends that will impact workplaces in 2023: Purpose is increasingly important, economic headwinds are going to require lean, effective teams, mid-level leaders are going to experience increased pressure, recruiting strong talent is going to be a challenge, retention will be a superpower and super-saver, and the expectations for leaders will continue to increase.
GuideStone’s Employee Benefits Summit is one of the nation’s largest church and ministry business leader gatherings.
Roy Hayhurst is the 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