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Hawkins reports GuideStone's success

Thursday, Jun 13, 2013
By Roy Hayhurst

HOUSTON (BP) -- GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins focused on the entity's progress in investments, health care, wellness and Mission:Dignity in his annual report to the Southern Baptist Convention June 11 in Houston.

INVESTMENT PERFORMANCE

GuideStone's MyDestination 2025 Fund received a Lipper Award as the Best Fund Over Three Years (Mixed-Asset Target 2025 Funds), ranking highest of 92 similar funds for its performance as of Nov. 30, 2012. The MyDestination Funds were the nation's first Christian-based, socially screened, date-target funds when they launched in August 2006.

GuideStone also ranked No. 1 out of 182 eligible fund families with up to $40 billion in assets, and received the Lipper award for Best Overall Small Fund Group in the U.S. over the three-year period ending Nov. 30, 2011.

Hawkins noted continued strong performance for GuideStone Funds, as recognized by secular ranking firms. In the first quarter of 2013, fi360 ranked GuideStone sixth among 226 mutual fund families, the ninth consecutive quarter GuideStone ranked in the top 5 percent of all fund families. The fi360 rankings are based on a number of criteria, including assets under management, organizational stability, style and asset class consistency, performance relative to peers, and expense ratios.

HEALTH CARE

Hawkins reported a 98 percent retention rate for GuideStone's health insurance program.

"People are shopping [for their insurance coverage] and finding it's very competitive in the market, and helpful for those who are in the plans," Hawkins said. "At the same time, we are facing some tremendous challenges" due to health care reform.

Hawkins noted that church health plans were not addressed in the national health care reform debate, despite being among the nation's oldest health care plans. While GuideStone's plans date to the 1960s, some denominational health plans date back a century or more. In total, more than 1 million ministers and their families are covered by church health plans.

"We are working diligently to get legislative and administrative fixes," Hawkins said of uncertainties facing church health plans. "You know, it's hard to compete with someone who's going to be out there in the marketplace who doesn't have to make a profit and can print their own money. If we can get these fixes, we can compete with [other insurance providers]."

WELLNESS

GuideStone attracted hundreds to its annual free wellness check valued at $150.

"Still about half of the claims we pay are for what the industry calls preventable diseases," Hawkins said. "These are things you're getting sick from that you don't have to be getting sick from if you'd just get on a wellness program."

Individuals and churches that want help building a wellness regiment can find free resources on GuideStone's website, www.GuideStone.org/Wellness.

NEW INITIATIVES

Hawkins highlighted GuideStone's new ministry-focused website, www.OSHawkins.com, offering free e-books and sermon outlines and audio and video resources. The resource also helps drive traffic to GuideStone and Mission:Dignity's websites.

He highlighted the property and casualty program GuideStone offers as part of a strategic alliance with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, noting that more than half the proposals GuideStone makes for property and casualty coverage are being written, and that the retention rate is near 95 percent. Visit www.GuideStonePropertyCasualty.org for more information about the program and the alliance with Brotherhood Mutual.

MISSION:DIGNITY

GuideStone presented its inaugural Harold and Judy Vick Mission:Dignity Church Award to Sagemont Church in Houston, which has given more than $1.5 million to the ministry for retired pastors and their widows. The award, named for longtime GuideStone trustee Harold Vick and his wife Judy, was presented to John D. Morgan, senior pastor at Sagemont, and Jim Green, administrator of the Houston church.

GuideStone has given more than $100 million to retired Southern Baptist pastors and their widows, with all donations to Mission:Dignity given to those in need.

"Not a dime of that money came from GuideStone or GuideStone Funds," Hawkins said. "Every penny came from individuals and churches that saw the vision and took the serious admonition of James when he said 'pure religion that is undefiled is that you take care of widows and orphans.'"

Hawkins encouraged messengers to sign up for materials for Mission:Dignity Sunday, June 23. Churches interested in celebrating Mission:Dignity can choose to do so any Sunday. Undated materials are available and can be ordered through Mission:Dignity's website, www.MissionDignitySBC.org.
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Roy Hayhurst is senior manager of editorial services at GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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