SAN FRANCISCO (BP) — O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, reported on the continued growth in the number of the entity’s expanded ministry participants at a meeting of the trustees in San Francisco.
Trustees also were updated on GuideStone’s long-range plan and on health care reform efforts. Expanded ministry participants, Hawkins said, help provide stability and strength to GuideStone’s insurance program.
“Each year, we see value from our efforts to reach out and engage like-minded evangelical organizations,” Hawkins said at the July 29-30 meeting. “Currently, expanded market ministries comprise over 25 percent of our total group medical plan participants and provide more than 10 percent of total new money into the retirement plan.
Citing Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish …,” Hawkins said GuideStone 100, the entity’s long-range strategic plan, provides the ministry with its design, definition, dynamic, direction and dependence.
Hawkins highlighted the more than 50 significant organizational achievements accomplished under GuideStone 95, which — along with GuideStone 90 — was a stepping stone toward the completion of GuideStone 100.
Hawkins updated trustees on GuideStone’s Mission:Dignity ministry, which raises funds to provide financial support to needy retired Southern Baptist ministers, denominational workers, missionaries and their surviving spouses. Qualifying individuals receive $200 a month in assistance; couples are eligible for $265 a month. As of June 30, Mission:Dignity served 1,872 individuals and couples.
Mission:Dignity receives no Cooperative Program allocation and is funded primarily through the direct gifts of individuals, Sunday School classes, groups and churches.
Health care reform
Trustees heard a report from Rod Miller, GuideStone’s special counsel, on health care reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Miller noted that PPACA “fails to recognize the special legal nature of church health plans and imposes numerous new plan requirements while not affording the participants in church health care plans equal treatment with those who are in secular plans.”
“A major area of focus for us has been GuideStone’s ongoing commitment to be an advocate for employers and participants in church plans as health care reform becomes more fully applicable in 2014,” Miller said. “GuideStone continues to be actively and diligently engaged in preserving and protecting church health plans designed for those in ministry.”
In response to the health care reform report, trustees passed a resolution stating their commitment to upholding biblical convictions regarding the sanctity of life, including the lives of the unborn.
John Jones, GuideStone’s chief operating officer, reported on GuideStone’s activities through the first half of the year, which he characterized as a “remarkable period of time across all areas of GuideStone’s ministry.”
“In May, GuideStone’s total assets increased to $11.7 billion from the previous high of $10.7 billion in the fall of 2007,” Jones said. “From an absolute performance perspective, including overall net income and returns, GuideStone Funds continue to achieve superlative results.
“This is a particularly meaningful recognition because of the broad scope of criteria used by fi360 in their rankings. Their evaluation includes such factors as regulatory oversight, track record, assets under management, stability of the organization, expense ratio/fees relative to peers, risk-adjusted performance relative to peers and overall investment performance relative to peers.
“And for the second year in a row,” Jones said, “GuideStone was recognized by the Lipper Fund Awards, this time for the Best Fund Over Three Years (Mixed-Asset Target 2025 Funds) for the MyDestination 2025 Fund.”
This has been a banner year for GuideStone in medical insurance enrollment, Jones reported.
“Enrollment in our medical plans increased by over 3,000 lives, and total enrollment exceeded 33,000 lives,” Jones said. “And our group medical plans have continued to see significant gains as over 1,100 new group lives have been added since the beginning of the year.”
Regarding GuideStone’s property and casualty insurance program, Jones noted the alignment in values between GuideStone and Brotherhood Mutual since the two joined efforts to serve churches and ministry organizations, leading to some positive results in the first half of 2013.
“In the first half of the year, Property & Casualty has already surpassed total bound premiums posted in 2012,” Jones said. “In the first half of 2013, we are renewing basically 100 percent of existing accounts. Average new premium has increased nearly 70 percent, from $260,000 per month in 2012 to $440,000 per month in 2013.
“In April, GuideStone acquired the property and casualty account of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, and became the first Brotherhood agency to write more than $1 million in one month. And we are proud that members of our sales team are consistently ranked in Brotherhood Mutual’s Top 10 producers nationwide — successfully closing 61 percent of all accounts they submitted this year.”
In closing remarks, Hawkins reminded trustees, “Every decision we make as trustees and staff must be considered in terms of our vision statement which says, ‘We exist to honor the Lord by being a lifelong partner with our participants in enhancing their financial security.’”
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