Hawkins reminds messengers of founder's pledge
NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins, in his report to messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention, cited GuideStone founder William Lunsford and his first report to messengers.
"In 1918," Hawkins said, "our founder William Lunsford stood before this group and made this pledge to the pastors, 'Give yourself wholeheartedly to the work. We'll stand back of you. If you fall in the work we'll care for you; if you die, we will not allow your family to suffer. If you grow old in the work, we'll comfort you in your declining years.'
"And we've never gotten away from our founder's vision," Hawkins said.
The Wall Street Journal, Thomson Reuters and Investment News honored GuideStone Funds March 8 in New York City with the 2012 Lipper Award for Best Overall Small Fund Group in the U.S., rating the funds No. 1 out of 182 eligible companies with up to $40 billion in assets.
"William Lunsford would rejoice with us today in the incredible investment success that God has given to GuideStone, receiving the highest honors in the investment world," Hawkins said.
Additionally, ratings firm fi360 ranked GuideStone Funds No. 1 out of 223 mutual fund families for the quarter ending March 31, 2012.
While citing the addition of Cigna to the group plan options offered by GuideStone, Hawkins acknowledged that the biggest news regarding healthcare revolved around the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.
"Many of you know that the Catholics have taken a litigation route related to this," Hawkins said. "We're taking a legislative route with other denominational pension funds, working side-by-side trying to get legislation that is going to fix some of the things that are involved in this. We're also trying to work with the administration."
While emphasizing that GuideStone seeks to work legislatively and administratively, Hawkins said GuideStone would not compromise its core convictions.
"I was talking to our new [SBC] president a moment ago and I asked Fred Luter when he goes to Washington, as he surely will very soon, to take a message from us, and that is: GuideStone Financial Resources will never allow this administration to tell us that we have to provide abortive drugs like morning-after pills or provide for same-sex marriages," Hawkins said to applause in the hall.
PROPERTY & CASUALTY
Hawkins discussed a new partnership with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company to provide property and casualty insurance.
"We found a real partner in Brotherhood Mutual," Hawkins said. Citing their similar age and heritage to GuideStone and calling them "our Anabaptist cousins," Hawkins said Brotherhood Mutual is one of the top property and casualty leaders in the nation.
June 24 marks Mission:Dignity Sunday across the SBC. Hawkins said last year's giving set new records, including 1,000 new first-time givers, even in a bad economy.
Mission:Dignity provides for retired SBC ministers and their widows, providing financial support for those in need.
"If you're here today and a pastor and seated by a sweet lady who has served with you for decades, and God takes you to heaven, we're going to take care of her until she meets you there," Hawkins said.
In comments at the close of the report, outgoing SBC President Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., said his church has embraced a giving method for Mission:Dignity as part of their benevolence offering.
"Whenever we have the Lord's Supper, which is about once a month, we have a benevolence offering for people inside and outside the church who have come upon difficult financial times," Wright said. "We have been able to allow for a portion of that offering each year to go to Mission:Dignity. It is something your church can easily do if you have a benevolence offering to designate a portion to Mission:Dignity."
In addition, Hawkins announced that two books, "The Pastor's Guide to Leading & Living" and "The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know," are available through Christian and online retailers, with all royalties and proceeds benefitting Mission:Dignity. Pastor's Guide is available now; Joshua Code will be available in August, but is available for pre-order at popular online bookstores.
Hawkins also made reference to GuideStone's expanding presence in social media. Twitter users can follow @OSHawkins for ministry tools, tips, sermon outlines, personal reflections and links to helpful educational materials.
Roy Hayhurst is editorial services manager at GuideStone Financial Resources of the SBC.