NASHVILLE O.S. Hawkins, outgoing president of the SBC’s financial services GuideStone, gave the entity’s report to 14,827 registered messengers plus guests packing the auditorium at the Music City Center in Nashville the morning of June 15. Hawkins confirmed that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, GuideStone had shown its largest growth yet.
Despite the pandemic and stock market volatility, Mission:Dignity, GuideStone’s financial ministry benefiting retired Southern Baptist ministers and missionaries, finished 2020 with $10.4 million from 9,606 donors. Some 1,870 were helped with honorariums throughout the year.
Hawkins also said that two million copies of his Code book series have been sold, with all proceeds and author’s royalties benefitting Mission:Dignity. The newest in the series, The Bible Code: Finding Jesus in Every Book in the Bible, sold out and has recently returned to bookstore shelves. Spanish translations of three Code books are available.
The Book of Reports stated that a total of $8, 072,459 was paid to Mission:Dignity recipients in 2020, an increase from $7,362,271 the preceding year.
In response to a messenger noting difficulties because of the high cost of insurance premiums, Hawkins said that GuideStone was working to reduce costs under the leadership of Chu Soh and the Insurance Line of Business leadership team. The Guidestone report in the Book of Reports explained a new “one-time, step-down” health plan premium relief program that “went live” in April 2020 whereby churches and individuals with financial challenges wrought by the pandemic could lower their insurance premiums up to 50 percent while maintaining medical coverage.
Following a time of prayer for his successor Hance Dilbeck and his wife, Julie, Hawkins concluded GuideStone’s portion of the morning.
Later that morning, Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee, issued a welcome to messengers and guests. Floyd invited O.S. and Susie Hawkins to come to the stage. Calling Hawkins a “personal and cherished friend,” Floyd noted that when Hawkins leaves the helm of GuideStone in 2022, he will have completed 25 years of service as president and CEO of the organization.
A standing ovation greeted the couple. A resolution honoring Hawkins and his service would be read later, Floyd said.