Southern Baptist and evangelical church members can now invest with GuideStone Funds, according to a May 5 press release from the SBC’s GuideStone Financial Resources.
Since its 2001 inception, GuideStone Funds has limited participation to pastors, missionaries, and employees of Southern Baptist and evangelical churches and ministries, as well as their immediate family members—until now, the release said.
Messengers to the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting amended GuideStone’s ministry statement to allow the entity to offer its investments, insurance, and services to like-minded individuals.
Under the approved expansion of its ministry assignment, GuideStone is now able to make the nation’s largest Christian-screened mutual fund family available to values-driven investors, with a focus on Southern Baptist and other evangelical church members. Investing in these funds became available to individuals on May 1.
“We are only requesting the opportunity to serve a larger audience because we firmly believe it will enhance our ability to serve our Southern Baptist pastors in a more cost-effective manner for the long-term,” O. S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone, said in 2013 when the ministry statement was amended.
In the May 5 press release, Hawkins reiterated the motivation behind last summer’s request for the ministry assignment change.
“Each expansion GuideStone has undertaken helps provide additional economies of scale, allowing us to continue to provide quality services at competitive prices to our pastors and all participants,” Hawkins said. “Our core commitment—part of the very fabric of GuideStone Financial Resources—is to those SBC pastors at the crossroads. Every time we consider an opportunity to grow, our first and foremost question remains whether we are able to do so while honoring the Lord in being those pastors’ lifelong partner in enhancing their financial security. We are convinced this step enhances our ability to partner with those participants.”
Rodric E. Cummins, senior vice president and chief investment officer of GuideStone Capital Management, said, “So often, people wonder whether they have to choose the performance they hope to achieve for their investments or the values they strive to live out today.
“We believe that the many industry recognitions GuideStone Funds has received help give evidence that investors don’t have to compromise their values to obtain industry-leading performance,” he said.
Ron Dugan, chief strategic investment officer for GuideStone, said, “We believe that the time is right to make these funds available to a wider Christian audience.
“Having successfully weathered financial storms after September 2001, as well as the economic downturn of 2008–2009, we believe our funds are battle-tested and offer a good approach for values-based investors who want to invest in accordance with their values.
“Our commitment to our investors, whether they are the pastors we were founded to serve over nine decades ago, church members, or financial advisors, is the same: to help them achieve their long-term goals,” Dugan said. “On each desk at GuideStone is a little sign that reminds us of our guiding vision as we seek to be a lifelong partner in enhancing the financial security of our participants. We will not waver from that as we seek to work each day with integrity and skill on behalf of our investors.”
GuideStone Funds is a controlled-affiliate of GuideStone Financial Resources, a ninety-six-year-old entity of the Southern Baptist Convention. Originally founded as a relief organization, GuideStone has transitioned into providing employer-sponsored retirement plans, life and health products, and property and casualty coverage. In the mutual funds group, GuideStone launched the first Christian-based target-date fund lineup in 2006.
GuideStone enjoys award-winning success. Five of its eleven Select Funds, as of March 31, have four- or five-star Morningstar ratings. In 2012, Lipper named GuideStone Funds its Best Overall Small Fund Group in the US—the first Christian-screened fund family of its kind to receive this award. Lipper recognized performance over the three-year period ending November 30, 2011, and ranked GuideStone number one out of 182 eligible fund families with up to $40 billion in assets.
In 2013, GuideStone’s MyDestination 2025 Fund was ranked number one out of ninety-two similar funds for its performance over the three-year period ending Nov. 30, 2012. Lipper honored GuideStone’s Extended-Duration Bond Fund as the Best Fund Over Three Years and the Best Fund Over Five Years in the Corporate Debt A-Rated Funds category, for period ending Nov. 30, 2013. In each category, the Extended-Duration Bond Fund beat out more than fifty eligible funds.
Information about GuideStone Funds is accessible at 1-888-GS-FUNDS (1-888-473-8637) or www.GuideStoneFunds.com. GuideStone is actively working to make its funds available through financial professionals. It will be adding capacity over the summer with the intent to have a robust rollout to advisors in the fall.
Timothy E. Head, executive officer of denominational and public relations at GuideStone Financial Resources, is a member of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.