SBC DIGEST: GuideStone Adds Chief Marketing Officer; Black Church Conference Encourages Faith – Baptist Press | Region & Cash

GuideStone Adds New Chief Marketing Officer to Justin Stowell

By Roy Hayhurst/GuideStone

DALLAS (BP) – Justin Stowell, a veteran non-profit marketing executive, has joined GuideStone Financial Resources as Chief Marketing Officer.

In the newly created position, Stowell will lead GuideStone’s marketing efforts in pensions, investing, insurance and Mission: Dignity.

“Justin brings a proven track record of nonprofit marketing expertise and leadership to this role,” said GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck. “As we build on a strong reputation and continue to reach out to Southern Baptists and other evangelical churches and ministries, we have determined the time is right to create this role to increase our marketing efforts.”

Prior to joining GuideStone, Stowell held marketing roles at Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Ramsey Solutions and Cru Global (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). He also served as a staff member at a Southern Baptist Church. Stowell has 13 years of marketing experience with a focus on brand development and digital. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communications from the University of Central Florida.

“As we seek to build on the strong foundation GuideStone has built over the past 104 years, we have found that growing our brand is one of our top priorities,” said Dilbeck. “Justin was a candidate who rose to the top because of his commitment to ministry organizations, excellent marketing, and a clear, personal understanding of the pastors, churches and ministry organizations we serve today and those we hope to serve in the future. He has already proven to be a valuable member of our team.”

Stowell expressed excitement at the opportunity to join GuideStone in this strategic role.

“Participating in GuideStone’s mission is an incredible blessing to me and my family,” said Stowell. “As GuideStone participants, we know the value this organization offers to those who serve the Lord. I look forward to helping amplify the great work of this organization and reaching more people than ever before.”

Stowell is married to Mandi; they have three children. The family moved to the Dallas area from Nashville earlier this summer.


Black Church Conference promotes the faith of the participants

By Aaron Earls/Lifeway

RIDGECREST, NC (BP) — Church leaders from across the country came together to encourage one another through endured hardships and challenge one another to continue their ministry during the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference July 18-22, 2022 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.

The theme of “faith is tested!” comes from James 1:2-3 and fits this moment for churches and pastors, said Mark Croston, national director of black church ministries at Lifeway. “James was written for people who are going through a struggle,” he said. “As we come through the struggle of COVID and other challenges, we have found our faith is able to endure struggles. A faith that is not tested is uncertain, but a faith that is tested can withstand adversity.”

The conference serves to strengthen ties between local African American churches and the Southern Baptist Convention. In addition to Croston and others from Lifeway, representatives from the SBC Executive Committee, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, GuideStone Financial Resources, Woman’s Missionary Union, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and North Carolina Baptist Convention were present at the conference spoke to participants during the evening events. “Many African American churches are new to the convention,” Croston said. “The conference helps them learn more about these connections, how the entities exist to serve them, and how their ministry can be enriched through increased participation in the SBC.”

Two other important aspects of the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference that Croston pointed out are the intention to welcome families and to provide time out for participants. “There are daily experiences for people of all ages,” he said. “Usually when a pastor goes to a conference, he has to leave his wife and children behind. We don’t want that here. A pastor from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida could come and bring his wife and seven children.”

Despite all the events taking place, Croston said there are certain periods of unstructured time and that he even encourages attendees not to do everything. “In these moments of stillness, participants often form relationships with others, some of which develop into lifelong friendships,” he said. “After many conferences, pastors leave exhausted. We don’t want that. We want them to come into the ministry that God has called them to in their local churches refreshed and energized.”

For those unable to attend this year, the 2022 conference will be available online and on-demand, including more than 24 hours of training sessions, at live.lifeway.com. Purchasers will have access to the material until July 2023.

Registration is now open for next year’s Black Church Leadership and Family 30th Anniversary Conference, July 17-21, 2023, on the theme of Reimagine. To register, visit RidgecrestConferenceCenter.com/events/bclfc.

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