You may have heard the exciting news that Oklahoma Baptists and its affiliates are moving offices to a new location. This move will positively impact the future of our state convention and help us carry out the vision of advancing the Gospel and serving/investing in churches and pastors.

For the last few years, our Oklahoma Baptists affiliate The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, doing business as WatersEdge, has experienced very strong growth primarily through its Ministry Accounting Services program. This program provides affordable accounting services to churches of every size, now serving more than 200 churches. This min- istry helps achieve a primary goal for Oklahoma Baptists — serving, helping, and investing in churches.

The growth of WatersEdge has required them to hire additional personnel, with the expectation that more workers will be needed in the future. As a result, WatersEdge is out of space at the Baptist Building. For well over a year, we explored every possibility of how we could reconfigure or remodel the Baptist Building to meet the growth needs of WatersEdge, but every option was extremely cost prohibitive. Also, the Baptist Building is now more than 40 years old and has considerable deferred maintenance needs.

WatersEdge began looking into the possibility of purchasing a building that would be suitable for their growing needs. An important thing to emphasize at this point is that it is essential to me, to our affiliate presidents, and I believe to Oklahoma Baptists, that our affiliates stay in the same building, to help maintain the unity we enjoy and appreciate as a state convention, and to remain under the umbrella as Oklahoma Baptists.

In WatersEdge’s search, they discovered a building large enough with a layout that is well-suited to house their growing needs and the needs of our state convention and affiliates. The building was available to be purchased at a price well below its appraised value and is located in Bricktown near downtown Oklahoma City. Many of you will recognize this building as the former headquarters of the Sonic Corporation.

On January 26, the Board of Directors for WatersEdge unanimously voted to purchase the building, and on February 8, the Oklahoma Baptists Board of Directors considered and unanimously approved the purchase of the building by WatersEdge. The offices of Oklahoma Baptists and affiliates currently in the Baptist Building will move to the newly acquired building sometime in the coming months.

This is exciting news for the future of Oklahoma Baptists as it will allow our state convention to take its resources and invest back into our churches and pastors for them to be stronger and healthier so the Gospel can be advanced. Currently, Oklahoma Baptists owns the Baptist Building and receives rent from our affiliates who office in it. Even after collecting rent, our cost is more than $600,000 annually for upkeep and maintenance of the building. Our team has worked diligently in researching the future cost of owning our current building. When the upcoming deferred maintenance costs are added to the average annual cost for Oklahoma Baptists to own and operate our current building over the next 10 years, the total cost rises to over $1 million a year.

Add to this fact that Cooperative Program receipts have been in decline for the last several years, and our ability to serve and resource churches and pastors would be greatly diminished.

With WatersEdge owning the new building, Oklahoma Baptists will no longer have to spend money maintaining the existing building and will save a significant amount of money. The Oklahoma Baptists board has voted to list the Baptist Building for sale, and the proceeds of its sale will be invested in a way that will help pay down the rent Oklahoma Baptists will pay to WatersEdge saving us over $500,000 annually.

Making this move will give our state convention a firmer financial future that will:

  • Allow us to better fulfill our strong commitment to be the best stewards of the precious resources entrusted to us;
  • Continue to offer the ministries such as Falls Creek, CrossTimbers, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Disaster Relief, conferences and retreats, and others;
  • Make more resources available for missions and ministry opportunities right here in Oklahoma.

The decision to move did not come lightly but rather through a long period of prayer, due diligence, collaboration and joint affirmation among our affiliate leadership. This move put us all in the best position possible to accomplish our common goal of advancing the Gospel and serving Oklahoma Baptists churches.

Todd Fisher

Executive Director-Treasurer