NORMAN—Leaders with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) have accepted a contract with the University of Oklahoma (OU) Board of Regents for the purchase of the BGCO’s present OU Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) property, which is located at 435 West Boyd St. The BCM property is adjacent to the Boyd House, the university president’s home in Norman, and was purchased at the sale price of $1.6 million.
The BGCO simultaneously entered into a 90-year ground lease with the OU Board of Regents for a piece of property at 1203 Elm Ave. in Norman, which will be developed and become the future site of a new BCM Building on the OU campus.
“We are delighted with this development, and believe this is a mutually beneficial arrangement for our ministry and the University, as well,” said BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan. “The property previously occupied by our ministry meets a need for the University, and the new ground lease site from OU will place our ministry in a strategic location on campus, closer to the students we serve.”
The Boyd property, which had served Oklahoma Baptists’ BCM ministry (previously called Baptist Student Union) since 1953, was analyzed and found to be in a state beyond simple renovation for use. The property had not been suitable for use for the ministry’s activities in recent years. The BCM ministry currently meets at a property belonging to Norman, Bethel for its ongoing activities.
The BGCO will be raising funds to help build its new facilities at OU, which are within walking distance of the majority of student dorms and proposed student housing. At a later date, the BGCO will announce more details specific to its plans for the future ministry location.
“The primary mission of the BCM is to reach students for Jesus Christ through evangelism and discipleship alongside the local church,” said BCM State Director Cris Lowery. “This new opportunity enables the BCM to further its vibrant participation in the OU community through a higher profile ministry location near student housing and other on-campus student organizations.”
John Kelsey, director for the BCM at OU sees it as a “dream location. God moves on the prayers of His people. The opportunity to build a new BCM so close to the dormitories and the OU community is an answered prayer for our ministry. God shows His faithfulness by providing a dream location from which we can touch thousands of lives for Him.”
Reactions among the students were positive as well. Chris Sharkey, a management information systems senior at OU said, “I am excited about this new property. During my time at OU, God has used the BCM to change my life, and I think that this new location will be able to attract even more students to the ministry, so they can receive the same incredible teaching I’ve received for the past three years.”
Max Barnett, former longtime director of the BCM/BSU at OU, sees a great opportunity through the new location. “I am thrilled with the possibilities that this property will open for the collegiate ministry. Through the years we centered our ministry on trying to reach the dorm students. If you are going to disciple people, you are going to have to spend time with them, and students in the dorms are more available, so we are thrilled this new location is in such close proximity to the dorm students.”
Barnett continued, “John Kelsey is doing an outstanding job of advancing the mission of trying to disciple people to go to the nations. I think John is doing an excellent job, and I am thrilled he is leading the ministry.”
For more information on the OU BCM property, or to get financially involved, contact BGCO Chief Development Officer Marty Harkey at [email protected] or 405/942-3800.