Brandon Adams wanted to help send the students at his church on a mission trip, but he didn’t have the funds. That’s why Adams, pastor of education and administration at Choctaw, First, jumped at the opportunity to free up more resources by trusting WatersEdge Ministry Accounting to manage the church’s finances.
WatersEdge launched Ministry Accounting in 2019, offering bookkeeping, payroll and contribution tracking to Oklahoma Baptist churches, associations and organizations. The service is designed to lift the accounting burden off church leaders’ shoulders, so they can focus more on the Gospel and less on finances.
“Our youth were able to participate in a GoStudents project last summer in Belize, and thanks to money we saved with WatersEdge, the church was able to pay about 25 to 30 percent of each person’s cost,” Adams said. “We also sent groups to Guatemala and Montenegro, and helped plant a church in Kansas City.”
Sarah Barham, WatersEdge Ministry Accounting vice president, said the service helps save churches an average of $400 per month. “It’s money that often goes toward a salaried position or costly accounting software,” Barham explained, “but with the help of WatersEdge, those savings have been used to fund a variety of other ministry efforts.”
The expertise that WatersEdge brings also helps churches keep up with an ever-changing financial landscape.
“When you’re dealing with tax changes or associated legal issues, it gets complicated quickly,” Adams said. “We trust WatersEdge to be on top of that and let us know what’s going on.”
The WatersEdge Ministry Accounting team currently serves 33 churches and associations across Oklahoma. Barham said she expects to take on another 20 ministries by year’s end.
In addition to saving money, WatersEdge accounting is also saving church staff members time. Shellie Tellez, secretary at Oklahoma City, Shields Boulevard, said her congregation’s switch to WatersEdge has made her workload much more manageable.
“I’m also the church clerk, so I had to do it all,” Tellez said. “Partnering with WatersEdge took such a heavy load off of me, and I absolutely love working with them.”
Rick Cordova, pastor of Oklahoma City, Bright City, saw the benefit of using WatersEdge Ministry Accounting from the beginning.
“As a brand-new church starting from the ground up, we wanted to build an infrastructure that allowed us to meet the needs of our community,” Cordova said. “WatersEdge accounting is saving us thousands of dollars as opposed to hiring someone for that position. As a result, we’re even more involved in our community, whether it’s benevolence, helping someone with rent, or feeding the high school football team. Those savings have also helped us make renovations and get the church building in working order.”
Barham has also seen Ministry Accounting provide relief for a dedicated volunteer or church staff member who handled the congregation’s accounting for decades and felt a burden to stay on and continue helping because no one was available to take over.
“It’s freeing to know that when they’re ready, they can retire, and someone capable will be there to keep things flowing smoothly,” Barham said.
For Ponca City, First, WatersEdge filled such a need.
“Our secretary of more than 30 years was retiring,” Pastor Michael Taylor said. “We knew that replacing her was going to be impossible, so we started looking at outside firms and found WatersEdge.
“They’ve tailored their approach to meet our church’s needs with solid accounting practices. It’s not a one size fits all approach. They’ve been receptive to suggestions and requests. The heartbeat that drives their operation is serving the local church.”
To learn more about WatersEdge Ministry Accounting or request an estimate for your church, call 866/693-8369 or visit watersedgeservices.org/accounting.