On February 8, the board of directors for Oklahoma Baptists unanimously approved a plan for the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, doing business as WatersEdge, to purchase an office building near downtown Oklahoma City.

WatersEdge will enter into an agreement to purchase an approximately 100,000 square-foot, four-story office building in Bricktown that will be owned by WatersEdge, whose board of directors also approved the move.

The new WatersEdge location will house the fast-expanding WatersEdge Ministries, and also will serve as the future offices for the staff currently officing at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City, which includes Oklahoma Baptists, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) and Baptist Village Communities (BVC).

WatersEdge President and CEO Robert Kellogg said, “This convention gave birth to our organization, and that’s a privilege we never want to forget. Since our founding, we have benefited from being the sole incorporated trust agency for Southern Baptist work in Oklahoma. With that privilege comes a responsibility to steward well what has been entrusted to us and to make wise financial decisions. The Lord has blessed us to be in a position to step forward and expand our facilities, and it’s now our privilege to provide the affiliates an opportunity to come with us.”

Previously, each of these ministries officed out of the Baptist Building on North May Avenue in Oklahoma City, a building that Oklahoma Baptists have owned, occupied and operated since 1990.

Dr. Todd Fisher, Oklahoma Baptists executive director-treasurer said, “The move to a new building is a significant opportunity for Oklahoma Baptists. The decision did not come lightly, but rather came through a long period of prayer, due diligence, collaboration among our ministry affiliate leadership, and our joint affirmation to put us all in the best position possible to accomplish our common goal of advancing the gospel and serving Oklahoma Baptists churches.”

Fisher added, “The current Baptist Building, as is, can no longer accommodate the growth of WatersEdge, and remodeling the Baptist Building is cost prohibitive. It was vitally important for the convention and affiliates to office together in the same building under the umbrella of Oklahoma Baptists enhancing the unity we enjoy and appreciate. In short, this move will enable our state convention to invest more resources into churches and pastors instead of using those resources toward the upkeep of an aging building.”

During the Feb. 8 meeting, board members heard details of how the move to a new building owned and operated by WatersEdge will save the state convention a projected $500,000 annually. The savings will enable Oklahoma Baptists to continue its current ministries and commitment to expand its investment in churches and pastors.

Michael Butler, pastor of Chickasha, First who serves as Oklahoma Baptists president, called the move a good decision for stewardship and ministry. “The opportunity for WatersEdge to bring its staff together in one centralized location presents a win-win scenario for Oklahoma Baptists,” said Butler. “This move addresses WatersEdge’s needs while also allowing Oklahoma Baptists to preserve our own operational needs without sacrificing our mission to serve and support churches through stewarding our shared resources toward advancing the gospel. I have great confidence in Dr. Fisher and the staff of Oklahoma Baptists who are working diligently to adjust operations in order to make the most of our Cooperative Program dollars and to grow our capacity to encourage and equip pastors and churches to fulfill God’s calling. I also believe this move strategically positions Oklahoma Baptists for ministry well into the future. I see God preparing the way for Oklahoma Baptists to maximize our partnership potential as we leverage our combined resources to reach Oklahoma and beyond with the gospel.”

Once the real estate transaction is closed, WatersEdge will begin the process of relocating to the new building location, with Oklahoma Baptists and other affiliates making the move in coming months. The Baptist Building will be listed for sale.

For more information about the WatersEdge building, visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/watersedge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the newly acquired building located?

The new WatersEdge building is located in Bricktown, near downtown Oklahoma City.

Who will own the newly-acquired building, and who will be renting space?

WatersEdge is purchasing the office building and will enter into long-term lease agreements with Oklahoma Baptists, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and Baptist Village Communities.

Why did WatersEdge purchase a building at this time?

The need to purchase a larger office space emerged as WatersEdge has experienced very strong growth in the last few years primarily through its Ministry Accounting Services program. This expanding program provides affordable accounting services to churches of every size.

What will happen to the current Baptist Building on North May in Oklahoma City?

The Baptist Building was constructed more than 40 years ago and has been the office space for state convention staff and three of its affiliates. The building will be listed for sale.

Did state convention leaders consider keeping the Baptist Building and renovating?

For more than a year, Oklahoma Baptists have consulted with construction companies and architects exploring every possibility of how we can reconfigure or remodel the Baptist Building to meet the growth needs of WatersEdge. However, every option for remodeling to accommodate the growing staff needs was extremely cost prohibitive.

Will all the affiliates make the move?

Leaders with Oklahoma Baptists and affiliates together have decided to make the move to the new location. Having Oklahoma Baptists office together with Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Baptist Village Communities, and WatersEdge helps to maintain the unity now experienced and appreciated.

When will WatersEdge move into the new building?

It is anticipated that the close of sale will occur in coming weeks, and WatersEdge will begin the process of relocating to the new office space, with Oklahoma Baptists and its affiliates staff, who now office at the Baptist Building, relocating in coming months.

Will this move put Oklahoma Baptists in a good financial position for the future?

The proceeds of the sale of the Baptist Building will be invested in such a way to offset the rent Oklahoma Baptists will pay to WatersEdge. When the Baptist Building can be sold, the plan to move to the new building will create a projected total savings of approximately $500,000 a year. No longer owning and operating a building will free up Oklahoma Baptists resources for ministries in the future.

Will Oklahoma Baptists still offer the same level of ministry services to churches?

This move will help Oklahoma Baptists better fulfill our strong commitment to be the very best stewards of the precious resources entrusted to the state convention. The ministries that churches and pastors count on will continue—including Falls Creek and CrossTimbers, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Disaster Relief, conferences and retreats, and others. This move will make more resources available for missions and ministry opportunities right here in Oklahoma and around the world.

If I visit the office space, where will I park?

There is ample parking for guests who are visiting the new WatersEdge office building. Prior to any meetings, guests can communicate directly with those ministries about the parking options.

What is the Kingdom impact of this move?

The purchase of this building by WatersEdge will be a very positive development for the present and future of Oklahoma Baptists. Todd Fisher said, “My passion as Executive Director is for our state convention to take its resources and do all it can to invest back into our churches and pastors. I believe this investment will lead to the advancement of the gospel. Moving out of our current location can enable us to free up resources to do that very thing.”