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Oklahoma Baptists staff to relocate to building purchased by WatersEdge

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) — On Feb. 8, the board of directors for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma 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 housed 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.”

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

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.

“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 First Baptist Church in Chickasha, 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,” Butler said. “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, 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.

This story first appeared in the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger. That version also includes an FAQ section after the story. See here.