For 15 years, a sign sat on an empty 100-acre piece of property. It read: Future Home of First Baptist Church of Cushing.
Fifteen years is a long time to wait for something. But the members of First Baptist Church of Cushing will tell you it was worth it.
The Oklahoma congregation raised nearly $4 million during that period to build the beautiful, new facility they enjoy today.
The venture started with one legacy giver—a teacher who left the church $100,000 when she died. The church used that gift to begin fundraising for a building project, since their existing facility was more than 100 years old.
“It had been added onto, pieced onto, a million different things,” explains senior pastor Michael Martin. “So, they needed something new. They started doing a few things, like buying up property around that building, but there wasn’t a good option there.”
Eventually, God prompted one generous church member to donate 100 acres of property in the heart of Cushing. The congregation continued to fundraise in earnest.
“I think it was a dream that they just believed in and stayed after,” Martin says. “A few of those were large gifts along the way, but a lot of them were just week after week of people committed to giving.”
Church members also donated hundreds of hours of labor, saving the church hundreds of thousands of dollars. One member installed plumbing, and another used his bulldozer to create the picturesque pond behind the church.
“Really, we had four or five guys who were the committee that built the church. If it was just on my shoulders, we would not be sitting in a finished building today,” Martin says. “They did a lot of stuff that you would normally have to pay someone to do. We have high quality folks here.”
FBC Cushing partnered with WatersEdge Ministry Services to help multiply their building funds. In November 2016, the church placed those funds in a WatersEdge term investment, allowing the money to grow before construction began.
“We chose WatersEdge because it was a better rate,” Martin says. “We could make more on our investment. And then also the ministry side of it—the fact that our investment was enabling WatersEdge to provide loans to other churches that needed help.”
FBC Cushing held its first service in the new building this past Easter Sunday. The sanctuary holds 600 people, and with weekly attendance around 250-300, the church has plenty of room to grow.
“We call ourselves the friendliest church in town,” Martin explains. “If people go to church, they ought to feel like they’re welcome there.”
The church is focused on raising up the next generation and investing in youth ministry and young families. More than 50 new members joined the church this year, and it’s on schedule to double baptisms from last year. Martin says investing wisely with WatersEdge is paving the way for the church to reach more people with the Gospel.
“That’s the story our church is excited about: we saved money and invested it with WatersEdge, and we got it done.”
By Anna Dellinger | Photos by Mike Schueler and Anna Dellinger