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A Church for the City
With stained-glass windows and ornate pillars juxtaposing stained concrete and steel, Frontline Church’s downtown Oklahoma City location merges historical beauty with a modern renovated space for the community.
Josh Kouri, Frontline’s founding senior pastor, says the striking combination of architecture and historical importance, along with location and ample room for growth, is what first attracted him and other church leaders to the building back in 2011.
Frontline recently remodeled its space and accommodated growth spurts with a $6.3 million loan from WatersEdge in December 2019. Of the $6.3 million, $3.8 million was used to refinance existing projects and the remaining $2.5 million was used for renovations. The major portion of the renovation took place in the multi-level East Wing. Renovations include a new children’s space, an elevator for greater handicapped accessibility, new offices for staff, and spacious rooms for meetings and gatherings.
Kouri says the church decided to finance the project with WatersEdge because of the organization’s history of good stewardship and partnership with churches.
“It’s their heart for the local church,” he explains. “They’re making it possible for a lot of people and ministries to do good work.”
A Rich History And A Bright Future
The building has a long and storied history. It housed not one but two churches before Frontline purchased it and relocated its headquarters there. Built in 1911 with the addition of the East Wing in 1940, the building was once the worship space for First Christian Church of Oklahoma City (Disciples of Christ), then later, CityChurch. The building is also on the National Registry of Historic Places, known for its Neo-Classical Revival style of architecture.
“Our heart was to be a Gospel-focused church for the good of the city — to care about preaching the Gospel but also demonstrating the love of God, being the hands and feet of Jesus,” he says. “As the church grew and we needed more space, this building was a clear symbolic center for mission in the heart of the city. We knew this would be a great base to love and serve the city and to train people to go and start ministries in other parts of the world.”
Growing from 20 people meeting in Kouri’s home to multiple congregations with multiple services in only 15 years demonstrates God’s blessing on Frontline’s work. The church continues to fulfill its mission from its central location in downtown Oklahoma City, and from four additional congregations in south Oklahoma City, Edmond, Shawnee and Yukon. The church has also planted what Kouri describes as “daughter churches” in other states and in places around the globe like the United Kingdom and India.
Reclaiming The Space
As the church continued to grow, leadership realized it was time to expand the Frontline Downtown building. Renovations began in earnest once the loan was secured with WatersEdge. Anyone seeing the new space might find it hard to imagine just how much work has been done.
“This whole East Wing was closed for decades,” Kouri says. “It was full of dead birds and there was water damage. It was in terrible shape.”
Kouri and other church members are excited to see the space take shape. New heating and air conditioning and plumbing were installed, along with an additional stairway, elevator and chair lift.
Hope Wilson, the church’s connections director, says the East Wing gives the church more space to complete its Gospel-centered mission. “It’s opened up a lot of opportunities for us,” she says. “It’s been sweet to have that space.”
“The old children’s space was open but a bit of a hodgepodge,” she remembers.
The new space, Shockley says, is “clean and inviting … The fact that we have a separate space for kids — that they get to grow, birth through high school, and make it their own — is a very exciting thing.”
Shockley also loves the idea that the expansion will give Frontline Downtown and the church’s community partners more opportunities to use the building during other days of the week besides Sunday. “That just warms my heart,” she says.
Kouri couldn’t be more pleased with how the renovation is turning out thanks to the partnership with WatersEdge.
“The whole idea is to repair this place to love and serve the city and to see the Gospel get planted in the next generation,” he says.
Renewing and Redeeming
WatersEdge partners with congregations to bring new life to church facilities through renovation and new construction. But unlike traditional lenders, the interest from a WatersEdge loan is poured back into Southern Baptist ministries that change lives with the Gospel. Contact a lending expert today to learn more or apply.