New Name, Same Purpose
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The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma is now WatersEdge
For almost 75 years, the Foundation has financially empowered donors and ministries to transform lives with the Gospel. We’re changing our name but not our commitment to serve and strengthen Oklahoma Baptists.
The Story Behind the Name
Why WatersEdge? It’s a question I anticipate I’ll answer many times in the coming months.
When the Foundation began the rebranding process more than three years ago, we knew we wanted a name rooted in Scripture. There were a lot of ideas tossed around — some good, some not. We even hired consultants and branding experts to help. Everlast, True Vine, Reverent, Upshift, and Invok were among the rejects. The Foundation nearly became “Lamplight,” but despite the obvious spiritual implications, we eventually decided that name wasn’t right, either.
By this point we were frustrated and out of ideas. Then came what I truly believe was divine inspiration. A Foundation staff member suggested the name WatersEdge. She was struck by the many miraculous biblical events that happened at or near the water’s edge, from Moses parting the Red Sea to Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River. But it was the passage of Christ calling His first disciples in Luke 5 that resonated most.
You know the story. After borrowing Simon’s boat to teach a crowd gathered on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus asks him to take the boat into deep water and drop his nets. Simon, who had already spent the night fishing and caught nothing, reluctantly agrees. But this time, when Simon and his partners, James and John, attempt to bring up their nets, they are so full of fish the men’s boats began to sink.
“Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him.” — Luke 5:10-11
This is the real miracle of this story — not the nets full of fish (which was also certainly miraculous) — but a man’s life so shaken by an encounter with his Savior that he was willing to leave everything at a moment’s notice to follow Him. Jesus called Simon to something radically different, changing not only his eternal but earthly destiny.
It’s that kind of change that drives WatersEdge. Our purpose is to financially empower donors and ministries to transform lives with the Gospel. If the Lord is calling you to make a Kingdom impact through your giving or your ministry, I invite you to partner with us.
Together, we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and dying world.
Robert K. Kellog
Chief Executive Officer
Why is the Foundation changing its name?
The WatersEdge name reflects decades of growth and our commitment to serving and strengthening Oklahoma Baptists. There are three primary reasons behind the change:
1. The word “foundation” no longer accurately describes the broad suite of financial services we provide. These services include those typically associated with foundations like endowment and other charitable giving solutions, but also include financial tools like loans, investments and accounting that are designed to meet the needs of churches and ministries. These services are not traditionally offered by foundations but are critical to serving and strengthening Oklahoma Baptists as they work to advance the Gospel.
2. The WatersEdge name creates opportunities for future growth. The Foundation’s services are increasingly in demand outside the state of Oklahoma, but our name has led many to mistakenly believe that we cannot help them. The WatersEdge brand removes this obstacle, allowing us to serve more Southern Baptists. This growth multiplies Kingdom impact while simultaneously allowing us to enhance our support of Oklahoma Baptists, including lower fees, competitive interest rates and yields, new services and more dollars distributed to ministry.
3. The WatersEdge name allows us to group our services according to clients’ needs, eliminating confusion by providing clear communication. Services that meet the needs of individuals and families exist as part of the WatersEdge Advisors brand, while services for churches, ministries, organizations and institutions exist as part of the WatersEdge Ministry Services brand.
Is WatersEdge still faith-based and part of Oklahoma Baptists (BGCO)?
Yes! Our new name does not change our status as a nonprofit, our identity as Christ-followers, or our commitment to serve and strengthen Oklahoma Baptists.
What does the WatersEdge name mean?
Rooted in Scripture, the WatersEdge name was inspired by the many miraculous biblical events that occurred at or near the water’s edge, from Moses parting the Red Sea to Jesus calling His first disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The latter most directly represents the hope that illuminates the WatersEdge name — lives so transformed by an encounter with Christ that they were willing to leave everything to follow Him. It is this kind of radical change that drives WatersEdge to financially empower donors and ministries to transform lives with the Gospel.
Is a name change unusual for a Southern Baptist organization?
No. Many Southern Baptist churches as well as national Southern Baptist organizations have made similar changes in recent years. For example, in 1997, the “Foreign Mission Board” changed its name to the International Mission Board, later adopting the acronym IMB. The “Sunday School Board” followed suit in 1998, changing its name to LifeWay Christian Resources. In 2004, the “Annuity Board” rebranded to Guidestone Financial Resources. Finally, the “Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma” became Oklahoma Baptists in late 2019.
Do the “WatersEdge Advisors” and “WatersEdge Ministry Services” brands mean the Foundation is splitting into two separate organizations?
No. Both Advisors and Ministry Services are under the WatersEdge umbrella. They are simply the two branches of our office. WatersEdge Advisors is focused on serving individuals and families. WatersEdge Ministry Services is focused on serving churches, ministries and other nonprofit Christian organizations.
How will WatersEdge operate differently From the Foundation, such as changes in policy and beliefs, or who you serve?
There are no changes in purpose, policy or beliefs. WatersEdge will continue serving and strengthening Oklahoma Baptists and like-minded ministries, as well as Baptist churches, ministries and organizations outside the state.
Does the new name include any change in personnel?
No. WatersEdge leadership and staff will remain the same as it was under The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma brand. Robert Kellogg will continue to serve as chief executive officer, Shryln Treadwell will serve as president of WatersEdge Advisors and Jerry Vaughan will serve as president of WatersEdge Ministry Services.
Is the Foundation’s mailing address, phone number or website changing?
Our mailing address will remain the same. The only change you need to make is to address future correspondence to “WatersEdge.”
3800 N. May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Both our toll-free and local phone numbers will remain the same, as will staff office numbers.
Our web address is changing to www.WatersEdgeServices.org. All visitors to our former website, www.bfok.org, will be redirected to the new WatersEdge website.