Oakdale Baptist Church
Regret can haunt a church for years. Thankfully, God brings new opportunities that can erase all memory of what could have been.
Years ago, when Oakdale Baptist Church was located in a rural area of Oklahoma City, a developer offered to sell the church land for future use. But the congregation declined the offer because they thought it was too expensive and couldn’t imagine ever needing room to grow.
Today, Oakdale’s current leadership has refused to make the same mistake twice.
Justin Ford has pastored the church since 2005. During that time he’s witnessed an abundance of change and growth. Gone are the farmers’ fields and pastures that once surrounded the church; they’ve been replaced with new homes, gated neighborhoods, businesses and schools.
“We have a young community and a school district here that is one of the best in the state,” Ford explains. “People move here because they value education and resources for their kids.”
To better reach and serve the young families flocking to Oakdale’s community, the church began to prioritize its nursery, children’s ministry and youth ministry.
“We’ve had all the opportunities to minister and do outreach, but our facilities make that difficult,” Ford says.
When Ford first came to Oakdale, there had already been a building project to accommodate the membership surge, but within two years of constructing a new worship center, the congregation had already outgrown it. The church needed more space, but steep land prices and lack of availability complicated matters. The church also knew it didn’t want to leave the Oakdale community to find space.
“We believed that if God put the opportunity before us, we had to fulfill that responsibility, and in His time, He would show us how to do that,” Ford remembers. “So, we just tried to be patient.”
For ten years they waited, exercising patience, prayer and steadfast fundraising until God provided the perfect scenario: an opportunity to purchase 18 acres less than a mile from the church’s current location.
The cost of the first phase of the building project is $4.7 million. Oakdale raised more than half the funds and then started shopping for a loan to finance the rest. They chose to partner with WatersEdge Ministry Services, The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma’s new brand for church loan, investment and accounting services.
“We looked at several lending institutions, but WatersEdge had the advantage because we knew that the interest we were going to pay on our loan would go back to ministry and missions, and that is something you can’t overlook,” he says.
A $2 million loan from WatersEdge allowed Oakdale to begin the first phase of building in July 2018, which includes a 540-seat worship center, nursery and children’s facility. The church will proceed with phase two after the sale of its current building.
Oakdale will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2020, and the church continues the difficult process of making changes in order to remain relevant and minister to the needs of a vibrant, growing community.
“Every time we’ve had an opportunity to add space for more people, we’ve seen exponential growth,” Ford says. “Now we are at a crossroads of not knowing what God will do next, but we know we will see a blessing that we didn’t even dream of.”
Pictured above: Jerry Vaughan, WatersEdge Ministry Services president (left), and Justin Ford (right), Pastor of Oakdale Baptist Church, stand in front of the current Oakdale construction site, which is slated to open July 2019.
By Taprina Milburn | Photo by Mike Schueler