South Tulsa Baptist Church: Creating Long-Term Financial Security

South Tulsa Baptist Church is a fairly young congregation, finding its roots in the early 1970s. Since its inception, South Tulsa has grown at a steady rate and has always been well-managed and financially stable. In 2009, the Finance Committee at South Tulsa was spurred to think big. While a stable, growing church, the only real asset South Tulsa owned was the church building. This fact led Steve Holden, a Deacon and Treasurer of the Stewardship Committee, along with Don Williams, the Finance Committee Chairman, to begin thinking of a long-term financial solution.

In 2009, South Tulsa was able to create an endowment through The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma’s Legacy Partnership Program. A Legacy Partnership is an endowment that provides for the long-term financial needs of a church. The endowment is initially created by contributions from the congregation and can increase each year through donations and gifts from members’ estate plans. Over time, the fund grows through investment returns and a concentrated effort to promote planned giving within the congregation. Each January, the fund provides an annual distribution to be used as the church sees fit. The principle is never distributed, only income from it.

The Foundation not only sets up the endowment and manages it for the church, but it also helps the congregation develop a Legacy Leadership Council. This council consists of church members who help promote contributions to the fund and decide how to spend the annual distributions.

The money obtained every January has been helpful for South Tulsa to invest in programs it couldn’t originally fund. Don Williams describes how the annual distribution has become significant to their youth ministry.

“It provides a source of discretionary funding for programs of the church. In the past couple of years, the earnings on the Legacy funds have been used to help support the attendance of some of our youth at the Lead The Cause University held in Colorado. This is a powerful program for our youth, and the cost of attendance is about $500 per person, which can be a challenge. Legacy funding has been used to reduce the cost paid by each student to attend this program.”

Every year, South Tulsa’s Legacy Council is able to sit down and decide what to do with the earnings they receive from the fund. South Tulsa has seen the benefit of the Foundation’s Legacy Partner program and appreciates the help the Foundation has provided regarding the management and promotion of it.

Steve Holden encourages other churches that are thinking about participating in the program by saying, “I think it’s important for a church to be a wise manager of their assets, and I think this is one way to be that. Every church is at a different stage and not all churches are going to be able create an endowment, but I would hope all churches would look forward to being able to do that. I think it is a great program.”

A Legacy Partnership is an endowment that is created through donations from the congregation. Over time, the fund grows through investment returns and provides an annual distribution to be used as the church sees fit. For more information on Legacy Partnerships, call Dan Allen today at 1.800.949.9988.

*This month’s blog series, "How We Help," focuses on our generous donors and why they give to Kingdom causes. It also poses as a way to inform readers about the different services that we offer to individuals and ministries. Check back later this week for another legacy partner highlight.