West Florida Baptist Association seeks community input

Local Baptist Churches Desire to Make a Difference in Country Oaks Community

The West Florida Baptist Association announced a community meeting at Country Oaks Baptist Church on Sunday, October 23, at 2:30 pm in a desire to work with the community to bring an effective ministry to the Country Oaks church facility. Country Oaks Baptist Church closed its doors at the end of 2014 after more than 20 years of ministry. In that time, the church struggled to maintain an autonomous congregation and the association provided a majority of the funding for all of its 20 years in existence. A decline in membership and the economic downturn has required the association to close the doors of the church and reassess the use of the property. The association had begun investigating an opportunity to house a prison transition ministry at the facilities. After rumors caused negative fallout from community members, the association chose to halt that effort before they had completed their exploratory efforts.

The association remains hopeful that the Country Oaks property can be used in an effective way for ministry that is also appealing to the community. Associational Missionary, Forrest Smith stated, “The West Florida Baptist Association has had a gospel influence in the community of Country Oaks for 20 plus years. We desire to continue to have a ministry there that the community supports and where lives are transformed by the love of Jesus Christ.” The association sees its decision to call a second meeting with the community as a genuine effort to work with and engage their input so that future use of Country Oaks church will be a positive influence in the area and for God’s Kingdom.

About West Florida Baptist Association: West Florida Baptist Association (WFBA) is a voluntary fellowship of Southern Baptist Churches in the Washington County area working together to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ. WFBA assists in proclaiming the Gospel to the lost, discipling Christians, and ministering to the needs of our community in the name of Jesus Christ. Their purpose is to promote fellowship among the churches and to encourage missionary and evangelism work in every church of the Association. WFBA also carries out community ministries throughout the Association that would not be possible by any one church. The Association also keeps an open line of communication between the churches and both the Florida and Southern Baptist Conventions.