NORMAN — Enterprise Baptist Church could be described as the little church that could.
The church has encountered an earthquake, survived nearby wildfires, embraced social media and has stood at the corner of Highway 9 and 84th Avenue South East for 50 years. And soon, through the hard work and dedication of its congregation and Pastor Kerry Bowen, the church will grow in size as much as it has grown in heart.
Last month, the church, which gets its name from its original meeting spot, Enterprise School, celebrated its 50th anniversary with a three day festival. And even though the moon bounce, the concert and the puppet show are all just memories for the congregation, the celebration hasn’t ended.
About 10 years ago, members decided they wanted to expand the church. The plans have been drawn up and the money is being saved. Currently in a capital campaign, the church needs to raise $150,000 to secure a $700,000 loan in order to construct an 80 x 80 multipurpose building adjacent to the current church building.
“If anybody has $200,000 or $700,000 they would like to give me, I would not be opposed to that,” Bowen said.
Although the money is slowly trickling in for the church expansion, Bowen knows that the church’s vision will soon be a reality.
“Every obstacle that we have faced, there’s been a way around it, right on the verge of people saying, ‘We can’t see through it,’ God provided a way. It’s the same with the building program,” Bowen said. “Another thing, it’s teaching the church that we are already making the payment. The ones who are scared that we couldn’t make a payment, we are already exceeding what the payment would be. The goal is we’ll bring in more people. Even though we have a small footprint, I want us to have a big place in the community.”
Bowen, who describes himself as a history buff, admits he wants to see the church grow, but he wants to respect the current building and the history attached to it.
“This building, I have no intentions as long as I’m here, I don’t care how many buildings we build, I’ll never tear this one down because I think we need to be reminded of where we come from,” Bowen said.
The church originally met 60 years ago at the Enterprise School, formerly located across the street from the church. The idea for the church began when Immanuel Baptist Church decided to have a mission church.
Since its official incorporation 50 years ago, the church has had 13 pastors, most of them have been students from Oklahoma Baptist University or retired pastors.
“A lot of them have moved on. We’ve got some that are in New York, some that are in Arizona. Some that have started missions in other countries. From this little church, a lot of people not only from across the country, but all over the world, have been used to help other people,” Bowen said.
The church averages 80 members and has two Sunday morning services. A traditional service is held at 8:30 a.m. and a contemporary service is from 11 a.m.-noon.
“I think it is a good church. I think it’s full of good, honest people and it reminds me of home,” Bowen said. “This church has been a great blessing for me. It restores your faith when you see people that actually care. There are a lot of things we can’t offer, but we can offer friendship and a place that you feel like you belong.”
For more information on Enterprise Baptist Church, visit www.enterprisebaptist.com or the church’s Facebook page.