Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your ministry?
My name is Ben and I’m the pastor of Woodstock Road Baptist Church. We are based in North Oxford, and the church has been going for around 125 years, faithfully proclaiming Jesus to our local area. I’ve found this a wonderful church to be a part of, a real community who want to love one another well. We are a diverse congregation with people from different nationalities, ages, stages, and backgrounds.
On a Sunday we have just over 100 people worshipping with us over our two services, and we have lunch together as a church every week. This extended period together means we really feel like family. The Lord has used this, gently growing our congregation, and slowly working amongst his people. We’ve had people move to the area, and people who have come to know the Lord, so it’s
been really encouraging
What are some areas of ministry which you’re excited about at the moment?
We are excited to be bringing a new pastor onto the team, and hope that this allows us to start some new ministries. Our homegroups are hubs of pastoral care and support and that’s been such an encouragement to see the church family walking closely to the Lord and to each other.
At the moment, our community coffee morning is a real highlight of the week. It’s a chance to engage with people in our area and helps us get to know people we otherwise wouldn’t meet. It has helped people to be more comfortable spending time in church and is a great opportunity to share the gospel with our community. Throughout the week, we are also able to use the space for other activities as it’s a flexible space.
Why did you decide to buy this property?
We purchased this house as a home for the new pastor who is starting with us. As a church we received a legacy and wanted to steward the money wisely. We thought it would be financially prudent to invest in property, as rent is expensive in North Oxford. Buying this house helps to safeguard our future as a church, as it means current and future pastors can live in it.
When we knew we wanted to purchase a property, we were praying to find the right thing. We looked around and nothing seemed ideal, but then in God’s providence someone approached us with a house. It was being sold by a Christian family, and it was the kind of price we were looking for.
We had a real sense of the Lord working; this home had been used for ministry and would continue to be. The house itself is set up well for a family, with space for hospitality, ministry, and family life at the same time. The house is a base to reach into the community, all the things we wanted in a property.
How were Kingdom Bank able to help?
When we met as trustees to weigh up different mortgage options, we knew we wanted to work with people who understand how churches work. It was a joy to find Kingdom Bank. We found the team not only understood us and our vision, but also the nature of church income. Church finance fluctuates, so we wanted to partner with a lender who understands that. We find it encouraging that the person on the other end of the phone will talk with us, help us plan, and isn’t just trying to make as much money as possible on interest! To know we have that support is wonderful and a huge blessing.
We also know that the interest we pay on the mortgage is still gospel money. We are confident that Kingdom Bank invest in things we believe in, so it’s not money wasted. It means we can help enable Kingdom Bank to grow, helping other churches to benefit the way we have. It’s great to see gospel ministry expanding in the UK.
Our experience with Kingdom Bank has been positive and knowing that there is a Christian on the other end of the phone who will listen and understand has made conversations feel easier. The team have looked over everything with openness and understanding, making it feel like we are working together. They have been responsible, approachable, and have a real willingness to engage and work together.