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The Master’s plan: $2.5M gift to Falls Creek will build new lodge

The former site of the Falls Creek maintenance barn is projected to be the future home of the new 50-room lodge/welcome center/events center complex.

DAVIS—When the Master Plan for improvements at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center was drawn up several years ago, it included the construction of a multi-room hotel or lodge.

Now, years later, the Master’s Plan has provided the impetus for that man-made dream to become a reality, thanks to the generosity of a faithful Oklahoma Baptist family, who have given $2.5 million to build a 50-room lodge at Falls Creek.

“In our long range master plan we, from the very beginning, had a lodge on the plan,” said Anthony L. Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “We have known all along that you have to have a lodge and dining facility to accommodate the activities you have outside of the 12 weeks of youth camps in the summer.

“And while our non-summer events have grown significantly, we have always had the issue of adults not wanting to stay in
dormitories.”

The recent $7 million gift by another donor family for what BGCO officials are calling an “events center,” provided the impetus for the most recent gift, Jordan said.

“The events center is a dining hall/multi-purpose structure of around 30,000 square feet which will allow us to stage events accommodating almost 2,000 people,” Jordan explained. “The family which made this $2.5 million commitment recognized the need for a lodge to support our non-summer month ministry.

“So, it will be a 50-room lodge. Our plans are for it to be on the level of a Holiday Inn Express as far as the accommodations go. That’s what we and the family hope to be able to provide.”

Jordan said the goal is to connect the lodge with the events center by a welcome center in the middle.

“We already have $500,000 pledged for the welcome center, and we think it will take around $1 million to build it.”

The welcome center will be designed so it serves as the lobby for the lodge and also as the entrance to the events center. So, it serves as a gathering place for both facilities.

As to the donors for the lodge and events center, Jordan said both families will be recognized and honored at the next BGCO Board of Directors meeting on May 21 at Falls Creek.

The lodge gift’s donors are multi-generational.

“This family has been a faithful supporter of Falls Creek throughout the years,” Jordan said. “They were involved in giving  toward the building of the Tabernacle. It is a family as in grandparents, parents and children; all of them are contributing. It is a family gift.”

Once built, the lodge/welcome center/events center complex will make Falls Creek a prime location to host many large events, Jordan said.

“We envision Sunday School training events, along with marriage retreats. With the closing of Glorieta, we hope to host large gatherings of Southern Baptists,” he stressed. “Our location—basically 90 minutes from Dallas-Ft. Worth and 90 minutes from Oklahoma city—puts us in a very good location to host many more major events in the non-summer months.

“This also will give opportunities for parents to come and visit during the youth weeks in the summer. But, the non-summer months can be a vital part of our growth in ministry for the future and impacting people with the Gospel. It will allow us, again, to better accommodate the men’s and women’s retreats, but  it will not change the fact that the youth weeks remain the crown jewel of Falls Creek.”

The addition of the lodge will negate previously announced changes for the Falls Creek amphitheater.

“Our original intent was to enclose the amphitheater, but now, with the lodge coming into play, this gives us the ability to build a brand new facility that is designed to meet our needs, and makes the lodge and the events center complement one another,” Jordan pointed out.

Preliminary projections call for the new complex to be located south of the Wynn Center for World Missions, west of the cafeteria, and north of the new Ada, First, cabin. The old Falls Creek maintenance barn and caretaker’s cabin occupied the area previously.

Jordan said he is beyond grateful at how God continues to bless Oklahoma Baptists.

“It has been a phenomenal period of time over these last few months as God affirms the work He does at Falls Creek through moving on the hearts of generous people to give to improve and expand our ministry,” he said. “I give Him the glory for what has happened and with deepest appreciation to these families who have stepped forward to give so generously.

“In the last six months, we have seen a total of $14.5 million given to CrossTimbers, expansion at Falls Creek and debt retirement at Falls Creek.”

Preliminary plans call for construction on the lodge, events center and welcome center to begin in the Fall of 2014, with completion expected in the Summer of 2015.

Bob Nigh

Author: Bob Nigh

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  • Johnny Mizell

    As I grow older, it seems more clear that we are getting further each day from what Christ taught.
    Would he approve of the glamorous buildings we erect, the comforts we avail ourselves not just at
    home but ever more at our “worship” facilities? I fear that our religion has lost touch with our mission.

    The good intentions of our leaders, and those who donate large funds for specified actions-Does it
    help or hurt the cause for Christ? What does it tell the lost, that if you come and play with us, you
    can take advantage of all the goodies we have to offer? Christ never spoke kindly of earthly comforts
    or pleasures-Reading the scriptures, he was very clear about our mission-To seek and save the lost.
    We are the ones who muddy the waters, and try to justify and rationalize what he “really” meant-

    I love the Lord, and His Son-I’m just afraid that our minds and hearts are so distant from the true teachings that we wouldn’t know Christ if he came to one of these mega-building groundbreakings.

    Yours in Christian love,

    Johnny

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