This week’s Baptist Messenger gives a report on CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp and the youth camp at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, as both venues are providing a fun summer experience while encouraging campers to share their faith and grow spiritually.
DAVIS—CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp continues to see growth, now in its third year at the current location outside Davis. Glenn Barber, CrossTimbers program director and children’s ministry specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), gave an encouraging report after beginning the first session.
“Camp is going really well with the number of people coming back, and we are getting good feedback,” said Barber who mentioned the camp continues to increase the number of churches bringing children to camp every year. “It’s amazing, even after the first day of camp, people seem to be blown away by how we do what we do. It’s always a blessing to watch our summer staff be engaged with the kids.”
The theme for CrossTimbers 2016 is “Be Transformed,” based on 2 Cor. 5:17. Every day of the camp session has its own theme, as Day 1 focuses on “Be New” (2 Cor. 5:21); Day 2 on “Be Different” (Rom. 12:2); Day 3 on “Be Doers” (James 1:22); and Day 4 “Be Transformed.”
“We hope our theme helps (campers) to realize that, as a Christian, it’s okay to stand out. It’s okay to be different from everybody else,” Barber said.
Evangelism is a major emphasis, as campers learn how to share Gospel with friends by using the Gospel tract “One Great God,” which is part of the Connect>1 Strategy with the BGCO.
“One of our last challenges is to go out and do,” said Barber. “The kids are getting hold of that. It’s a motivation for them to see they can share Christ. We hope they will get to where they are comfortable sharing their testimony.”
The speakers for each of the 11 four-day sessions include Charles Scheffe, former children’s pastor at Edmond, First; Barber; Randall Jones, pastor of Perry, Kaw Street Chapel; Will Wilson, pastor of Tecumseh, New Hope; Keith Badgett, children’s pastor at Jenks, First; Barry Williams, children’s pastor at Sulphur, Crossway; Walter Bradley, children’s pastor at Moore, First; David Skinner, children’s pastor at Ada, First; Bryan Church, staff pastor at Broken Arrow, First; Keith Wiginton, pastor of Claremore, First; and Blake Gideon, pastor of Edmond, First.
Barber said each session speaker will be sharing the Gospel, encouraging discipleship and challenging campers to be missions-minded.
Along with the usual activities of target sports, swimming and waterfront activities, campers will be spending daily time at the missions stops, which include cultural studies of the Appalachian region and a time of campers learning how to share their faith.
With the increase of campers coming weekly, Barber said they made some schedule changes.
“We adjusted a little bit (of the daily schedule) to put more of an emphasis on our worship time and to have a less rushed evening,” said Barber. “Our original schedule was set for 200 people, but when we run through with 400, it becomes cumbersome. The new schedule makes things flow better.”
DAVIS—“We’re going to talk this week about the one true God. We’re going to communicate that throughout the morning time during our teaching times, and we’re going to talk about it in the evening times as well,” said Andy Harrison, Falls Creek program director and student ministry specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), when he opened the evening session of the first day of summer camp.
The theme for Falls Creek 2016 is “One,” emphasizing the One True God, and the focal verse is Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.”
“This is an evangelism year,” said Harrison. “(The theme) is part of the Connect>1 strategy we have at the BGCO. So we’re equipping students for evangelism this year. It’s not that we’re just excited to see them come to Christ but also to see them equipped for evangelism.”
Harrison mentioned in his opening talk with campers about the opportunity for them to learn a new Gospel tract titled “One Great Hope” during the week of camp. Other new features of camp Harrison mentioned include a “One Hour of Solitude” in the Prayer Garden, featuring 12 prayer stations that allow participants to spend five minutes each on a prayer topic.
With the new Mathena Family Event Center now accessible on campus, the daily schedule of camp makes it possible for all campers to meet for morning Bible studies at the same time in their respective age groups – middle school, high school and high school graduates.
“When we get around one another, especially in our group times in our own cabins, and then we get out with everybody, and we’re enjoying recreation and the events that are going on, going to concessions and meeting people—in the midst of that, God is going to speak to your heart—through the conversations you have, here in the tabernacle, over in the events center and in the chapel,” Harrison told campers.
The list of speakers this summer includes a combination of new speakers and those who have spoken previously at Falls Creek. Ed Newton, pastor of San Antonio, Texas, Community Bible, will be speaking twice during the summer weeks, for Week One (June 6-10) and Week Seven (July 18-22) (see story on page 7).
Two state pastors are on the weekly speaker list, including Doug Melton, pastor of Oklahoma City, Southern Hills, for Week Five (July 4-8) and Charlie Blount, pastor of El Reno, First, for Week Six (July 11-15).
H.B. Charles, Jr., pastor of Jacksonville, Fla, Shiloh Metropolitan, is a well-known speaker at Southern Baptist events. He will be the Week Three (June 20-24) speaker.
“Our students will love every second of H.B. Charles because he is going to preach the paint off the walls,” said Harrison.
Brian Mills, church strategist and Lift Tour coordinator at Student Leadership University, was the Week Two (June 13-17) speaker. Acton Bowen, a well-known student ministries speaker from Gadsden, Ala., will be the Week Four (June 27-July 1). Stuart Henslee, leadership development pastor at Muscle Shoals, Ala., Highland Park, will close out summer camp as the Week Eight (July 25-29) speaker.
“If you will listen for God, He will speak to you,” said Harrison, concluding his opening talk with campers. “I promise you. If you’ll listen, He will speak. He speaks in this place, called Falls Creek, like no other place on earth.”