DAVIS—A favorite summer location for students offers a weekend experience during the fall. For the fifth consecutive year, Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center hosted Fall Back Weekend, Oct. 16-17, with 2,460 attendees representing 110 churches, and 57 students made professions of faith with 13 rededications.
Ed Newton, a Falls Creek favorite during the summer camps, was the guest speaker, and Doug Matlock of Chickasha, First served as worship leader for the three-session weekend centered on discipleship. Fall Back Weekend also offered a more relaxed schedule that Jason Langley said allows student ministry leaders to spend time with the young people involved in their church ministries.
“The activities are all ‘walk-up’ activities,” said Langley who serves as the director of conference centers for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). “You don’t schedule activities. If you feel like you want to play basketball, you can play basketball. If you want to go get an Icee, you can go get an Icee. If you want to go do the ropes or go walk around Price Falls, you can do that. At night, we have bonfires. It’s kind of a free flow where there is a lot of open time where the sponsors can visit with their kids, and they’re not having to hurry them to this event or the next event.
“It’s at a slower pace, kind of in contrast to how the rest of their lives are. Students have such full schedules when they are in school and don’t have much leisure time, at least leisure time that doesn’t involve technology. This allows them to be at a place where they are not on Facebook every few seconds. They can spend time with friends from church in a leisurely way.”
Langley credited Bill Bergstrom, BGCO conference centers guest relations specialist, for the original idea of having the Fall Back Weekend. The event has grown over the five-year span, and this year’s record-high attendance was 200 more than last year’s total. Drawing 110 churches would be comparable to how many represent a week of summer camp at Falls Creek.
“Bill felt this was something the Lord laid on his heart,” said Langley. “Falls Creek continues to be a place where students can grow spiritually, and Fall Back is an additional opportunity for that to happen.”
Fall Back also was a significant time for Newton, as he celebrated his 40th birthday that weekend. Known as a “Bible communicator” and staff evangelist from Central Fla., First in Orlando, Newton has been a regular speaker at Falls Creek summer camp for many years, and because of his appeal to speaking to young people, he has made recent appearances around the state, including at Oklahoma Baptist University for a weekly chapel service.
“Ed comes with a respect from students and their ability to take exegetical preaching,” Langley said. “This weekend, he engaged them in some good solid biblical teaching and allowed the Lord to do some ‘heavy lifting’ in students’ lives. That sets this weekend apart, too, because as it is at a slower pace, this allows them to hear deeper instruction.”
Jake Anson, student minister at Ardmore, First found the Fall Back retreat to be a positive experience. Two of his students made professions of faith during the event.
“This is our second year to go to Fall Back, and my kids love it,” Anson said. “It is one of the coolest events we do in the fall. They are always excited to hear from Ed. They love the worship. They love the different atmosphere it provides.”
The Fall Back weekend intends to expand even more next year. Langley said he hopes churches will reach out to other churches to share cabin space. He also said Newton will be the Fall Back speaker next year.
“I continue to tell youth pastors this is the best event during Fall Break,” said Anson. “I hope more churches come next year. Maybe we can see the whole tabernacle fill up some day (during Fall Back).”