DAVIS—The summer youth weeks have returned to Falls Creek Conference Center, as well as the excitement and encouragement among Oklahoma Baptists who know how special this place in the Arbuckle Mountains can be.
Many can share spiritual decisions they made as a Falls Creek camper, whether that came in the form of making a profession of faith in Christ, a recommitment to Christ or answering the call of the Holy Spirit to serve in full-time ministry.
After the first week of youth camp at Falls Creek, June 7-11, more than 600 spiritual decisions were reported, including 246 professions of faith in Christ. Much rejoicing occurs after each week of camp over every spiritual decision made, for this is why Falls Creek exists.
To encourage campers to heed the call of the Spirit in their lives, an element of the evening services has been enhanced this summer. Along with the traditional invitation times that happen Tuesday through Friday, this year’s camp is also observing Monday night invitations, where campers can publicly respond to the evening message.
Todd Sanders, Falls Creek program director, (featured in above photo speaking to students who publicly responded during the first Monday night invitation at Falls Creek this summer) said having an invitation time on Monday nights allows students who come to camp ready to make spiritual decisions to meet with counselors that first night.
“I was convicted of increasing the prayer efforts, especially among adult sponsors and youth leaders, to pray for their students,” Sanders said. “The more you’re praying for people’s salvation, the more opportunities you are looking for to share the Gospel and for them to respond.
“From there, I considered how we could expand on what we do during the services (at Falls Creek), so I thought, ‘Why can’t we have an invitation on Monday night?’”
Sanders admitted it can be an adjustment, especially with making sure enough counselors are available to meet with students making decisions. As the weeks continue, Sanders said, more Falls Creek summer staff members could be available to help counsel students. Angela Sanders, Todd’s wife, said she had the opportunity to counsel a student on that first Monday night.
“It’s a testament that we handle those decisions carefully,” Todd said. “We are not trying to manipulate. Really, there is nothing you can manipulate on a Monday night—the first night. It’s ‘right out of the box.’ We are just providing another opportunity for students to respond, and really, for many weeks, most of our decision numbers are usually early in the week—Tuesday and Wednesday.”
For the first Monday night invitation at Falls Creek this summer, 86 students made spiritual decisions including 53 professions of faith in Christ.
Zack Randles was the speaker for Week One of Falls Creek. The pastor of Washington, D.C., Waterfront has made multiple visits to Falls Creek youth camp over the years, either as a camper or a church leader, but this was his first time to speak at Falls Creek.
“It’s a very special experience,” Randles said. “It’s always special no matter what seat you sit in. There was this feeling of excitement just being here. The Spirit was moving, as always.”
When asked about starting the first Falls Creek week giving an invitation after his Monday night message, Randles said he planned all along for students to publicly respond after his sermon. He was not aware that Monday night invitations did not previously occur.
“A month and half ago, I was putting together what I believe what God wanted me to say,” Randles said. “This message was planned before I knew you weren’t supposed to present the Gospel on the first night. That was extra cool.”
And it shows how God is working through all the elements that are happening at Falls Creek.
All evening services at Falls Creek are streamed live this summer at live.oklahomabaptists.org.