Falls Creek: Uncommon
DAVIS—There are a myriad of Christian summer camps for youth. Each has its own unique qualities, facilities, activities and programming.
But no other camp is quite as unique as Falls Creek. Falls Creek hosts more than 5,000 students and leaders a week—and in eight weeks of camp will total more than 50,000 visitors, making it one of the largest youth camps in the world.
The camp provides access to missionaries, global mission opportunities for students, recreational tournaments, incredible water venues, one of the largest ropes courses in North America and plenty of scenic space to get alone and meet with Jesus like nowhere else on Earth.
One of the most unique features about Falls Creek is that within one large camp week, there are a little more than 100 individualized youth camps happening within it simultaneously. Churches rent cabins for their own group and bring sponsors, cooks and small group leaders. Churches customize their own morning quiet time, in-cabin Bible study, meals, recreation elements and evening cabin devotional to better meet the needs of their own group.
Though Falls Creek has prepared resources to conduct all of these particular camp activities, churches are free to use the Falls Creek materials or develop their own. Though these smaller camp experiences are going on, within the larger one, students get to enjoy corporate teaching, fellowship and worship with a vast number of teenagers from all over the country.
This uncommon concept—holding camp within a camp—has grown in notoriety and popularity for churches lying outside of Oklahoma. Falls Creek offers a unique large group experience that is customizable for churches and less expensive than almost all other church camps.
It also is a terrific tool for youth evangelism, as evening services are targeted at reaching students who are unbelievers. Each week, approximately 1,000 lost students attend Falls Creek—which is about 20 percent of the population of camp during any particular week. Fourteen percent of all those who attended in 2010 recorded a spiritual decision of some kind in the tabernacle.
Falls Creek’s consistent emphasis on evangelism, discipleship and call to ministry has also necessitated the development of some unique follow-up tools for those responding to Christ’s leading at camp. These tools, The Pursuit and The Discovery are CD-ROMs, each of which contains a copy of the Scripture, quiet time guides and assorted other specific helps in regard to decisions of salvation and a call to ministry. Though developed for Falls Creek, these tools are also used by the North American Mission Board and other well-known organizations.
Oklahoma is blessed beyond measure to have a place like Falls Creek. God has been so faithful throughout the years to speak to the hearts of students and leaders alike, in this most “uncommon” place.
Andy Harrison is Falls Creek program director and student ministry specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.