Indian Falls Creek, (IFC) in conjunction with Emerson Falls, Native American Specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) will host a special meeting in the Tabernacle at 1:30 p.m., Mon., July 27, “targeting the crisis that Oklahoma Indian Baptist churches face presently and in the future,” said Victor Cope, IFC executive director.
/// Cope listed several areas of concern in Oklahoma that necessitate the special meeting:
• More than 50 congregations are presently pastorless.
• The average age of Indian church pastors is 55, and many face major health issues.
• Young men are not surrendering to the ministry as in the past.
• Many churches are struggling just to keep their doors open each Sunday.
• Sunday School is dying in many of the churches.
• Visitation and outreach are words of past generations.
• Some congregations have not had a Revival or Vacation Bible School in years because of the lack of funds and workers.
• Faithful workers are overworked and face burnout.
• Facilities are in need of major repairs.
• There is a lack of economic strength among many of the churches.
• Young adult, youth, children’s and nursery programs are non-existent in many churches.
• Many churches can’t bring their children or youth to Indian Falls Creek because of lack of finances.
• Senior Adults is the largest group attending our Indian Churches today.
• Baptisms continue to decline.
“I hope everyone can see the need for the special meeting,” Cope stressed. “We urge pastors to bring a van load of their leaders, potential leaders or at least four members from their congregation. Indian Directors of Missions/Fellowships please encourage all your churches to attend.”
/// Cope said others who are encouraged to attend the special meeting include:
• Representatives of pastorless churches (those faithfully keeping the doors open).
• Young men and women who feel God is calling them to ministry.
• Indian Christians who attend a non-Indian congregation who feel God’s wooing to come help.
• Out of state Indian Christian Leaders.
• Tribal Leaders who see the need to strengthen the spiritual lives of their people.
“And just anyone who has a heart for Indian Christian work and reaching more of our people with the Good News,” he urged.
“The late Leslie Clark and I discussed these same problems in 1978 while we were students at Oklahoma Baptist University, the Oklahoma Native American Task Force in 2000 outlined the same needs and, now, 37 years later, still the same problems exist,” Cope bemoaned. “Let each of us vow ‘To Do Something’ before it’s too late and more of our people miss out on knowing Jesus Christ as Savior.”
Cope said IFC believes attendance at the special meeting is so important that it will assist those who come by paying their gate fee and providing them with a meal.
Thus, they are offering two options.
Option 1: attend the 11 a.m. worship service, eat lunch and then attend the 1:30 special meeting.
Option 2: Arrive for the special meeting, eat supper and then attend the evening service.
“Please bring a blanket and a pillow; there are plenty of bunks available for one to take a nap while at camp,” Cope said. “To help us prepare for your attendance, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your church and the number that will attend.”