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One Great Summer

Note: The above CrossTimbers numbers do not include any decisions during Pre-Teen Week, which occurred after this edition was printed.

Note: The above CrossTimbers numbers do not include any decisions during Pre-Teen Week, which occurred after this edition was printed.

DAVIS—What happens during the summer weeks at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center and CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp is unlike what may happen anywhere else in the world. As exciting as it was at a Billy Graham Crusade in past years to experience many coming to Christ during those services, similar results occur at Falls Creek and CrossTimbers—and not just during the camps’ worship services.

Falls Creek

Falls Creek concluded its eight-week summer youth camp July 29 with 5,806 total spiritual decisions. There were 2,369 total recorded professions of faith, 809 students who were called to ministry, 167 assurances of salvation, 2,257 restoration decisions, and 204 special needs or other decisions made.

Oklahoma Baptists praise God for these results, which reflect many young people across the state making life-changing decisions. These decisions also demonstrate what happens throughout the day at Falls Creek. Though campers respond during evening services, many also make professions of faith at the different camp venues. Reports were made of campers accepting Christ on the ropes course, in the gift shop and at other Falls Creek locations.

“One of the things we emphasize with our summer staff is, though they have a task at hand to do, in terms of the job, they also engage people with the Gospel,” said Andy Harrison, Falls Creek program director and student ministries specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). “So whether it be in the gift shop or in the missions center or our One Life Village, which is our missions village, or at the ropes course, it happens all over camp.

“We had Faith Riders come on Fridays, and they were constantly sharing the Gospel with students. It’s the message we have with all of our summer staff and ancillary groups, like Faith Riders, that what we do is engage people with the Gospel.”

The theme for Falls Creek this summer was “One,” emphasizing the One True God. Harrison said the camp programming had an emphasis on evangelism, not only sharing directly with students, but also equipping students for evangelism. He said the decision results were evident of the camp’s emphasis.

“It should come as no shock then when we start sharing the Gospel, people get saved!” said Harrison.

This summer’s record of 2,369 professions of faith was exactly 100 decisions short of the all-time record at Falls Creek, Harrison said. He also mentioned the significance of this result compared to the overall number of campers at Falls Creek this summer.

“Attendance overall was lower than in past summers,” he said. “The numbers are high, but the percentage is even higher.”

Harrison said he received positive feedback from church leaders who appreciated the overall presentation at Falls Creek and how it connected well with what different church groups were doing while meeting on their own.

“The feedback I got overall, people have an appreciation of how Falls Creek is packaged,” said Harrison. “What I mean by that is what goes on in the morning is coordinated to what is done in our evening services to what is done with in-cabin experiences.”

The Falls Creek programming provides material for church groups to use when the leaders meet with campers after the evening services.

“They (church leaders) were happy with the in-cabin resources we provided this year,” said Harrison.  “Anytime a theme is easily adaptable for a group, people get excited about being there. The groups seemed to have a great time in their cabins. The experiences church groups have in their cabin seem to determine how the week is going to go.

With the new Mathena Family Event Center now accessible on campus, the daily schedule of camp made 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.

“It helped us a lot,” said Harrison about utilizing the Event Center. “We had BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) helping us lead “Next Chapter” (for high school graduates) in the chapel, so having the new facilities, especially the event center helped us out a lot.”

Falls Creek also featured 11 breakout studies throughout a week of camp. The two most popular breakout sessions were Project: Love, which covered topics of dating and relationships, and Apologetics Forum, which addressed tough questions about Christianity and the Bible.

Harrison said breakout sessions on missions for students and also for leaders was provided. There also were evangelism breakouts led by the weekly camp pastor and worship breakouts led by the worship band each week. Falls Creek also offered a breakout session addressing drugs and alcohol.

CrossTimbers

CrossTimbers was in the middle of its pre-teen week at time of publication, but the camp for children completing 3rd through 6th grades recorded 386 total spiritual decisions after 10 four-week sessions this summer. The decisions included 228 professions of faith, 87 restoration decisions, 22 assurances of salvation, nine special callings and 39 other decisions.

“It has been a great summer,” said Glenn Barber, CrossTimbers program director and BGCO children’s ministry specialist. “We have done a lot with our missions education and got phenomenal feedback. We’ve heard it was the best we’ve ever had.”

The theme for CrossTimbers this summer was “Be Transformed,” making an emphasis on how to live the Christian life, which included being involved in mission work and evangelism.

“We had several churches who want to partner with the Appalachian ministry that we featured at one of our mission stops,” Barber said. “One church during their Vacation Bible School turned in their missions offering for this Appalachian ministry. It’s been encouraging to see these responses.”

Another daily segment of CrossTimbers involves teaching campers how to share the Gospel with friends by using the Gospel tract “One Great God,” which is part of the BGCO’s Connect>1 Evangelism strategy.

“Representatives of a church came by today to pick up one of our giant kids tracts. They are doing a big event and wanted to promote that,” Barber said, mentioning the presentation of “One Great God.”

Some of the best reports from CrossTimbers involve the church sponsors sharing the Gospel with campers, some of who are parents sharing with their own children.

“We have a lot of opportunities for parents to come as sponsors, and we have a time of counseling training on how to talk with kids about salvation,” said Barber. “I talked with sponsors who said ‘This is great. This has really helped.’ It’s very equipping, so they can sit down and walk through step-by-step with a child. It’s really been a great opportunity for them to share.”

Sharing the Gospel was prevalent throughout both Falls Creek and CrossTimbers with many exciting responses. May God bless these life-changing experiences that happened during this summer.

Chris Doyle

Author: Chris Doyle

View more articles by Chris Doyle.

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