I have often stated that Baptists rarely take time to celebrate victories. We always have another river to cross or another mountain to climb. But folks, it is time to step back and celebrate the work of the Lord.
During the annual meeting last week, a video (one we would be glad to provide for your church) was shown regarding the remarkable progress of the facilities at Falls Creek. As you can imagine, I am immersed in Falls Creek and hear reports all the time regarding the work at our conference center. But as the video played, I was struck at how amazing the numbers are—numbers that tell the story of students transformed by the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit.
In 2007, the R. A. Young Tabernacle was dedicated. More than 8,000 people contributed to the campaign to build the tabernacle. That number often gets lost, but don’t miss it. While there were donors who gave large gifts that laid the foundation for this building, it was the work of more than 8,000 generous people.
Since the opening of the R. A. Young Tabernacle, 429,726 people have attend just the youth weeks at Falls Creek. During those weeks, 51,174 youth walked the aisle to make life-changing decisions. But the next two numbers will blow your mind. Stop and read slowly…17,127 young people have had their eternal destiny changed through repentance and faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. Wait, I am not finished—Falls Creek has always been a place where the call of God has been placed upon young people. In those seven years, 8,247 lives have been committed to ministry and missions.
Oklahoma Baptists, can you grasp the overwhelming difference you have made through your giving and service through Falls Creek? Admittedly, for many of us, it is easy to let numbers like those above slip by as routine because we have heard about Falls Creek all of our lives. To read those numbers should bring us to our feet with uplifted hands to an Awesome and Gracious God who has given such a ministry to us, and should also drive us to our knees in humility that our God would entrust Falls Creek to us.
Let me personalize this for you with a story that could be told thousands of times. I was walking through the grocery store last week while wearing a Falls Creek sweatshirt. A man in his 50s stopped me and asked if I worked at Falls Creek or did I send my kids there. I responded that I had the privilege of being a part of the Falls Creek leadership team. He then said, “I grew up in a non-evangelical church. At age 13, I was invited to Falls Creek by a friend, and I was saved that week!” This scenario is repeated over and over again, and the more Falls Creek grows, the more times these types of stories are shared.
The new facilities at Falls Creek that have allowed us to expand and reach more and more people would not have been possible without the sacrifice and generosity of God’s people. We are now in the home stretch of finishing three new buildings that will enhance the ability to serve greater numbers of people. We are very close to having completed $55 million worth of improvements to Falls Creek. Because of the provision of our Lord through His people, we are in striking distance of being debt free. We have only $1.9 million left on the tabernacle debt.
Because of the generosity of Gene and Jo Downing, every dollar given will be matched with an additional dollar. Oh, I know you aren’t confronted with a dearth of places to give your money, but tell me where you can get a better return on the dollars you give. Go back and read those numbers above again. In addition to participating in one of the greatest evangelistic ministries on Earth, every dollar you give is doubled.
So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, I ask you to do two things. First, step back and shout with all your might an unending “Hallelujah” to God for demonstrated goodness and grace for giving Falls Creek to us. Second, reach down and give a generous gift that will be doubled and will allow us to shout together, “We’re debt free!”
(To order a DVD, contact Marty Harkey at 405/516-4868, firstname.lastname@example.org, or toll free at 800/690-6933.)