This year’s youth weeks at Falls Creek were historic. At 96 years of age, it seems that God has chosen to add blessing to blessing. Undeniably, God has made His presence known throughout history during the youth encampments. Yet, recent years have been an even greater demonstration of the power and presence of our Lord.

In the 96-year history of Falls Creek, we have had six years when there were more than 2,000 professions of faith—this summer we saw the highest number on record with 2,469. Only six times have we seen more than 1,000 campers express a sense of the call of God on their lives to be involved in vocational ministry and missions. This year was the highest ever with 1,277.

I find it fascinating that four of the record years in professions of faith and commitment to missions and ministry have come since we entered the new tabernacle. I want to assure you that I am well aware and affirm that God can do His work anywhere, anytime, anyhow! I also believe that the new tabernacle has been a significant part of the ability to communicate and listen to the call of God.

So does it matter that God’s people sacrificed, gave and took the risk of faith to build the new tabernacle at Falls Creek? I would suggest the record is clear. Yes! Yes! Yes!

While I loved the old tabernacle and heard the call of God on my life there, I am convinced the new tabernacle makes a huge difference. In the old setting, the temperature was oppressive. Many could not sit under the roof and were forced to sit outside with little connection to what was happening on stage. Sightlines were poor at best, sound was uneven and distractions abounded. There was little ability to use technology to communicate with a tech-savvy audience. Did God work in spite of these drawbacks? Absolutely!

The new tabernacle has moved communication to a new level. Remember, communication is a two-way street between the communicator and the listener. Now our youth can sit in a climate-controlled room, experience the latest sights and sounds and hear as well on the back row as the front. Distractions are minimized and the clear preaching of the Word of God is available for all to see and hear. The tabernacle does matter!

Before you protest, let me hurry to add the obvious. There are multimillion dollar buildings around the world where people go to worship. The Word is absent and the power of the Spirit is missing. Even though the setting is beautiful, no salvation occurs.

Yet, I contend when both the setting and the truth are available, there are awesome results. Such is the case at Falls Creek. We have an incredible facility, great worship, powerful preaching and most of all by God’s grace, the Spirit of God descends. Wow! God is good to Oklahoma Baptists. Amen and Amen!