Each spring, when the trees begin to put on leaves, my mind turns to Falls Creek and CrossTimbers. I recently toured both camps to see how things are shaping up for the summer, and I was very pleased with the progress.
After entering the Falls Creek grounds and reaching the main intersection, you are confronted with an incredible sight. Ada, First has built a new lodge that dwarfs everything around it, save the tabernacle itself. It looks like a chalet straight out of Colorado. It is as functional as it is beautiful. The sacrifice and commitment of Pat Kilby and his church to the ministry of Falls Creek is to be applauded and appreciated.
To drive up and down the streets of these grounds—which in the matter of just a few hours becomes one of the more largely populated towns in Oklahoma—is to perceive a rising pride in the facilities. Five new cabins are under construction, and several churches and associations have upgraded their facilities. I was particularly inspired by the work of Atoka, First, which demonstrates what can be done to enhance an older facility. In fact, that cabin reflects the upgrade design elements in the conceptual master plan approved by the convention last November.
A new small amphitheater has been built near the Bartlett Clock Tower overlooking the creek. It provides a beautiful outdoor setting for smaller events and worship experiences. While Falls Creek has many of the amenities of a conference center, it is still a camp. So outdoor venues are important, and this new amphitheater will become a favorite spot for many in the years to come.
Another new addition is a coffee shop for adults. Located on a strategic corner in the northwest quadrant of the campgrounds, I am convinced it will be a preferred place for pastors and adult leaders to “hang out.” It will also provide a place where campers of all ages may purchase refreshments.
I am excited about the physical changes, but the most important preparation for Falls Creek is spiritual readiness. Now is the time to add Falls Creek to your prayer list. Begin by praying for another summer where thousands will be transformed by the power of the Gospel.
Later that same day, I visited CrossTimbers Camp, which is one of the most worshipful places on Earth. Significant upgrades are made to the facilities each year, and currently, Pennington Lodge is being remodeled. It has a new deck at one end. The amphitheater is being expanded, and new benches and lighting are being installed. New housing for the staff is now in place, and improvements have been made to the swimming pool.
Amazingly, the camp is already full for the summer. Reservations are more than double the number of last year’s participants. CrossTimbers is one of the few camps I know of in America that focuses on missions. We must develop new generations who have a passion to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. That foundation is formed in childhood and is built upon through the years by the local church and experiences like those at Falls Creek.
I am very proud of our leaders and staff at each of these facilities. Their work is a ministry—not just a job. It is easy to catch their spirit and heart just by spending some time with them. They realize that providing the best possible facilities is a means for greater opportunity to impact the lives of those who attend camp.
Spring days will soon turn into summer weeks at our camps. I am confident that God will work powerfully at the Creek and CrossTimbers in summer 2010, just as He has in days past.
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.