In just two weeks Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center will open the 2017 summer season. During 10 weeks this summer, thousands will come through the gates of the conference center. Children, youth and Native Americans of all ages will spend a week in the Arbuckle Mountains, and each week will be a time of great fun but also a time of great spiritual engagement.
Over the last few years, through the generosity of God’s people, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma has made nearly $60 million of improvements at Falls Creek. There is no record of the amount of money churches have invested in new cabins and improvements, but be assured that $60 million has been multiplied by many more millions.
As campers come for the 100th summer at Falls Creek, they will enjoy many new features during their week at the Creek. A new Centennial Plaza is being completed and will be in service by summer season opening. The Plaza will include a new 1917 Café and Gift Shop, a pergola, seating areas, new restrooms, lots of open space and Icees will now be served from the side of the 1917 Café building. There are also fire pits to be used during the conference season—I don’t think we will need fire pits this summer!
Recreation will have two new features. The old diamond ropes course is a totally new and exciting course, and rappelling will be offered for the first time. Other improvements will provide ample opportunities for all to have enjoyable experiences during the afternoons.
Sitting on the hill with three crosses overlooking the camp is a new Centennial Prayer Garden. This will be a beautiful and peaceful setting for individuals and small groups to steal away for quiet times of reflection and prayer. The original Prayer Garden will be open as well.
We are thankful for all these additions and changes to the campgrounds. Yet, Falls Creek is not, never has been, and never will be about the buildings. These wonderful facilities, provided through sacrificial giving by so many, are for one purpose. The heart of all who have given for all the improvements to be made is that people might come to Falls Creek and have a divine/human encounter with the living Lord and Savior.
Falls Creek is entering its 100th summer season of youth camps. I would contend there is no place on earth that touches more young people with the preaching and teaching of the Word of God than this wonderful place. Week after week, for 100 years, the truth of Scripture and the simple but powerful Gospel has been laid before campers. While the grounds have seen dramatic change, the truth and the Gospel have not changed.
Our purpose at Falls Creek has remained the same for 100 years. We want youth to have the opportunity to respond in repentance and faith to the Gospel. During every service, the call is for Christian young people to live what they believe and to become the holy people God calls them to be. Unique to Falls Creek is the consistent and open invitation for young people to hear the voice of God calling them to full-time missions and ministry.
I am often asked, “What is the key to Falls Creek?” The answer is simple. No place on earth is more covered with prayer, and no people on earth have more saints praying for them than those who attend Falls Creek. Baptist family, it is time to start praying because the 100th summer session is about to begin!