We have known it to be true that generations have watched the Hand of God at work at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center. Year after year, for almost 100 years, God has used these conference center grounds as a place of encounter and blessings. Lives have been transformed for eternity, and the number of pastors, staff, and missionaries who have heard their call at the Creek is legion.
In more recent days, God has opened His hand to provide facilities that will serve present and future generations of children, youth and adults. God has been on display and has received glory through obedient and generous servants.
Now, we are within sight of the Centennial Celebration (2017) of the mighty work of God at Falls Creek. We are also near the achievement of remarkable advancement in facilities and of seeing them debt free by, or before, the Centennial Celebration.
The Falls Creek Centennial Capital Campaign has begun. The campaign is divided into two phases. Phase One goal is $4.77 million, which will complete three new buildings and eliminate the debt on the tabernacle. In a remarkable display of the grace of God, $10.72 million has been given or pledged to complete the new buildings. Last week, we were privileged to announce that as the Centennial Campaign begins, a matching gift of $2.3 million has been given. Thus, every $1 becomes $2 and will be applied to the $4.77 million goal of Phase One.
Phase Two has not had construction costs fully assigned. However, this phase will provide for a recreation pavilion, a central plaza and the renovation of three lodges. We have already had $500,000 pledged toward the renovation of Lodge I.
I am convinced Oklahoma Baptists will unite to meet the Phase One goal of the Centennial Campaign well in advance of the Centennial Celebration, which would mean that every new building at Falls Creek would be paid in full. The tabernacle that has meant so much to our ministry will have the debt retired! Now that would be cause for a celebration!
But do not forget that this campaign is not about money, it is about ministry—it is not about buildings, it is about changed lives. The advantages of the new facilities are many.
The Thompson Family Lodge will provide adult housing for a multitude of events. With the remodeling of the lodges in Phase Two, the conference center will have the capability to host significant adult gatherings with top-notch lodging facilities. There will be opportunities for marriages to be strengthened through retreats and times of rest. Personal retreats will be possible that result in an individual’s walk with Jesus being revived. Staff retreats for churches will be well accommodated. Sunday School conferences to train leaders can be held. Falls Creek will have the capacity to host family reunions and retreats. One of the most important uses of the lodges will be to provide housing at low or no cost to pastors and ministry leaders needing a nice place to rest and reinvigorate their spiritual lives.
The Mathena Event Center will be a multi-use facility. This event center will allow for worship experiences where the Gospel is proclaimed for groups under 1,500, as well as rooms for break-out sessions. This building will allow simultaneous events and groups of more than 1,000 people to be on the grounds at the same time. Falls Creek will then have a dining facility to feed thousands who attend large retreats. One of the major side benefits of the event center is in its dome design, which is rated by FEMA as a storm shelter that will accommodate approximately 5,000 people.
The Jordan Welcome Center will provide a central and focal place for smaller event registration, and it will serve as the lobby for the Thompson Family Lodge. This facility will be a very welcoming place inside and out to sit and visit, and will feature 1,800 feet of outdoor patio space.
Since the For the Sake of the Call Campaign, more than $55 million has been invested in Falls Creek. This amount does not include construction of new cabins by churches or other improvements. This is primarily building projects. Amazingly, completion of the Phase One goal is less than $4 million away with every dollar given matched! We can do this together, and we can do it now.
What a Mighty, Awesome, and Gracious God we serve! To Him be glory and honor now and forever!