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Still Developing: The local church and Falls Creek

From the beginning of Falls Creek, the relationship between the local church and the camp has been based on a mutually beneficial bond. From a summer encampment for the Baptist Young People’s Union (BYPU) in 1917, Falls Creek has grown to become a year-round conference center addressing children, church musicians, single adults, college students, men’s and women’s ministries, church volunteers—the  list of groups and the call that Moorer and Rounds sensed from God grows with each new year. In 1917, after that first affirming summer, Baptist leaders predicted that Falls Creek would form the foundation of “…a great denominational university of methods…” representing “…every line of denominational interest…” With each year, Falls Creek stretches and adapts to fulfill that vision, and in return, Falls Creek has been a blessing for the local church since 1917.

“Hot Dog” Lee, the first President of the Indian Territory BYPU in 1901, stated later in 1954, “The most outstanding thing I remember about Falls Creek in the 30 years I attended was the outstanding spirit of cooperation that prevailed.” This same spirit of cooperation has prevailed inside Falls Creek and between the churches of what has become the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. The vote of the BYPU convention approved the location of the camp that had been discovered by W.D. Moorer and J.B. Rounds.

Record years of attendance show a correlation between Falls Creek and local church baptisms, attributed in no small part to churches bringing youth to Falls Creek. Church leaders have said more than once that the largest opportunity for our churches to reach their youth has been during the summer at Falls Creek.

Considering the need to reach young people early and to develop a strong discipleship pattern in their lives before they enter college where their belief system will be challenged as never before, Falls Creek has been a great blessing for many young people. The faithful proclamation of the Gospel at Falls Creek, where attendees will hear the best preachers who will speak the truth of God for their lives and draw the net for their salvation, has kept God’s hand of blessing on this special place.

As we approach the end of 2015, we stand a little more than a year away from 2017 and the 100th anniversary of Falls Creek. There is an opportunity again to confirm the strong relationship between Falls Creek and the Southern Baptist churches of Oklahoma.

Church members, staff, deacons, musicians and missionaries have been called to the ministry at Falls Creek. For many of these individuals, the first time they clearly heard the call of God on their lives was at Falls Creek. The Southern Baptist churches of Oklahoma, through the ministry of Falls Creek, have blessed countless other states and countries by the godly people who have ministered to them.

Share the wonderful story of what Falls Creek has accomplished in the spiritual formation of more than 2.3 million people who have passed through the gates of Falls Creek since 1917. Let your congregation know that through your church’s Cooperative Program dollars , they had a part in reaching 63,982 people for salvation, 34,569 calls to ministry and a quarter of a million (250,000) decisions. Remind your church that the current tabernacle and the buildings under construction are being paid for through individual donations, and then ask them to consider giving a gift for Falls Creek.

We have many choices in which to invest our income. After the biblical support of your local church, there is no other entity that will better proclaim the Gospel, prepare disciples, and provide an army of missionaries to reach a lost and dying world like Falls Creek.

Contact me for more information about your gift for the Falls Creek Centennial Campaign at 405/516-4868, mharkey@bgco.org, or toll free at 800/690-6933.

Marty Harkey

Author: Marty Harkey

Marty is the BGCO Chief Development Officer

View more articles by Marty Harkey.

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