DAVIS—Oklahoma Baptist summer camps for youth and children begin next month. Many are expected to have impactful experiences at both CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp and the youth weeks at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center. The Baptist Messenger highlights all the camp speakers who will share the Gospel this summer.
Andy Harrison, Falls Creek program director and student ministry specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, is excited about the list of speakers coming to Falls Creek this summer. He said he has a criteria of four instructions he wants the speakers to follow.
The first, Harrison said, is to preach the Word. The second is to “stay near the cross.”
“They don’t have to preach about the cross every night,” Harrison explained, “but if my son died for you, I want them to talk about him.”
The third instruction is for the speaker to stay on time. “Although it is the feature of the night, we have things going before and after,” he said. The last instruction Harrison offers to camp speakers is give a clear invitation at the end of the service.
“When I think of the speakers coming this summer,” Harrison said, “they get what I am asking and are prepared to that very thing—to share the Gospel, to call people to repentance, to do it in a timely way and to be clear about what they are asking and how people are to respond.”
H.B. Charles leads off the summer youth weeks, speaking June 4-8. Charles is pastor of Jacksonville, Fla., Shiloh Metropolitan, and was elected president of the 2018 Pastor’s Conference prior to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Dallas. This will be Charles’ second time to preach at Falls Creek, as he spoke during the 2016 summer camp.
“H.B. Charles is one of the best preachers we have in the Southern Baptist Convention,” Harrison said. “He delivers the Gospel and delivers it well. I’m so excited he’s going to be with us again.”
Week 2, June 11-15, will feature Mike Keahbone, pastor of Oklahoma City, Cherokee Hills, as the camp speaker. “Mike Keahbone is a beloved Baptist figure in Oklahoma,” Harrison said. “He is right at home speaking to the kids at Falls Creek.”
Will Wilson is another Oklahoma pastor speaking at Falls Creek this summer. The pastor of Tecumseh, New Hope will be the Week 3, June 18-22, speaker. “Will is not only a good preacher but a good shepherd at his church,” Harrison said. “I’m excited that he will be delivering the Gospel this year, and I know he’s excited as well.”
Stuart Henslee, lead pastor of ministry and leadership development at Muscle Shoals, Ala., Highland Park, will be the Week 4, June 25-28, speaker. He has spoken at Falls Creek on numerous occasions.
“Stuart’s got the energy of Robin Williams and the passion of Billy Graham,” Harrison said. “He speaks 100 miles per hour, but he doesn’t mince words. At one moment, he’s got you laughing, but in the next moment he’s challenging you. He will do a great job.”
Another Oklahoma pastor on the Falls Creek’s speaker roster is Rusty McMullen, pastor of Sayre, First. He will be speaking Week 5, July 2-6. “Rusty was a longtime youth pastor in Oklahoma,” Harrison said. “He’s very evangelistic, and obviously has continued to be that way as a pastor. His church has baptized so many people. We look forward to Rusty being with us, sharing the Gospel.”
Scott Kindig is another returning speaker at Falls Creeks during Week 6, July 9-13. Harrison said Kindig was a student ministry specialist for Georgia Baptists and now is on staff at San Antonio, Texas, Community Bible, where Ed Newton is pastor. “Scott is more of a teacher in his delivery but does a great job of laying out the story of the Gospel,” Harrison said.
David Sons, family and discipleship pastor at Lexington, S.C., Lake Murray, is a new speaker to Falls Creek. He will be speaking during Week 7, July 16-20, and Harrison believes he will become a Falls Creek favorite.
“David is a regular speaker at South Carolina Baptists’ Youth Camp, which is called Summer Salt,” Harrison said. “He is their absolute favorite speaker. We are looking forward to David being with us for the first time of maybe many times.”
A longtime Falls Creek favorite is Newton who concludes the youth weeks as the Week 8 speaker, July 23-27. “Ed Newton is a fixture of Falls Creek, but only because Ed understands what we’re doing at Falls Creek,” Harrison said. “He’s able to deliver the Gospel and give a clear invitation. Ed always has a fresh word for us, and he’s very passionate, not just about what he’s preaching, but about being around the people in Oklahoma and the churches that are in attendance. He does a great job of mixing with the people.
For more information about the Falls Creek summer youth weeks, visit www.skopos.org/fallscreek.
Charlie Gatton is in his first year as CrossTimbers program director, as the camp will be celebrating 10 years of ministry. Gatton who has been an experienced children’s pastor, recently at Oklahoma City, Southern Hills, has been bringing kids to CrossTimbers, and now he has the opportunity serve many children across Oklahoma.
“My expectations are really high. I expect that God is going to do great work,” Gatton said. “I’m excited about the guys we’ve got lined up to preach and excited about our staff. The camp is a well-oiled machine, and my job is not to mess it up.”
Gatton praised the men coming to serve as camp pastors. He said this may be the most senior pastors coming to speak during a summer at CrossTimbers.
“I think our lineup of speakers are as good as we’ve ever had,” Gatton said, although he jokingly excluded himself, as he will serve as camp pastor during Session 2, June 8-11. “Some of them are new (to CrossTimbers); some of them are not new. Some of them are children’s pastors, but almost all of them have some kind of youth ministry or children’s ministry in their background, which helps them relate to children when they preach.”
The significance of the senior pastors who are speaking at CrossTimbers is they represent churches that have been effective in bringing children to camp each summer.
Wilson (Session 1, June 4-7) and McMullen (Session 10, July 25-28) have the opportunity this summer to speak at both Falls Creek and CrossTimbers.
Other senior pastors include Patrick Latham, Lawton, First (Session 4, June 19-22); Jon Bawden, Chickasha, Sharon (Session 5, June 25-28); Nick Atyia, Seminole, First (Session 6, June 29-July 2); Justin Ford, Edmond, Oakdale (Session 8, July 16-19); Chris Gordon, Hennessey, First (Session 9, July 20-23); and returning to speak is Blake Gideon, Edmond, First (Session 11).
Two children’s pastors who are experienced CrossTimbers speakers return this summer. Barry Williams of Sulphur, Crossway will speak during Session 3, June 13-16, and Walter Bradley of Moore, First will be camp pastor for Session 7, July 9-12.
For more information on CrossTimbers, visit www.crosstimbers.org.