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Estimated 3 million watch Falls Creek special in Okla.


OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–In a final goodbye to the 76-year-old tabernacle at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, an estimated 3 million viewers across Oklahoma and in north Texas tuned in for a worship service recorded live during the final week of last summer’s activities.

Falls Creek’s new 7,000-seat amphitheater is slated for completion in early May as a key part of the “For the Sake of the Call” capital campaign that has received more than $20 million in contributions.

The telecast, aired March 28 on CBS affiliates in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Wichita Falls, Texas, was billed as the largest mass media evangelistic outreach in Oklahoma Baptist history.

The day after the one-hour special, which featured communicator Scott Dawson, vocalist Jami Smith and the comedy team of The Skit Guys, more than 140 calls had been received via the toll-free number posted on the screen, and at least three of the callers made professions of faith. Meanwhile, one salvation decision and three recommitment decisions were made online at www.oklahomalife.com, while three salvation decisions, one recommitment and two requests for prayer were recorded at two other response sites.

“The impact of the broadcast will be felt for many months to come,” said Ray Sanders, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma communications specialist, “as students are encouraged to attend Falls Creek and viewers gain interest in our local congregations.”

Potential viewers were encouraged to host parties and invite lost friends to watch the broadcast with them. At a party in south Oklahoma City, about 15 college- and career-age youth gathered at the home of Randy and Rhonda King, members of Wilmont Place Baptist Church, to watch the special.

After it was over, most of the young people talked about what Falls Creek has meant to them over the years. Several, including Emily King and Brandon Lovelace, committed to special service there, King to missions and Lovelace to music ministry, while Luke McCabe said his life was changed there when he realized he had been putting other things in his life before his relationship with God.

Emily King recounted how much her life was changed at Falls Creek. “Most of us grew up in church, and if it can change our lives, think what it can do for those who haven’t been in church.”

Since its opening in 1917, more than 1.8 million people have attended Falls Creek activities, including 45,000-plus students and sponsors last summer. More than 200,000 professions of faith have been recorded and, according to the conference center’s website, “More missionaries have experienced their call to a lifetime of service at Falls Creek than at any other place on the face of the earth.”

The Falls Creek special is slated for rebroadcast at noon April 16 on the same CBS affiliates.
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Adapted from reporting by the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, online at www.baptistmessenger.net.

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