Oklahoma Church Uses Traveling ‘Road Show’ to Reach Students Amid Pandemic

State BCM leaders Cris Lowery (left) and Chad Coleman (right) toss T-shirts as Todd Sanders (center) opens the Falls Creek Road Show stop at First Baptist Jenks, Okla. Photo by Chris Doyle

DAVIS, Okla. (BP) — Anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 students attend a camp at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Oklahoma each summer. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic made large, overnight gatherings impossible. Since students couldn’t to come to Falls Creek, camp organizers took Falls Creek to them. Fourteen Falls Creek Road Shows made stops around the state.

“I thought the whole Road Show experience was really positive on a number of levels,” said Todd Sanders, Falls Creek program director. “All of us coming together as Oklahoma Baptists made a well-rounded event a success.”

Sanders reported 426 total decisions were recorded from all 14 Road Shows. These included 120 professions of faith in Christ, 107 calls to ministry and 199 other spiritual decisions. Total attendance for all 14 Road Shows was 3,240 students, church leaders and Oklahoma Baptists ministry partners.

Sanders credited associational leaders and church leaders who worked with the many Oklahoma Baptist partners, including Baptist Collegiate Ministries and Oklahoma Baptist University, for the great results from the Road Shows.

“From my seat, I couldn’t be more pleased with people’s investment and involvement,” Sanders said. “Everyone was willing to make something like this happen.

“We wanted to platform the Gospel and offer an invitation. We also wanted to offer students an opportunity to connect with missions and ministry.”

Sanders said what helped students answer the call to ministry was hearing Caleb Freeman’s testimony. The 19-year-old, along with his father Jeremy Freeman, pastor of First Baptist in Newcastle, Okla., shared how he miraculously recovered from a severe car accident in December 2017.

The Road Shows also shared a video featuring two Oklahoma Baptists who are now serving in international missions. Brian Baldwin, student evangelism and missions partner for Oklahoma Baptists, gave a missions mobilization emphasis at each Road Show.

“Through all of these (presentations), we have seen many students express that they feel called to some kind of ministry,” Sanders said.

While COVID-10 restrictions meant that the Road Shows could not include a conventional invitation time, like what would be done during a Falls Creek camp week, church leaders counseled students with their church groups, and then turned in decision cards to student ministry partners.

“The important work happens after the event as our churches help these students sort through these decisions and help them grow through them,” Sanders said. “It’s encouraging to see that, because when we proclaim the Gospel, we offer an invitation, and students respond. It’s just a powerful reminder that no matter what happens, the Gospel doesn’t stop. We can’t do camp the normal way, but we can still proclaim the Gospel, and when you do that and offer an invitation, people will respond.”

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Source: Baptist Press