The Appleby Society
Deep Calleth Unto Deep
A devotional about her call to ministry by Rosalee Mills Appleby, from her book, White Wings of Splendor, Broadman Press, 1962
“Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all the waves and thy billows are gone over me.” (Psalm 42:7 KJV)
The crisis in my youth came when I attended the first Falls Creek Assembly in the Arbuckle Mountains.
Beneath the rude tabernacle in those woods, the climax came when J. W. Jent was preaching. “God is all wise and cannot make a mistake. He is all loving and would not make a mistake. Whatever he has for your life, there you will be the happiest and do the most good.” His words were so reasonable, so assuring. My resistance was broken and I made a definite surrender to God.
In an unforgettable way I associate with those summer assemblies this verse of scripture: “Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all the waves and thy billows are gone over me.” When the quiet of the evening would come, after the wonderful meetings in the tabernacle, I would lie on a cot and watch the stars above and listen to the tumbling stream below. The deep of my inmost soul reached out to the deep of God’s love. There would come an overwhelming desire to draw nearer to God, to see the heavens rent that he might come down.
He throws light upon the littleness and unreasonableness of our refusal to obey, unveils his will, and reveals the tragedy of letting life slip by outside the divine blueprint. I tremble as I think how near I came to refusing God’s call that day in those mountains, when “deep” called unto “deep.” If I had a thousand lives, I would go back there and place them at his feet in lowly obedience to his call, and rejoice if it were his will to give them all to Brazil.
Here are some other great stories of those whom God called to ministry at Falls Creek!
“At age 14, sitting in a worship service under the old tab I heard the call of God to special service. At 19, one month after marrying Polla, the Lord renewed that call to preach.”
Dr. Anthony Jordan, Executive Director-Treasurer, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Surrendered to Ministry in 1968
I grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma and was a member at First Baptist Church. I first attended Falls Creek after my 7th grade year in 1970. During the summer after my Junior year during Falls Creek Camp, I rededicated my life and surrendered to full time ministry. A few weeks later I was asked by my music minister if I would be interested in leading music at a new mission church that Edmond First Baptist had started on Waterloo Road. For most of my Senior year in high school I lead music at Waterloo Road Baptist Mission. After graduating I worked the summer of 1975 as a “gate boy” at Falls Creek. I went on to attend Central State University (now UCO) and obtained my music degree. I was active in assisting with the music program at Edmond First during my college years. after graduating and sitting out a few years while my wife finished her degree, we moved to Fort Worth to attend Seminary. While in Seminary I was able to serve as a music intern at Birchman Baptist Church.
Ron Stone, Surrendered to Ministry in 1974
I was saved at the age of 7 at Bethel Baptist church in Anadarko, Ok. I went to Falls Creek for the second year in 1988 week 6 i believe it was. God had been working on me that entire week and at the Thursday evening service I surrendered my life to preaching the gospel. I went back to my home church and began to work towards the calling of gospel ministry. Some things happened at our church that made me question the calling. I then at the age of 18 decided that God had made a mistake and I joined the Air Force. In 2005, I began a new job in the Air Force as an instructor and was sent to Sheppard AFB, TX for training, While I was there, my best friend who was there when God placed the call on me, called and asked me to come up for the weekend to catch up on our lives. While I was there, he invited me to come to church with him, I obliged. He was a Sunday school teacher and usually had anywhere from 10 to 20 people in his class. This Sunday it was just he and I. We got into the lesson, which was about doing what God had called you to do. He asked me about my calling that God placed on my life all those years before at Falls Creek. I told him that I figured that God had passed on me since I ran from the calling. We went into the service and the pastor preached it seemed, only to me. His message was on doing what God had called you to do. It was at that moment that I re-committed my life to preaching the gospel that God had laid upon me some 18 years earlier. Since that time I have been preaching the word anywhere God has given me an opportunity. My first pastorate was at an R.V. resort, then First Baptist Church, Tularosa, N.M.; currently I am the Senior Pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church, Perkins, OK.
Michael Cannon, Surrendered to Ministry in 1988
I was saved at Falls Creek in 2007 as a 7th grader and at Falls Creek 2009 “Echo” the Lord called me into the Pastoral Ministry. Since then I have been preaching and serving the Local Church in various positions and attending OBU and currently Southern Seminary.
Rio Taylor, Surrendered to Ministry in 2009
I was confronted in the summer of 2001 that my half-hearted commitment was not what the Lord wanted, so I went all in. The next summer, I knew that I had to fully surrender. It was a process for me. I didn’t know it was a call to ministry at the time. I was just saying yes to Jesus, making a commitment to follow Him wherever He would lead me. That lead me to a few years as a youth ministry intern, a full-time youth ministry, and as of this writing, a church planting ministry in Connecticut.
Riley Prather, Surrendered to Ministry in 2002
I grew up as a Pastors son, be a Pastors grandson. But I found out that I too had to be saved. The Lord saved me at a young age, but I always felt another call. It was at Falls Creek at 16 years old that I gave my life to ministry, and I’ve never turned away since. I served a year and a half as an interim worship pastor, and 3 years as an intern at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry in Tahlequah. The Lord called me to my first full time position as Associate Pastor and Youth Pastor of FBC Hominy in 2016.
Daniel Prock, Surrendered to Ministry in 2012
I felt God calling me into the ministry at 13 years of age on a Friday night at Falls Creek. I told God I would go wherever He wanted me to go and I would do whatever He me to do.
Buddy Hunt, Surrendered to Ministry in 1981
I grew up as an Oklahoma Baptist. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of Vacation Bible School and Falls Creek. I was saved at 9 years old and baptized. It wasn’t until the summer after my freshman year of high school that God really got ahold of me and life began to change. It was Tuesday night of Falls Creek and Voddie Baucham was speaking. God was already speaking to my heart and moving in me. He was calling me to refocus my life on him and start actively living out my faith. I wanted to wait. I tried saying to myself that I don’t need to walk the aisle. I can do that later in the week. God wouldn’t let me wait. I rededicated my life to Christ that evening. I had no idea what God was up to. He taught me, convicted me, and called me to obedient living. By the end of the week, the Lord revealed that He wanted much more from me and for me. I answered a call to ministry on Friday evening of camp. I told the Lord “Whenever and wherever you want me Lord, I will be there.” The next week He gave me the chance to serve him. I shared the gospel with a young girl and she trusted in Christ for salvation. I was sold. I’ve been striving to serve the Lord ever since.
Kent Jaggers, Surrendered to Ministry in 2005
I felt the call to ministry at Falls Creek in 1985. I felt called to be a pastors wife , It’s hard to explain because I was a teenager who wasn’t married. But God did indeed bring a youth pastor into my life and we were married in 1990 and have served together for almost 27 years. I have learned that not all youth pastors have a wife who is also called to ministry and that makes me special, isn’t God awesome!
Kari Jacobson, Surrendered to Ministry in 1985
Raised in a Christian home. Moved from Texas to Oklahoma when I was thirteen. I made a profession of faith and was baptized at the age of eight, though I had no true grasp on repentance and faith. That changed not long after moving to Oklahoma. During the summer of 1994, at the age of fifteen, I felt the call of God on my life to preach the Word. I’ve done my best ever since to do just that. I’ve pastored two churches. The first in Kentucky, and the second where I have now been for the past seven years, New Hope Baptist Church in Bethel, Oklahoma.
Will Wilson, Surrendered to Ministry in 1994
I spent every summer from the time I was born at Falls Creek. My dad was a youth pastor until I was 16 and always took the whole family with him. When I was 17 years old I did back to back weeks at Falls Creek with my former church, FBC Wewoka, and my new church, FBC McAlester. The first week God began working on my heart. He made it very clear he wanted me to be a pastor. I refused to go forward. I survived the first week of camp and spent the weekend bargaining with God. Anything but being a pastor. By Sunday night I surrendered in my heart and during that second week of camp I was one of the first down the isle on Tuesday night to make the decision public.
Michael Vallandingham, Surrendered to Ministry in 1994
The date was July 6th 2011. I was standing and praying for a youth named Alex. I thought I could feel God calling Alex into Ministry but,… once I realized that God was actually calling me it was simple. I walked forward with tears of fear and joy. I was serving in the US Navy at the time and I surrendered on the 19th anniversary of my joining the Navy. Coincidence? I think not. I got my first opportunity to serve in October of 2011 when our current youth pastor resigned. I was called as a bi-vocational minister and have served since that day. I retired from the Navy in 2014 and have been serving full time as Youth Minister and Church Administrator. There’s nothing more rewarding than know you’re exactly where God has placed you. All of my moves in the Navy were setting me up for the exact thing I’m doing today. God sure does work in mysterious ways!
Keith Warren, Surrendered to Ministry in 2011
I was heading into my senior year of HS and didn’t really know what I wanted to do after HS. I was very active in my youth group and growing in my faith but I had never considered doing ministry as a vocation. I didn’t hate the idea but knew it was something that needed to come from the Lord. Heading into my week at FC, there were a couple of things that happened that had me frustrated and even confused about life and I wasn’t really that excited about being there. I spent the first couple of days moping and feeling sorry for myself but during one evening devotion, God broke through and began to shine some light on things. We had some students who the Lord was working on and all of our leaders were helping other students. One of my friends needed someone to talk to and I volunteered to help. In that moment I listened to my friend talk about his need for God and I felt a peace and comfort in that situation that I had never felt. I was able to direct him to the Word and the Gospel. At the end of the night, I spoke with my youth pastor about it and he asked me if I had thought about ministry as a direction to pursue. I told him that I hadn’t. He challenged me to pray about it and by the end of the week it became clear this what the Lord wanted me to pursue . Since then, there have been many ups and downs and even changes in what specifically this call looks like but one thing I do know will never change from that experience is God’s desire for me to live out my life for him everyday and love others and His church while I do it.
Jason Denney, Surrendered to Ministry in 2004
In 2004, during my junior year at Falls Creek, Bill Green was singing “Tho none go with me, I still will follow” and God clearly told me to go down and surrender to ministry because I would marry a minister one day. 5 years later I married my best friend Andrew Riddle at Ouachita Baptist University, who had been called into music ministry the same summer! We accepted our first church position that summer and he began as music and youth minister and me as a teacher. I have enjoyed going on all youth trips, having people in our home, and helping sing in our praise team. I love supporting my husband in every step of ministry and am so glad God called us both to serve Him.
Rachel Riddle, Surrendered to Ministry in 2004
I had been fighting Gods call to the ministry and before the service a BCM group sang a song that said, you’ve been waiting too long to surrender. God used those words to break my resistance and before the service I surrendered to the ministry and have not looked back. I spent 15 years in youth ministry and now work in a children’s home and with young marrieds. I finish my Masters degree this summer and plan on following Gods plan for ministry my whole life.
Derek Morrow, Surrendered to Ministry in 1999
I was born and raised in Altus, Ok. I always thought I was a good kid who happened to have some friends that did things that weren’t so great. Luckily I have great parents that I never wanted to disappoint, this is what kept me from doing what my friends were doing. I always knew something was missing in my life, but never knew what that was. When I was 14 I started attending FCA at the junior High there in Altus. From there my best friend Corey Tennell got me to start attending the youth group at FBC Altus. I began to realize that the thing missing in my life was Jesus. I accepted him into my life by praying in my bedroom one night before bed. Ever since then I have tried to live a life in pursuit of Christ. The Church became a second home to me. My youth pastor, Zane Newton and his wife Kandy, took me under their wing and became like a second set of parents to me. It was then that I started realizing that God had a plan for me. I would always get the feeling that I was supposed to do something in the ministry, but I refused to accept it. When I was 17 and we were at Falls Creek, I finally gave into what I knew God wanted in my life. I did not know exactly the direction in ministry I was supposed to take at the time, but I knew I needed to surrender to the call. During our cabin devotion one night I went to Kandy Newton and told her what was going on. She prayed with me and I accepted the call to the ministry. After I graduated High School I interned under Zane for one year. In 2003 I accepted the youth pastor position at FBC Tipton, OK. I worked there for 3 years. I left to go finish college, I ended up getting my degree at South Eastern Oklahoma State University. My last semester their I took a youth minister position at FBC Thackerville in 2010. I served there for two years part time. I knew Christ was calling me to full time ministry, and in 2012 God brought me to Burns Flat, OK to be the full time youth minister at the First Baptist Church there. I served for four years at that church. I currently serve as the youth minister at FBC Olive, Ok. I have been there for one year starting in April of 2016. I continue to pursue Christ daily and I strive to help students do the same by loving God and loving people. I love what I get to do, and Falls Creek will always have a special place in my heart because it was the place I finally surrendered to the call God had placed on my life.
Seth Bevers, Surrendered to Ministry in 2006
Received the call in 1984, planed on leaving the job I had and honing to school but I got scared and kept working got married worked in ever church I attended and ran from the call but God had other plans end up losing a very good job my wife’s job out sorted her and God got our a hold and we obeyed!
Kevin Lancaster, Surrendered to Ministry in 2014
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 8 years old. God called me into ministry in 1998 at Falls Creek with my church, First Baptist Church of Elmore City, OK. I graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University and served as youth and education pastor at Rock Creek Baptist Church in Shawnee; then Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church of Forgan, OK; then Youth & College Pastor at First Baptist Church in Claremore, OK; then as Community Groups Associate at theChurch.at; and in 2013 I began Cyprus Global Inc. (missions organization) where I currently serve as president.
Scott Greenland, Surrendered to Ministry in 1998
I grew up only twenty miles from Falls Creek so I started going there very early. When I was about 13 I felt strongly God’s call on my heart for what they called “special service”. I went forward that night but really had no idea what specifically it might be. I told the counselor “I guess I want to be like Billy Graham.” Four years later I would surrender to “preach the word” and through fourteen years of youth ministry and thirty-four years of pastoring, I’ve been doing it ever since. I’ve taken the youth from ten churches to Falls Creek and preached there in 2001.
James Robinson, Surrendered to Ministry in 1969
I was raised in a Christian home and knew how to act like a Christian. I remember being baptized as a little kid and acting like a Christian on Sundays and Wednesdays but the rest of the week was a different story. In June of 2000 God got a hold of me and I knew my life was a fake. On that day in June I surrendered my life to Christ and he began to change me as time went on. In 2005 I went to Falls Creek the summer before my senior year. I knew God was doing something in my life but I didn’t know exactly what change He was about to make in me. That week he issued a call on my life to student ministry that was as clear as the day he called me to salvation. I am forever thankful for the setting, teaching, and equipping that goes on at Falls Creek that allowed me, as well as a multitude of others, to hear and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Jerry Young, Surrendered to Ministry in 2005
I was raised in the church all my life with amazing parents that strived to lead me to Christ everyday. However, it never truly clicked with me how much I actually needed Jesus and how shallow my understanding of God truly was. On memorial day in 2010 my faith was shattered with the death of my best friend, we were both in 8th grade and he passed away in a four-wheeler crash after finally winning a long battle with cancer. What little belief I had in God was gone with this event. After two years of running from God I sat in my Falls Creek cabin one evening after listening to the gospel shared by my youth pastor. As I sat there my phone vibrated with a message from my mom, she had sent me an newspaper article about Nick’s death. It was promoting cancer research and was using his story for their article. At the end of the article it spoke briefly of Nick’s passing and added that he was an organ donor and his tissue had saved 17 people’s lives. After reading this I broke down and got saved that night, I realized how foolish I had been by not trusting in who God is and what He was doing in the world around me and in my life. Exactly one year after my salvation I was called to ministry at Falls Creek after several long conversations with my Youth Pastor Tobin Jackson. I realized that God had allowed me to see how He was working in my life so that I could work with teenagers and show them how God is working in them. I now attend OBU and am going into my senior year after spending the last 18 months in youth ministry. I feel called to continue in youth ministry but me and my fiancé have also recently observed a call in our life to church plant on the west coast at a later point in our life.
Tanner Lewis, Surrendered to Ministry in 2015
I was raised in church by strong Christian parents. When I was 9 years old, my parents took me to a week long revival at my home church of FBC Clinton. During the Thursday night service, I knew God was calling me and I stood up and walked down the aisle during the invitation. I prayed and repented of my sins and asked for forgiveness. Jesus became the Lord and Savior of my life that night. After that night, I continued growing with the Lord through Sunday school and the children’s program. When I became a teenager, I was active in my church youth ministry. During the summer after my sophomore year of high school, I went to Falls Creek. During that week I felt the Lord calling me to ministry. I struggled with this call because I was extremely shy and did not like talking in front of people. As I struggled through the week with the calling, the Lord told me that He would give me the words to speak if I would follow Him. So, I accepted the call to ministry during the summer of 1998. After that week of Falls Creek I began preaching at my home church, went on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa, and attended Oklahoma Baptist University. The Lord has blessed me with his words to preach and has used my greatest weakness as my greatest strength. I have served as youth minister across Oklahoma as well as a US/C2 church planter in Wisconsin. I am currently serving as youth minister in Jacksboro, TX.
Cody Wells, Surrendered to Ministry in 1998
I grew up in church. My dad was a deacon, and both of my parents were Sunday School teachers. We were in church every time the doors were open. When I was a 3rd grader I had made a “decision” for Christ at a RA camp. The counselor told me that if I went down front I could get saved. I went down front, told them I wanted to be a Christian and I was instructed to sit down and “fill out this card”. This very same thing happened when I went down front at church the next Sunday. Our pastor was gone and a deacon was receiving people. He told me to sit down and “fill out this card”. The next week the pastor was back and he baptized me. Not one time did I ever pray asking God to forgive me of my sin. Around the time I went into High School I began feeling that God wanted to use me in some way I just wasn’t sure where. It was my Senior year (1972) at Falls Creek the preacher had preached the importance of praying and asking God for forgiveness of sin. I realized I was lost. It was then I prayed and was saved. It was then I told my counselor about feeling that God wanted me to do something in the way of ministry.
Kirk Holloway, Surrendered to Ministry in 1972
During the summer after my 9th grade year of school. I went to Falls Creek twice which is a dangerous thing. I went early in the summer with a friend’s small church and enjoyed being a leader and servant. Then later that summer I went to Falls Creek with my church and on Thursday night I responded to God’s call on my life. After that I became very active in my home church but something interesting happened. Even though I was involved and leader in the youth group I felt like God was telling me I wasn’t truly a Christian. I struggled with this for several months but finally on a mission trip in Galveston I overcame my pride and talk with my Youth Pastor about what I was feeling and I put my faith and trust in Jesus to save me from my sins. Even though my salvation came after my call to ministry I never doubted that call. I continued to serve in my home church as an often unpaid intern and associate student minister and 11 months after graduating college I accepted an invitation to be the Student Pastor at First Baptist Church of El Reno. My ministry has changed while I am at El Reno but I am so thankful for Falls Creek and God using it in my life and so many others.
Tyler Kelley, Surrendered to Ministry in 2007
I was called to ministry at Falls Creek between my Junior and Senior year of high school. I grew up in a very small town in Kansas where the only ministers were the pastors. A calling to ministry was very daunting for someone who had no interest in public speaking. But, God has equipped me for the work that He called me to.
Jordan Lauffer, Surrendered to Ministry in 2004
It was the summer of 1966, after my freshman year at OBU as I served as a counselor at Falls Creek. During the invitation of the evening service I responded to God’s Call and made it public. God also received the commitment of my future wife, Joyce Hardgraves, to be my life and ministry partner. We have served 48 years including Meadowood Baptist, Midwest City, Okla., First Southern Baptist, Phoenix Arizona, Champion Forest Baptist, Houston Texas, LifeWay Christian Resources, Nashville Tenn., and First Baptist, Humble Texas before retirement in June 2015.
Gary Aylor, Surrendered to Ministry in 1966
While a Junior in High School God called me into the ministry. In undergrad at SWOSU I studied to become a teacher. Then after teaching for 6 year God called me to attend seminary in New Orleans. God has been faithful in His leadership in my life.
Charles Robertson, Surrendered to Ministry in 2011
At age 8, I was called into the family of God at Trinity Ada. At age 15, I was called into the ministry of God at Falls Creek.
Reid Jackson, Surrendered to Ministry in 2012
It was the summer of 1974, between 7th and 8th grade. I remember the pastor asking us to give ourselves completely to Jesus including our plans and goals. I did t know what I could do in ministry for Him, but I surrendered my life for Him to use in any way He desired. Through the years, I’ve had some really great times and really difficult times in ministry. What I always return to that summer at Falls Creek. His call on my life is what has kept me in ministry.
Jeff Wilson, Surrendered to Ministry in 1974
I had been in Oklahoma for two years and it was the summer after my sophomore year of high school that the Lord called me to ministry. Since then doors have been opened allowing me to share the gospel with children and families in Texas and Oklahoma.
Erick Lind, Surrendered to Ministry in 2015
Of the 30 years that I have been alive, I have been to Falls Creek for 28 of them. My dad was a pastor in a small church without a youth minister and so I tagged along with dad and mom (the world’s best Falls Creek cook). I had walked an aisle and said a prayer when I was younger, but it was not a real moment, I only went because my friend did and there was no sincerity or understanding of salvation at that time. At Falls Creek, on July 6, 2000, I heard a man give his testimony in our cabin (Rancho Village #2). He shared how he had wrestled with the reality of not having a relationship with Jesus, yet living outwardly like he did. I knew that God was drawing my heart into a relationship with Him for the first time. I prayed to receive Christ that night. The next year, I stepped into the calling of God in my life for ministry. I grew up watching a man who loved the church and was an amazing pastor. I knew I was bred for ministry, but also knew that unless God called me I would be wasting my energy. Well, He called. I stepped in to a commitment to ministry that would take me from student ministry to parachurch ministry to currently serving as a pastor. Falls Creek has a special place in my heart. Saved and called there, I also began my relationship with my wife there, asked her to marry me there, and the next year finding out the Saturday that we returned from Falls Creek that she was pregnant with our son. I have seen many lives saved and called over the years, and I am so very grateful for the wonderful place of Falls Creek.
DJ Carney, Surrendered to Ministry in 2001
I had been fighting God’s call for months, but God made it clear the week before camp that I needed to be obedient so on Monday night of Falls Creek I told my pastor and youth pastor I felt Good calling me to vocational ministry.
Tim Abel, Surrendered to Ministry in 2002
I was raised in church and started attending Falls Creek at kids camp when I was 9 years old (1989). I had recently accepted Christ into my heart and was baptized the Sunday before we went to camp. Its was an amazing experience. As I grew up in church I continued to grow in my spiritual maturity and enjoyed being a leader in our student ministry. I went to camp each year until I graduated high school in 1998 and thought that would be the end of my camp experience. In the summer of 1999 I was able to attend as a sponsor with my former church and I enjoyed that experience and then in 2000 my wife and I were visiting our friends and church and spending a couple days helping our church at camp. In the evening tabernacle time the speaker, Voddie Baucham, challenged us to view our walk with Christ through the lens of Psalm 119:105 and to see if He was leading us to walk a path we weren’t following; that God asks us to trust Him in each new step and then He will show us the next one and then the next. I felt a strong pull that God was calling me to ministry but I didn’t know in what area or how. I already had a full time job in engineering the field I had a degree in, a wife, and a plan; but I walked down the isle and surrendered my life to Christian ministry. Over the next few months I prayed and sought out God’s direction and His path lead me to become the Bi-Vocational Minister at Central Baptist Church, Marlow, OK (my home church). I served bi-vocationally for 5 years and then God called my family and I into full time ministry. There have been challenges and tough roads as we have walked down this path but in all the years and in all the struggles we have faced I have never doubted that I made the right decision to answer God’s call to me…at a place called Falls Creek.
Zac Priest, Surrendered to Ministry in 2000
I was called into ministry at Falls Creek when I was sixteen. From that point on God lead me on a path that pointed me into my current position as Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Pawhuska. I never thought I would be a full-time lead Pastor at my age and experience level. I was a part-time Youth Pastor for 2 years and God called me to be a full-time Pastor regardless of my abilities and experience. Even though I told God I was not ready, he gave me the wisdom to be the Pastor of His church in Pawhuska. It is only through Him that I am able.
Caleb Dunn, Surrendered to Ministry in 2004
I grew up in a Minister’s home. And ignored my call to ministry for a long time. The summer before my junior year, God began to impress on my heart that had a calling for me. I came to Falls Creek and wrestled with this calling all week. I made it to Friday and God basically said to me, “Are you going to do what I am asking you to do or are you going to do your own thing? Because you can’t do both.” That night, I submitted to the calling God placed on my life.
JJ Lane, Surrendered to Ministry in 2009
I placed my faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 7 with the help of my pastor, Dr. Alton Fannin, at FBC Ardmore. It was at VBS, and he was showing us these cards that had a picture of a “clean” heart on it. He began making marks on it with a sharpie signifying sin being in our hearts. He told us that having faith in Jesus would wipe our sins away and allow Jesus to come into our hearts. So I placed my faith in Jesus that day. At the age of 12, I was attending a camp in Missouri called Kanakuk where I saw a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus. There I realized what Jesus had really went through and that being a follower of Jesus meant surrendering your life to him and letting him take full control. So I decided to recommit my life to Jesus and dedicate my life to following him. From then on, I tried my hardest to be a devoted follower of Christ. When I was 16, I was attending Falls Creek and was sitting in the new Tabernacle listening to the preacher that was there preaching that evening. He kept saying the phrase “surrendering to ministry” over and over again. Every time he said the word ministry from that point the rest of the week, it felt like God was trying to tell me something. At that point, I spoke to my Youth Pastor, Aaron Lokey, who told me it might be God calling me to ministry. I prayed about it, and on the Thursday night of week 8 in 2007, I surrendered to the ministry during Tabernacle Time at Falls Creek. From that point on, my Youth Pastor helped prepare me for ministry and to understand how ministry is. He gave me speaking opportunities and eventually gave me an internship with him at FBC Ardmore. There I eventually became a youth associate who was in charge of middle school operations. After that, God called me to my first position as an actual Youth Pastor at FBC Elmore City where I have served for the last 3 years.
Quintin Magruder, Surrendered to Ministry in 2007
During the summer of 1998 I attended Falls Creek during Texas week with Ridge Crest Baptist Church of Greenville TX. The Lord spoke so clearly to my heart concerning His divine call to serve His Kingdom. I knelt by the Nunny Cha Ha bridge and committed my life to His Kingdoms service in whatever capacity He desired. He has continued to confirm that calling through the years. What a blessing!
Rusty McMullen, Surrendered to Ministry in 1998
I was saved as a 10 year old boy. After my sophomore year of college, the Holy Spirit spoke to me at Falls Creek through a message by Richard Jackson of Phoenix Arizona. He said “Do what is right because you know it is right and not because it feels right.” That night I surrendered to the Lords will for my life. four weeks later I was attending Oklahoma Baptist University and taking classes to go into full time ministry.
Griff Henderson, Surrendered to Ministry in 1986
I was called to ministry in the summer of 1996 following my senior year in high school at Falls Creek.
Craig Towery, Surrendered to Ministry in 1996
Looking back on my life, I see the many signposts of God’s work to call me to faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit in calling me to surrender my life to the lordship of Jesus. Just as clearly, I can also see how the Holy Spirit led me to the calling that God had put in my life to serve Him in ministry leadership. Every summer I would always attend the VBS at my grandparent’s church, as well as several others in the town where we lived. While I was not fully grasping everything I was learning, I can look back and see how God was shaping me even then. When I was eight years old in June 1991, we moved to Ada, Oklahoma. Since it was summertime, I attended a Vacation Bible School at Fellowship Baptist Church. It was during this week that I learned and understood for the first time who Jesus was, what He did for us through the cross and resurrection, and what it meant to follow Him. I knew I wanted to give my life to Jesus.. On the Thursday evening of that VBS, I went forward during the invitation and committed my life to Jesus. Two weeks later I was baptized, and my family became very involved in going to church. My family and I were members of Trinity Baptist Church in Ada, Oklahoma, and it was here that the passions for the ministry of the Word and the ministry to people began to develop in my heart. In the summer of 1996, during our youth week of Falls Creek camp at the age of thirteen, I felt the Lord calling me to surrender my life to full-time ministry. After visiting with both my pastor and youth pastor, they both were in agreement and support of my call. Starting there, I threw myself into any type of ministry service I could find, as well as seeking out mentors who were ministers. Since July of 2003, I have served as a minister in two other churches besides my current church home at First Baptist Church in Chickasha. During those years, I have felt the affirmation of God’s purpose for my life – to follow Him with everything I am and lead and equip others to do the same.
Douglas Matlock, Surrendered to Ministry in 1996
I was called into relationship with the Lord in the summer of 1989 on a Wednesday night of Falls Creek during cabin devotions in the old Ada Cabin (with FBC Piedmont). Then, in the summer of 1994 while at Falls Creek with FBC Piedmont as a sponsor, I surrendered my life to the ministry while doing my quiet time, once again in the old Ada Cabin.
Brandon Adams, Surrendered to Ministry in 1994
I graduated high school May of 2012. There was chaos around my life, and I had been ducking God’s call for awhile. I went to Falls Creek with Wilmont Place Baptist Church from OKCGod just softly called me in a moment that changed my life forever. The next year I was interning at FBC of Tahlequah, and August of 2013 I accepted the youth pastor position at Camille Ave. Baptist Church in Valley Brook. I now serve as the youth pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church in Midwest City. I am thankful for God’s call in my life, and the opportunities that He continues to give to share the Gospel with students on a weekly, if not daily basis.
Jacob McCullough, Surrendered to Ministry in 2012
I grew up as part of Gracemont Baptist Church in Tulsa. I went to Falls Creek for the first time in 1976 with Gracemont. As an incoming high school freshman, Jesus found me at Falls Creek in August 1977 and gave me new life. As a youth pastor with First Baptist (Wanette) with my newlywed wife Eileen in summer 1988, we discerned the Lord confirming a call to cross-cultural overseas mission service and began the appointment process with the Int’l Mission Board. We served seventeen years with IMB. We accepted an early retirement offer from IMB in winter 2015 and remained in Oklahoma. We returned to Falls Creek last year (2016) with Immanuel Baptist Church (Shawnee) where our family is active in membership. We went as sponsors and it was our first time to be at youth Falls Creek since the summer of 1998, though we served as camp missionaries for Children’s Falls Creek while on furlough in June 2006.
Chris Carr, Surrendered to Ministry in 1988
I grew up in a Christian home and at a Christian school where my father was a principal. After being saved at a young age I lived a quiet life in respect to God until He got my attention. In the summer of 1997 I experienced God’s call to ministry on my life, at Falls Creek. A few years before it was at Falls Creek that I had overcome the anger and hatred I had been dealing with. I can take you to the exact spot that my life changed forever, outside of FBC OKC’s cabin. When called to ministry, I just had an awareness that God wanted me to preach. The problem was that I had a stutter since I had an accident as a child and damaged part of my brain. Turns out that God was aware of my stutter, and wanted to use me in spite of my weaknesses. As I grew and matured I realized that God uses us because of our weaknesses, so that He can receive the glory. Falls Creek helped provide the kindling for God to start a fire in my life, as it has for so many others.
Luke Holmes, Surrendered to Ministry in 1997
In high school I attended church and then camp with friends. I went forward in FC evening service in I believe 1993 (I was around 16) to surrender to special service calling, believing I was called to minister to children or possibly be a pastor’s wife.
Selynda Vass, Surrendered to Ministry in 1993
I was saved at Falls Creek in 1997 (old tabernacle) and was called to ministry at Falls Creek in 2005 the summer before my senior year(amphitheater). I went with GoStudents to Cologne Germany in 2006. I served as a youth and associate pastor for 10 years at Billings FBC and 1 year as associate in Pond Creek FBC and I am now the pastor at Calvin FBC. I surrender to full time ministry in 2016 (new tabernacle). I believe this will be my 20th summer at camp most years being here more then once. Falls Creek has shaped and molded me into the Christian I am today. I will forever be grateful of the impact Falls Creek has had on my life and on the life of campers that I have brought here.
Kurtis Stoll, Surrendered to Ministry in 2005
I was saved at Falls Creek at the age of 9 when my parents took my sister and I out to see what it was like. My sister was old enough to attend but had never been away from home like that, so my parents went the Friday night that our church had gone so she could see it. I began to feel a call to preach at the age of 12 and at the age of 14 while attending Falls Creek I ended up surrendering to the call to preach. I was a shy kid and because of a speech impediment I felt people would laugh at me if I said I was going to preach so I never made the decision public. Having grown up on a farm and raising and showing hogs that was my dream to continue doing that even as an adult. I thus ran from the call to preach and at the age of 24 I went to Georgia to take a job raising hogs having stopped going to church so that God would stop calling me to preach but it was there in Georgia where I ended up getting back in church and surrendering fully to the ministry. Later when I was 26 I had scheduled a vacation to go to Georgia but my friends who were going with me could not go so I stayed here as I had moved back to Oklahoma. I thus every night of my week of vacation would go out to the services and then walk around the grounds and pray and it was there God gave me the final direction for my life. I enrolled at OBU for the fall and was called to pastor my first church.
Kevin Hanel, Surrendered to Ministry in 2000
I was saved at age 12, the same year I began learning guitar. My family stopped going to church for 5 years. My cousin asked me to go to Falls Creek as a Youth in 1998. I have been going every year since. I was called to Pastoral ministry in 2005 at Falls Creek! I have been serving at the same church as Music and Youth Pastor for 10 years.
Brett Patterson, 12 years in ministry
I had missed out on Falls Creek for a few years during High School but my senior year a friend invited me to church and that summer following graduation I returned to Falls Creek. I surrendered to Christ back in 1999 but in the summer of 2005 was when the Lord spoke to my heart in such a way that my eyes were opened to the realization that salvation isn’t the pinnacle of the Christian faith, but merely the starting point. Thinking back on my call to ministry, it first hit me during a morning worship service. A friend made a comment about it and I immediately sat down and prayed that God show me his will for my life. I can’t remember if it was that night or later in the week, but I clearly remember praying with my youth minister and surrendering my life to ministry. I asked him to lead me in a prayer and he said “This is your calling. Cry out to God and tell him you surrender.” That was powerful to me and in that moment it felt more genuine when I prayed. Since then I have sought to serve the Lord however and wherever. I have a huge heart for international missions and seeing a world transformed by the gospel. Now I serve at FBC Woodward as the Associate and Youth Pastor, and I look forward to how God will lead me to minister to these students, this congregation, this community, and the world.
Jonathan Chambers, Surrendered to Ministry in 2005
I have come to Falls Creek as an adult since 1984 and served as a cook. In 1985 or 86 i really felt the call to serve youth more than one week of the summer. Since that time I have been a volunteer youth worker at our church and actually served as co-youth minister for 2.5 years. (Part of the time we were even paid)
Sue Clifton, Surrendered to Ministry in 1986
I was fortunate to be raised in a Christian home by parents to faithfully took us to Church. My father was a music and youth minister. I walked an isle and shook the preachers hand when I was 5, and went through the motions of “getting saved.” But looking back on that I realized I did that because I saw friends doing the same and felt like that was what I was supposed to do as a minister kid. It wasn’t until I was 13 years old that I made a real decision to put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ and began a relationship with Him.
My middle school years were a very dark time in my life. I suffered through the pains of being bullied to the point of falling into depression. I was constantly told that I would never amount to anything; no one would ever love me; and that no one would even care if I disappeared. I began to develop a very poor self-image. I even had thoughts of suicide. But the Lord led me out of that dark time in my life. He surrounded me with good friends, a loving family, and my Church youth group. I began high school with a bit more confidence and feeling that God had a purpose for me.
The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, my parents informed my siblings and I that they were separating and getting a divorce after 17 years of marriage. The one thing in my life that had always been constant and a safe haven was now crumbling. My heart sank once again.
That summer of 1989 that I attended Falls Creek with my youth group. It was what I did in the summer. Falls Creek had always been a special place. With my dad being a youth minister, I had been attending since the year I was born. (I have only missed one summer at Falls Creek in my 44 years life) I went to camp that summer with an extremely burdened heart, not expecting anything special. But God had other plans. On Thursday evening, I felt the Lord calling me into full-time ministry. There was no denying it. In that moment under that open air tabernacle, it was so clear that He was calling me. This was it. This was the purpose I was searching for.
My parent’s divorce left a vacancy as far as someone leading music at my home Church. I was asked to fill in for a few weeks until they found someone. That few weeks turned into me leading worship my entire senior year of high school as well as my first full year at Oklahoma Baptist University.
I began my first full-time ministry position in 1994.
Looking back, I would never have wished to go through the struggles of those dark times in middle school. nor would I have wished for my parents to divorce. But I can look back and see God’s hand in all of it. And today, so many of students I have the privilege of ministering to over the years have struggled with self-image issues or depression. And an ever growing majority my students have been through the process of their parents divorcing. This dark, dark times of my life have served me so well in being able to empathize with students living through the same struggles I had.
I am so, so blessed to get to serve the Lord. An even more so, that i get to call it my career. I am grateful for a place like Falls Creek that played such an important roll in my spiritual walk, growth, and call to ministry.
Jason Taylor, Surrendered to Ministry in 1989
I grew up in Holdenville, OK in the youth ministry of FBC (Doug & Kecia Burrows.) I was a musician and played music at church all the time, but never saw how that would pan out as a life of ministry. I responded to the call to ministry at Falls Creek in 2009 and committed to do whatever God would lay before me. He gave me incredible opportunities to minister through music for a few years, and led me through seasons of learning how people work and what the church is really about (people.) God eventually led me (through a worship band that I was a part of) to FBC Ada in 2012 where I fell in love with serving the youth ministry during a time of crisis in the church. God allowed me to become part of the staff of FBC Ada as a Media Director in 2013 and my full time ministry career began. God has been faithful! He led me away in 2015 to Crossroads Church in OKC where I learned to build a creative team and served with some fantastic mentors. I recently returned to FBC Ada as the Creative Director and look forward to building teams of creative people to serve the church through worship, technology and creative ideas.
Jordan Farris, Surrendered to Ministry in 2009
In the summer of 1952, I attended Falls Creek for the first time with my FBC Altus group. Halfway through the week before I went to sleep, I heard the voice of God as clearly and plainly as if He were sitting beside me. I clearly heard Him say. “I want you to be a preacher.” I sat through church services for the next four years; and during every invitation I heard the call again and again–never diminishing from the call at Falls Creek. In the summer of 1956, I committed to the call and “surrendered to preach.” And finally in 2017 the call remains.
Henry Chennault, Surrendered to Ministry in 1956
I was called to ministry in 1990, at the age of 15. I remember walking to the front of the tabernacle, knowing God was calling me to ministry but not sure what that meant. The counselor asked me what kind of ministry, so I answered, “Music.” It was my love, so I assumed that was it. Fast forward a few years and a guy I’d known, who was going into the pastorate, asked if I’d ever considered being a pastor’s wife. No, I hadn’t, but I started to. In college, I served in various musical capacities. I sang in the choir, taught 3-year-old choir, led music in youth and college classes, and sang solos in church. Then in 1995, God brought a man into my life who became my husband in 1997. He was starting seminary to become a pastor. As he did that, I served as pastor’s wife, VBS music teacher, member of the praise team and occasional worship leader, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, Bible study leader, and mom to 4 kids. I currently serve as our church’s music interim. It’s a humbling experience to serve in this way. I admire those who serve their churches full-time. It can be daunting to marry old and new music, to try to please young and old ears, and to primarily please the Lord. I’m thankful for the role Falls Creek has played in my life. It’s a huge role now. It was there that I was called to ministry at 15, but was called to ministry there, by my husband’s side, in 2015 when he became the Director of Conference Centers for the BGCO. That is also a daunting job, but one Jason handles so well.
Jenni Langley, Surrendered to Ministry in 1990
In July of 2004, at the age of 21, I was home on leave from the Air Force to attend Falls Creek as a sponsor for New Hope Baptist Church, Muskogee. I very clearly remember at the Wednesday night service feeling God call me to serve Him in youth ministry. It was undeniable when He spoke to me, I knew in that moment that I didn’t want to do anything but serve God through serving students. When that invitation time came that night I moved as quickly as I could from the back right section of the old Tabernacle to surrender to His call. I served 12 more years in the Air Force while serving several local churches until God opened the door to full time student ministry in July 2016. I’m so grateful that God chose me to serve in this capacity; there is no better job in the world!
Clint Bryant, Surrendered to Ministry in 2004
After coming to know Jesus at a youth group service I was asked to come to Falls Creek in 1994. While setting under the old tabernacle I experienced an immense call to mission work. When the alter call came, I ran down to the stage and gave my life fully to Christ and the mission he put tasked me with. It did not come easy though, as I hit a few valleys along the way, but 4 years ago I quit my job and went into full time mission work in dark and dangerous places. I now travel overseas and speak and stay in prisons in order to reach those who are forgotten. I also teach at pastors conferences and schools in almost every country I able to enter.
Daniel Ingle, Surrendered to Ministry in 2004
I grew up attending the Church of Christ with my family and was saved at the age of 10. While in high school I started dating a Baptist girl and began attending church with her. I also attended Falls Creek with her during the summer of 1972. We married on Sept. 15, 1973 at the First Baptist Church of Dewey, OK. Not long after that, I felt I needed to join the Baptist faith and was baptized into the church. In the summer of 1974 my wife, Vicki, and I went to Falls Creek as sponsors with FBC Dewey. During this week I felt God calling me and I went forward one night to accept that call and share my decision. Later that evening I was visiting with Rev. Bill Forrester and I remember something that he told me. “if you are truly being called, it will still be on your heart and mind after thirty days.” Well, now it has been 43 years and I still feel the call. I was active in church but it was 10 years before I really became active in the ministry. In 1984 I was licensed to the ministry by my home church, FBC of Dewey, Ok. I began doing supply preaching and was called to be bi-vocational pastor of Lynn Baptist Church in Pawhuska, Ok. in 1985. After about a year I had to step down due to some health problems. My health returned to normal and I continued to be active in ministry over the years serving as music minister, deacon, teacher, supply preacher and interim pastor in various churches in our area. In 2006 I was called to be bi-vocational pastor of Silver Lake Baptist in Bartlesville, Ok. and was there for 6 years. Again, I continued serving as supply preacher at various churches in our local association. I have also been on 4 mission trips to Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico to work with churches there. In November of 2016, I was asked to be interim at Lynn Baptist Church in Pawhuska, Ok and then in May of 2017 I was called to be full time pastor at Lynn Baptist Church. Back to where I started.
Ralph Stafford, Surrendered to Ministry in 1974
I was saved at Falls Creek on July 12, 2013. Less then one year later I went to children’s camp as a junior sponsor. I felt God speaking to me about doing something more with my relationship with Jesus. I talked to our pastor and he said you know when you know when you know later that summer on July 9 I was sitting in the tabernacle and I heard God clearly tell me I want you to surrender to serving me, I’ll guide us as we go. I surrendered to ministry that night. And He has been faithful as I’m discovery where His call is leading me he has guided me and blessed me with opportunities to serve. I taught fifth and sixth graders for a little over a year and they were one of the most amazing blessings in my life. I am very thankful for what God has done in my life and those around me at Falls Creek.
Katterina Vezzoli, Surrendered to Ministry in 2014
I went to Falls Creek as a youth sponsor in 1994. I had been teaching Sunday school to 7th-8th grade boys and sponsoring at youth events. During that Falls Creek week, every time the invitation came my hands clutched the bench in front of me (I usually sat toward the back of the old tabernacle). I spoke to our youth minister about it. I was saved at the age of 8 and had been serving in one capacity or another since I was 16. I helped out in RAs at my church in CA and led Bible studies, taught Sunday school, and Bible studies, as well. I knew that I was saved but did not know why I felt I needed to go forward. The youth minster told me to not fight it. He said God has appointed someone to receive me during the invitation and I was denying that person the chance to serve. The next night, Thursday, when the invitation came, my hands did not clutch the bench, and I felt no need to go forward until the speaker said “called to ministry”. Then, I looked down and my knuckles were white holding the bench. I went forward and met with a youth minister. I don’t remember what he said or what he gave me. I do remember him saying that I may not know what I had been called to but God did. I felt such a relief the rest of camp. When we got back home, I called my father and told him about it. He said that called to ministry does not necessarily mean paid staff. He said that God would show me what He wanted me to do and it might not be what I expect. It was not. God has shown me over the years how important it is to be willing to be a minster whether you are paid or not. Since then, I have sponsored in youth groups, taught Bible studies to youth and adults, and served wherever God led me to serve in the church I joined. After retiring from the USAF, I started working as a Ministry Assistant at one church and volunteering at another. I love serving God in whatever capacity He asks me to serve Him.
Steve Brown, Surrendered to Ministry in 1994
I surrendered to full-time ministry at the age of 16 in the summer of 1983 while attending Falls Creek with First Baptist Church of Harrah. I enrolled at OBU in 1985 and graduated with a degree in Religious Education, went to Seminary at Golden Gate and graduated in 1992 with a Master’s of Christian Education. I have been blessed to serve as a Youth Minister, Education and Administration Minister in 6 churches in 4 states. I am currently the Minister of Education/ Administration at Meadowood Baptist Church in Midwest City, OK where I have served the last 14 years.
Jay Ramer, Surrendered to Ministry in 1983
I was saved at Falls Creek on July 4, 2008. I will forever remember that day because He opened my eyes, revealing that I had been living a lie. I had learned all about Jesus and claimed to be a Christian but my actions said otherwise. The very next morning I asked God to tell me His plan for my life… It was crystal clear: Love others the way I love you. Basically, John 13:34-35. My life did not automatically change the way I thought it would. I still had the same struggles and temptations I had before being saved, but now I could fight with the power of the Holy Spirit. When leaving for college, I struggled with doing what I had always wanted to do with my life, rather than His plan for my life. By God’s guidance through relationships with His people, I began to get involved in the church. I started as a youth intern and through serving, God continued to reveal areas of my life that I was not willing to surrender to Him. The more I surrendered, the more God used me for His will. I continued serving in the youth, and then began leading youth worship and, eventually, leading worship for the church in which I was serving. Throughout the rest of college, I have served here and there. Once I graduated from OBU, I took a ministerial position at First Moore Baptist Church. There, I started as the Associate Children’s Minister, later transferring to the College Minister position, where I have now been serving for a little over a year. I am grateful to be able to share the Gospel, build relationships and equip students to make disciples so that they follow and obey everything that Christ has commanded us to do. I am truly grateful for Falls Creek, the place where God called me to live a life completely surrendered to Him.
Casey Howsden, Surrendered to Ministry in 2012
It was July 7, 2009 at FBC Hollis cabin with the FBC Miami group. I prayed that the Lord would use Falls Creek to tell me my future, whatever it may be. On Tuesday night, I felt the Lord calling me and commanding me to ministry. I kept saying no because of fear. I was discipling a group of middle and they asked about stepping out of a comfort zone. I said, “we cannot be afraid. If he calls us he will equip us.” I knew I was talking to myself. I got by myself and fought with God for an hour giving excuse after excuse. I can’t get in front of people. I can’t teach. I can’t lead. Finally, I gave up. He won. Since then I have served as interim Youth Pastor in Miami before moving the Louisville, KY to attend Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I finished my Masters of Divinity in December 2015 and took my first ministry position at FBC Quapaw in August 2016. It has been a wild ride, but better than anything I could have imagined.
Daniel Rasor, Surrendered to Ministry in 2009
My story As a young kid I grew up in a Christian home, but I was a sinner and lost. When I was a 5th grader I was invited to a revival and during one of the nights I felt the Holy Spirit convict me. I came to a realization that I was a sinner in need of a savior. I understood that Jesus demonstrated His love for me as a sinner and died for me. Therefore, that night I placed my faith and trust in Christ and asked the Lord to forgive me of my sins. I confessed with my mouth that Jesus was Lord and surrendered my life to Him. Since then it has been a life changing experience. I now have the desire to grow in an intimate relationship with Christ and the desire to share the Gospel and make Him known with others in order that He would receive all glory. Call to ministry While at Falls creek during the summer of 2004 I felt the Lord calling me to vocational ministry. At that time I didn’t know exactly what type of ministry the Lord was calling me to serve in I just knew at that time the Lord was calling me to be obedient to His will for my life. Years later during the summer of 2013 after I graduated OBU with a biblical studies degree I entered into my first full ministry position where I served as interim children’s minister at FBC Hobart. A few months later the Lord called me to be a part of a church plant in Hobart, Ok where I served as children’s minister for almost 3 years. I now serve in student ministry in Wheatland, Wyoming.
Alma, Surrendered to Ministry in 2004
At the age of 19, & being married just a few weeks, I was at Falls Creek as a sponsor with our church in early June. On Thursday, which typically has a missions focused service, we watched videos from missionaries of kids in other countries who desperately needed everything from basic necessities and the love of Jesus. I was so overcome with emotion! I prayed and asked God what he wanted from me, and after counsel from a older friend who had served many missions, I realized that God was placing a call on my life to serve him in some form by working with children, something I was already passionate about. I left Falls Creek not knowing how or what or when I would be able to fulfill the calling God placed on my life, but I just knew I was ready when he was. Funny thing is, at the time, I thought that I was meant to go overseas and serve in orphanages, etc. But little did I know, God was going to use me in my own hometown. By that August, our current children’s ministry director at our church was leaving, and I felt led by God and encouraged by others to fill that vacancy if the church would have me for that position. In September of 2009 I was accepted as a volunteer children’s ministry director, serving as children’s church coordinator, Sunday school teacher, Wednesday night teacher, VBS Director, children’s camp organizer, and nursery coordinator. I served as a volunteer until 2013 when the church voted to add me to the part-time staff. Hindsight is 20/20, and I now know God placed that calling on my life at Falls Creek so I would feel equipped enough to volunteer for that position come that August. God taught me that being called to the ministry as a missionary doesn’t always mean going to a third world country, sometimes your biggest mission field is right in your own “back yard”! And praise God for that, because I get to serve Him with the best group of kids on the planet!!!
Karley Rogers, Surrendered to Ministry in 2009
Sensed an undeniable call in my life on July 25, 1988. I’ve been fortunate to live out that calling sense then to this very day. Life has not always been easy but God is faithful! I count an honor to do anything in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Shawn Caldwell, Surrendered to Ministry in 1988
I first felt called to ministry during RA camp at Tulakogee in 1969, and then again at Falls Creek in 1972. I made a public decision to ministry at Falls Creek in 1975 and was licensed by Immanuel Baptist, Wagoner later that same year. In 1978 I began preaching regularly as a pulpit supply and was called as Pastor of Brushy Mountain Baptist in Muskogee in the fall of 1979. I served there for 3 years while working for the Muskogee Turnpike and then in Tulsa as a machinist. In 1984 I was called to pastor Loco Baptist Church where I served 4 years. While at Loco I met Dr. Bob Agee, then President of OBU, during our week at Falls Creek. He challenged me to complete my degree and I enrolled at OBU the following January. While I was a student at OBU, I was called to pastor FBC, Agra. I served there for three years. I finished my degree at OBU in 1989 and shortly after accepted the call to pastor Hilltop Baptist in Shawnee. I have served at OBU and Hilltop ever since. I have been on staff at OBU for over 28 years and will celebrate 28 years as pastor of Hilltop in mid October this year.
Gary Nickerson, Surrendered to Ministry in 1975
Surrendered to serve in ministry on a Thursday night in 1987.
Joe Jones, Surrendered to Ministry in 1987
My first year attending Falls Creek was the summer of 1999. Throughout that week I felt the Lord calling me to pursue a life in ministry. I was not opposed to the idea, but I had several stipulations on what I was and was not willing to do. Four years later, again at Falls Creek, God confirmed His calling on my life. He also helped me see my need to FULLY surrender myself to His plan. I have now been doing vocational ministry for eleven years, and I am just getting started! He has transformed my heart, and my greatest desire is that my life be used up for His glory.
Carissa Jones, Surrendered to Ministry in 2003
In the summer of 1974 I attended Falls Creek with my home church (Calvary, Enid) and during that week I knew God was moving but wasn’t certain what was taking place. By the end of that week I knew that God was calling me to ministry and was certain it was a call to pastor and preach. I acknowledged that call at camp, shared with my home church upon our return, and preached for the first time two weeks later on a Sunday evening. As a 14 year old I began to be used for pulpit supply around our area and the Sunday after I turned 16 I was asked to pastor a small country church and that was the beginning of this marvelous journey!
Tim Ohls, Surrendered to Ministry in 1974
I first attended Falls Creek during Texas Week 1970. That week I answered God’s call into the Gospel Ministry at the age of 18. The next year I returned to Texas week as a counselor. I completed college and seminary in Texas and later was called to mission work in Eastern Idaho. After 3 years I answered the call to become a chaplain on active duty in the US Naval Reserve. After ten years and four duty station, God sent me to Tahlequah OK where I remain to this day. I’ve served as Pastor, FBC Proctor, Ok for over six years and for 18 years as a volunteer chaplain for OKDHS. I’m retired now and involved in Missions and Ministry as a member of FBC, Tahlequah. I haven’t been back to Falls Creek since 1971 but have sent my own kids there. I was a born and bred Texan who never dreamed I would end up in Oklahoma, right where God wanted to use me. I’m thankful that my younger brother Mark Wright followed me in ministry and has spent most of his adult life in Oklahoma churches. That one week at Falls Creek in 1970 changed the entire course of my life and ministry. I am forever grateful to the BGCO and Falls Creek leadership that shaped my life’s history and ministry. I recently made contact with a Navy Chaplain who formerly was a young sailor on USS Seattle (AOE-3), my first Navy assignment as a chaplain. I often wondered how much good I did on this hard working supply ship. He said my influence on his life help to lead him into ministry and he has modeled his chaplaincy after me. All I did was to show God’s love to all members of the crew. I worked hard to remember names and genuinely listened. We never know how much influence we have on one person. The message of that Fall’s Creek Pastor in 1970 made the difference in my life. May God continue to bless all who sue their time, talents and Christian love to minister to those who come to our camps.
Henry Wright, Surrendered to Ministry in 1970
While visiting Falls Creek during the service on Wednesday night my junior year and the speaker asked any called for ministry to come forward and it started some wheels in my mind. I talked with my small group leader as well as my youth pastor and I went up the next night to follow my call to ministry. When asked what field of ministry, in my mind i was thinking, ” I have no idea I didn’t think about that at all. I just felt that’s what the Lord was telling me to do.” Then the next thing I knew I was saying the words “youth ministry” and from there I have been working to do what the Lord has called me to do. When I heard about it during The Call conference I heard the Lord telling me to try it.
Hunter Bowman, Surrendered to Ministry 2018
Iwas born and raised in Oklahoma. I was also born and raised as the son of a pastor in Oklahoma. My father has pastored in this state for more than 45 years. I often hear people say that they grew up going to the church every time the doors were opened. My story is a little bit different. I was usually the one opening the door for those folks to come in! I surrendered my life to Christ as a young child at a church plant that my father was pastoring in Moore, OK. I will never forget the circumstances around that decision. I knew that God was calling me to trust in Him but I wasn’t really sure how to communicate that decision to my parents. Our church had one of those guest cards on the edge of the bulletin. (I remember they were blue.) For three weeks, I (the pastor’s son) filled out one of those cards, flipped it over to the back and checked the box beside the phrase “I would like to speak to the pastor.” I didn’t just put my name on it either, I filled out the whole card. Name, address, phone number, etc… I guess I wanted to make sure they knew how to find me. After the third week, my father, finally poked his head in my room one night and said “do you need talk to me?” I remember telling them what I was sensing and what God was doing in my heart. Then, beside my bed that night, my mother and father shared the Gospel with me and led me to put my faith in Jesus Christ. From that point on, my faith was something I took very seriously. But as I grew up in the church, I also knew that I didn’t want to be a pastor. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the church. I was never the wild pastor’s kid that almost gets his dad fired. I loved Jesus and wanted to live for Him but I did not want to do that as a pastor. I grew up going to Falls Creek. I even got to go to Falls Creek before I was even eligible to go as a camper. For several years, I got to go to the kids camp portion of Falls Creek off to the side of the old tabernacle before I was officially old enough. I loved being there! As I got into high school, I viewed Falls Creek as a place for me to work on some aspect of my faith. Usually, I would have some idea of what I was trying to work on going into the week. Yet the summer before my senior year of high school I was restless. And I arrived at Falls Creek that summer in the same manner, restless. Little did I know what God had in store for me. Monday night, God was pressing in on my soul through the preaching of His Word, yet I continued my long resistance to His call. By Tuesday night I could take it no more. That night, I sat down with my youth minister and spilled my guts. God was calling me to the ministry, yet I wanted no part of it. I had seen that life and simply did not want it. He did not press me that night. He just left me to struggle and counseled me to pray. I will never forget that night or that prayer. As I lay on my bunk (I can take you to the bunk!) that night staring at the ceiling, I simply cried out for God to give me peace. I told Him, “I am Yours if You want me, but You have to give me peace.” Those were the words on my lips as I drifted off to sleep that night. When I awoke that Wednesday morning, it was unexplainable. The restlessness had abated and God had given me a single-minded purpose… Preach His Word. I did not know what shape that would take, but on that Tuesday night, on that bunk, in that place Oklahoma Baptist’s have prayed over for years, the trajectory of my life had changed. The next years would see me off to Oklahoma Baptist University and to seminary in New Orleans and then back to Oklahoma as a pastor. I arrived on the ground in June and in July I went to Falls Creek with our students. As we pulled into the cabin, I couldn’t help but smile. The cabin I had surrendered my life to the ministry of the Word in 11 years before was the same cabin I was walking into as a first-time Pastor.
Michael Taylor, Surrendered to Ministry 2010
I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I went to Falls Creek as a teenager and was saved at 17. At 19 years old, my first year as a sponsor at Falls Creek, God called me into the ministry. That next fall semester I enrolled at OBU to study music and Biblical Studies. I have been serving as Worship Pastor at Crossroads Baptist in Beggs Ok for the last 9 years.
Justin Wells, Surrendered to Ministry in 2005
When I was 11 my parents were sponsors and took me to Falls Creek The High School Kids took me to choir and they let me sing I got saved at 13 Then when I was a youth in 1973 I was at Falls Creek and the Lord was working on me and the invitation was wherever he leads I’ll go and I surrendered to the Music Ministry and it has been 28 wonderful years of ministry. I thank God for Falls Creek.
Terry Barton, Surrendered to Ministry in 1973
When I was 8 years old I went to the front of my church, and said I wanted to be saved. There was never a change, and I was still the same person. At church camp in 2011, I realized something was not right. I thought I just needed to rededicate my life to Christ. So, I pushed it away for 2 more years. I turned 13 and started to really feel convicted and knew I needed to be saved. On March 24, 2014 I accepted Christ at home. When I was in 8th grade I heard about GoStudents and was very interested. I tried to go that summer, but I found out I was not old enough. So the next summer, after 9th grade, I signed up to go to Portland, Oregon with GoStudents in July. Next summer I decided to go on a local mission trip with the Pittsburg Baptist Association, here in McAlester, Oklahoma to Juarez, Mexico in July. This past year at Falls Creek I realized that I needed to accept the call to ministry and what better place then Falls Creek to do that. I was on the Decision Team, and after I had counseled someone, I went down to the front and made my decision to be a missionary.
Angelica Vaughn, Surrendered to Ministry in 2015
I was saved at the age of 12 at a friend’s children’s youth camp. Right after I joined Quail Springs Baptist Church and felt a call to ministry for about 3 years. After 3 years of exploring what it means to be called, at Falls Creek, in 2014, I gave my life to pastoral ministry.
Cole Kilewer, Surrendered to Ministry in 2014
I am blessed to have grown up in a Christian home that has always been active in church. I was saved at the age of seven following a Sunday morning worship service and grew up attending church camp. My call to ministry started one summer while I was attending RA Camp at Camp Hudgens. It was during the last night of RA Camp that I first started to sense a call to ministry. I got to attend Falls Creek for the first time the summer after seventh grade. Right before the summer started, my family had just joined Brookwood Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and that is when I was first introduced to the youth pastor, Jimmy Cox.
Even though I was a little hesitant about attending Falls Creek with my new youth group, I agreed to go and that is when I again started sensing a call to ministry. During that week of camp, I was so amazed watching Jimmy lead us that I began to ask him question after question about why he was a youth pastor, how get started out as a youth pastor, what kind of education did he have to be in the ministry, and pretty much anything else I could think of related to being a minister. Over the course of the week, Jimmy answered each question and spent time helping me get a better grasp on what it meant to be called to ministry. God used this week to continue to impress upon me a call to ministry.
One year later, in 1993, I finally surrendered to vocational ministry after hearing God’s call for several years. During the second semester of my eight grade year, I took a mechanical drawing class because at that time I wanted to be an architect. It was during my time in mechanical drawing that I realized I was not creative enough to do this for a living. Our semester project included designing a house all from scratch. I used all of the creativity I had to design that one house and once it was completed, I had run out of ideas. My dream of being an architect was over. At that point, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, which was very important to me. I started my summer break not really having a clear direction for my life.
Once again, I went with Jimmy Cox and my youth group to Falls Creek. On Tuesday night for our evening devotion time, Jimmy asked those who had made a decision to raise their hand. Everyone clapped and cheered for those who had made a decision. Then on Wednesday night, during the invitation, I knew God was speaking to me but I did not go forward. Later, during our cabin devotion time I knew Jimmy was going to ask if anyone had made a decision and I knew I needed to make one. So when Jimmy asked if anyone had made a decision, I raised my hand thinking that was all I had to do. But then Jimmy asked those who had made a decision to stand up and share their decision with the rest of the group. I thought I was going to pass out! When it was my turn, I stood up and told everyone that God had called me into full-time ministry. Everyone was so excited for me and I was a little shocked at what I had just said. I had been fighting my call to ministry and that Wednesday night I finally surrendered everything to God. I went forward during the Thursday night invitation time to solidify what God had done in my life the night before. After the service, I remember going to stand in line to use one of the pay phones to call my parents so I could share with them that God had called me into vocational ministry. I still remember how excited they were for me.
Upon returning to the church when Falls Creek was over, many of the parents and members of the church had already heard about my call to ministry. Our music minister found me as I was getting off the bus and asked if I would be a junior sponsor for children’s camp a couple of weeks later. God was already putting me to work! I was able to talk with my pastor, Bro. Robert Griffin, after summer was over about my call to ministry and that is when I knew I was specifically called into youth ministry. After high school I attended Oklahoma Baptist University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to prepare for a vocation in youth ministry. Since my graduation from seminary, I have served as a full-time youth pastor in churches in New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Jason Peck, Surrendered to Ministry in 1993
In 1995 I attended Falls Creek as a sponsor with Regency Park Baptist Church. We had just lost our Youth Pastor, so I was asked to be a sponsor “out of necessity.” As I ministered to those students during that week, God began to speak to my heart. On Thursday of that week, I awoke in the middle of the night with the overwhelming sense that God wanted me “full time.” The next morning I went downstairs to breakfast to tell my wife what God was saying to me, and she greeted me with this: “I know what God is doing. You are supposed to be a full time minister, and I am supposed to be your partner.”
Every time I drive down I-35 and pass through the Arbuckles, I remember that moment, and thank God for the gift of Falls Creek. This year we are bringing a group from Arkansas who have never attended Falls Creek. I cannot wait for them to experience the same kind of spiritual encounter that has marked so many of God’s people over these past 100 years.
Keith Moore, Surrendered to Ministry in 1995
I grew up in church, but in my teenage years, while attending South Ridge Baptist church in Fort Gibson, I struggled a lot with my faith. I dealt with a lot of anger towards God, and really a misunderstanding of what Christianity really was. After finally deciding to surrender my life to God completely, everything started to change. My junior year of High School while attending Falls Creek I really felt God calling me to ministry. I fought it for most of the week, but on the 4th night, I couldn’t any longer. I surrendered my life to ministry, not really knowing what that would mean. I continued to try and run from God’s calling and He continued to pull me back. I ended up getting my Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry and my Master’s in Christian Education. I have been faithfully serving as a youth pastor for 3 years now and can honestly say that life is a lot easier when you follow Christ.
Jesse Thomason, Surrendered to Ministry in 2014
I remember sitting in the tabernacle and being called by the Holy Spirit to surrender to full time ministry. At the time the only skill that I believed I had was the skill of music so I assumed I was to be a music minister and I returned home with the plan to everything needed to make that my future. I attended OBU for two years after graduating High School and could tell this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. Sixteen years later, after changing colleges, degrees, and being successful in the business world, God clarified my calling into Pastoral ministry. I have currently served in Laverne Oklahoma, my first pastorate, for 5 years.
Donnie Scott, Surrendered to Ministry, 1995
When I was a senior in High school my youth minister asked me to be his intern. I told him sure, but I knew what he was trying to do and that I would never be a youth pastor. That summer I helped as a small group leader and was in charge of rec for VBS at the church and really enjoyed getting to help and impact lives. I didn’t think much of it but when Falls Creek came around I was supposed to lead a middle school boys small group. During that week kids would come to me and ask me serious questions about the Lord and I kept thinking why? I’m not really the person to ask? During that time I began to feel called to ministry, but kept doubting and giving excuses, but every time I had an excuse the Lord would answer it. I finally went to my youth pastor at the end of the week and told him and he was very excited as I was very hesitant and scared. I tried to brush it off the rest of the summer and even part of college but the Lord broke me and made it clear after I went on a mission trip to south east Asia that ministry was what I was supposed to do with my life and I haven’t stopped since.
Dakota Scott, Surrendered to Ministry in 2011
Until the day I met Christ I have the kind of testimony you would expect a sweet southern baptist girl to have. I was born and raised in the city of Broken Arrow, I was born on a Sunday and that very next Sunday I was in church. At 13 years old I joined my churches youth ministry and fell madly in love with church. At 14 years old I accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior and that’s when things started to get a little more shaken up. The summer following my salvation I attended Falls Creek for the first time! I was a bit of a book worm so it was odd for me to be so willing to go to a camp that took place mostly outside but, I was on the worship team so attending and leading in cabin worship was part of my position. Truly I can tell you that the Wednesday night tabernacle changes my life. At this time Wednesday Night Tab had a missions focus and the message had a very missional theme and the whole time I felt something inside of me that I just couldn’t put my finger on, something was pulling me. at the end of the service as they started giving the alter call I heard very clearly the voice of God calling me to go down to the front but I was confused because I had already accepted Christ and alter calls were for lost people? but the voice told me to go down and tell them about my heart for the nations and my burden for the Gospel; so that night I walked down and accepted my calling into full time vocational ministry and from that moment forward that calling has guided my every step. I continued attending church as often as they would let me in, my summers were fully devoted to church events such as Super Summer where I fell head over heels for the OBU campus and staff. I did overseas mission work any chance I could get and by the time I graduated I had been out of the country twice doing mission work. I was accepted into OBU and in the fall of 2015 I started attending with my heart set on being a bio major with a focus on pre-med but the more time I spent on campus and the more time I spent in active ministry with the beautiful people in the city of Shawnee the more I started getting that same feeling that I got at 14 setting in the tabernacle, I started once again to feel called. I sought out wisdom from anyone that would meet with me. I talked about my heart for people and how my heart breaks for people who haven’t heard The Good News. I eventually found my way over to Hobbs College and started in the Bible major track with a doubly major in family science because of my home life and other experiences I found myself especially called to the field of family ministry but still this didn’t seem to be enough. As I countined through my classes and found myself more and more engrossed in the study of Gods words and taking these huge theological truths and boiling them down to simple things that can be grasped by even new believers I found in myself a desire to be in ministry classes; after receiving wide council from friends, family, OBU staff and even pastors I changed my major…to pastoral ministry. Next spring I will be the first women to walk across the OBU stage and recieve this degree (however I’m not the first to take the classes) although I I will never hold the office of senior pastor (I affirm this is an office only for men) I have been growing in my faith, in my knowledge and in my ability to clearly communicate both of those things. As I continue down the path God has put me on I will most likely attend seminary! I’d like to get a M.Div with a social work focus and one day work for Focus on the Family however, I am quite comfortable with the fact that God may have other things in store for me as I continue in my pursuits of academics and more importantly my pursuit of him.
Diandra Delso, Surrendered to Ministry in 2016
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home with both parents raising us in church. From a very young age, I would hang onto the words that came from my Sunday School teachers, my pastors, and my family about who God and Jesus is. Two years after graduating high school and a quick stint of playing college sports, I found myself in a rut.
The youth director at our church, Tim Martin, had taken the youth down to Falls Creek and I decided to pay them a visit one Thursday night. That night sitting in the evening worship service, I felt God calling to me to do more. I talked with Tim that evening and we prayed about it, and he told me, “It’s about time!” What an encouragement. When I got home, I immediately told our pastor, Gary Adams, about the decision I had made. He was so encouraging and excited for what God was doing. I did not want to make it public until I knew exactly where God wanted me. I have been the Youth Director at Kelham for 17 years now.
Tony Montgomery, Surrendered to Ministry in 1999
As a camper, I felt the Lord calling me to be a pastor’s wife. This at first scared me because I knew many of the things a pastor’s wife goes through. Through the counseling of my pastor’s wife and the leading by the Holy Spirit, I surrendered to the ministry the Lord was calling me to. The same summer my husband was called to be a pastor at super summer. We met that fall after we had surrendered our lives to the ministry.
Amy Pack, Surrendered to Ministry in 2001
I came to faith in Christ at the age of 7 and initially sensed God’s call to the ministry when I was 10, but spent the next 9 years filling my life with anything but obedience to God’s call. In the spring of 1989, at midnight in my dorm room during my freshman year of college, I stopped running from God’s call and humbly surrendered in obedience to Him, thinking that I was “rededicating my life.” This was a definite turning point in my life. Within a few days I came to a clear realization that God was calling me to the GOSPEL MINISTRY. A few weeks later at Falls Creek, during a Tuesday night worship service, God’s call to ministry was unmistakingly clear. I responded during the invitation that night and was asked by my pastor to speak on Friday night for the cabin devotional. I was a nervous wreck that evening! Within a year I was called as MInister to Students for my home church. Since that time I’ve been blessed to serve as Minister to Students and Senior Pastor in some incredible churches!
Charles Henthorn, Surrendered to Ministry in 1989
I grew up in a family surrounded by church. My Grandfather is a pastor, his father was a pastor, and so on up the line. I came to Christ when I was seven at a Halloween service thing.
2015 was my first year at Falls Creek. It was week five Zane Black’s week, who is one of the best speakers I had ever had the experience to listen to, and he gave an amazing message. Then during the invitation, he called for all of those who wanted to accept Christ to come forward. Then after that, he called for all those that felt called to do God’s work in ministry. That hit me hard because I knew that was me. But I couldn’t move, I denied myself the chance to go. So then for a year I held a guilt that I denied what God had for me.
The next year at Falls Creek I felt that same tug. I knew what I had to do because I had thought about this moment for an entire year. So on the first tabernacle service of week five 2016, I walked down the crowded aisle of Falls Creek and surrendered my life to ministry. And ever since I have had no regrets and an absolute joy from the shear thoughts of what God will do with my life.
Ethan Metz, Surrendered to Ministry in 2016
I was saved when I was 12 at a youth rally at Council Road Baptist Church. Matt Chandler preached, the gospel came alive, and it was the first time my religion became truly personal to me. A year later I came to Falls Creek. I don’t remember who was speaking but I remember Bill Green singing. I remember very clearly the Holy Spirit’s impression on me that he wanted me to surrender my life to serving him by serving his church vocationally. I said yes and he has confirmed that and shaped me in many ways since. I now pastor a church I helped get started. I’m thankful for the way God moves at Falls Creek. This place has been a huge part of shaping my life and setting me on the path of serving Jesus.
Nick Tarter, Surrendered to Ministry in 1998
I grew up in church and got saved when I was very young. Last year at falls creek I was called to missions and I wondered where I would go and where would the Lord take me and he opened a door to Haiti at the beginning of June in 2018. It was such an eye-opening experience and I can’t wait to do more of the Lord’s work.
Hannah Tolman, Surrendered to Ministry in 2017
My call to ministry was fully realized at Falls Creek in 2018 when I felt God call me to pursue a career in ministry and more specifically to be come a Chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, but I have been serving as a leader in my youth group since 2017. I would like to continue so and start to do mission work until I am able to join the Air Force.
Konnor Myers, Surrendered to Ministry in 2017
I grew up in the church and was saved at a young age. By my teenage years, I was ready to walk away from the church. God brought a few influential men (Kurt Jackson, Hance Dilbeck, and my dad) into my life at just the right time to show me that God had something bigger than just me in mind. He had an entire plan that involved all of creation. As they mentored me, and brought me alongside them, I began to sense that God had a different plan for my life than what I had laid out (military). The summer after my junior year in high school, God called me to ministry at Falls Creek. I have since served as a Youth Pastor for 17+ years, and now as a pastor for 4+ years. I am forever grateful for those God used to direct my path, as well as the role Falls Creek has played year after year in my life.
Craig Towery, Surrendered to Ministry in 1995