“Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20). With these words, Paul closes his prayer. Time and time again throughout my Christian experience, I have seen God answer such a prayer. God has a way of doing the remarkable and inexplicable. He cannot be placed in a box, and He loves to surprise and bless.
This week, God gave Oklahoma one of those “beyond” moments. He chose, through the instrument of the Green family of Hobby Lobby Stores, to make a $2 million gift to Oklahoma Baptists so that a youth camp near Falls Creek could be purchased. In one act of generosity, God blessed His people called Baptists and His people called the Assemblies of God. Oklahoma Baptists acquire a new camp to be used for ministry to children, and the Assemblies of God sell a camp so the money can be utilized to pay for the new camp they have built in Chandler. Now that is a “beyond” answer to the prayers of Baptists and Assemblies of God.
It has been a great privilege to get to know the members of the Green family who have a rich Christian heritage. God has used them to bless the work of the Kingdom around the globe. God’s deep work of grace in their lives has translated into multiplied millions of dollars invested in the advancement of Christian work and the Gospel. The Green family has been the source of “beyond” moments for many Christian ministries.
What is the “beyond” moment for Baptists? Some years ago, the decision was made to combine the boys and girls missions camps into a coed experience at Camp Hudgens in McAlester. The name of the camp was changed to CrossTimbers and, through the leadership of Mark Jones, the programming for the camp was totally revamped. The results have been remarkable. After only a couple of summers, the capacity of CrossTimbers was at the max, which was only 250 per week including staff. The format was changed utilizing back-to-back sessions with only one day between camps in order to schedule 13 sessions during 10 weeks. This last summer, camp capacity was stretched to the limit. There were 326 precious children who repented of sin and by faith embraced the Savior. Hallelujah!
As we saw the overwhelming needs required for expansion, we also recognized the cost would be several million dollars that we did not have. We asked God to show us the way and began exploring ways to meet the growth—a growth that made us turn campers away. In the midst of exploring another possibility, we discovered that the Assemblies of God camp had been placed on the market. Discussions ensued with the Green family and the result is a “new” camp that allows us to double capacity for only a few hundred thousand dollars to be spent for retrofitting a camp we received as a gift. That is a “beyond” moment!
The advantages of the new camp are many and are addressed in other articles in this issue. Suffice it to say, this new campground places BGCO’s state camping ministry in one location with economies of scale that will prove very advantageous. The capacity to reach thousands more children with minimal investment is a huge blessing. And remember, we have the privilege of selling the McAlester property and investing the money in the new camp and other Kingdom ministry.
God has once more shown Himself able to do above and beyond! He used a wonderful and generous family as His instrument and blessed two groups of His children in the meantime. We stand in awe that He would choose to reveal His greatness through a “beyond” moment among Oklahoma Baptists.