LifeWay’s Collegiate Week Finds New ‘Home’ at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center

Van Simmons, student strategist for the International Mission Board, was one of the many collegiate experts who led breakout sessions at Collegiate Week.
Photo by Chris Doyle

Bill Noe kept using the word “home.”

Apparently, it was the best word to describe Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, which hosted Collegiate Week, Aug. 5-9, an annual event sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources. As LifeWay’s national collegiate ministry specialist, Noe serves as Collegiate Week’s program director.

“As I started talking to Falls Creek leadership, it became increasingly apparent that this probably could work out, and it would be a great home,” Noe said when asked about the process of moving Collegiate Week, which had a long history of meeting at Glorieta Conference Center in Glorieta, N.M. “Just every conversation, every visit, every step along the way made it more and more obvious that (Falls Creek) would be the perfect home for Collegiate Week.”

Noe’s programming team had been exploring other possible locations that would allow them to use all of the venue for Collegiate Week’s traditional meeting time in early August.

“We realized there aren’t a lot of places big enough to handle a camp like this,” Noe said. “And that limited the pool, unless we wanted to go to a college campus, and the timing of the year makes that rough.”

Noe said Falls Creek was always on his team’s radar, especially with Collegiate Week drawing many students from Oklahoma schools. Though there were some initial hesitancies since many were unaware of the recent campus improvements and new facilities, such as the Mathena Family Event Center and Centennial Plaza.

“It has been overwhelmingly positive, just people’s excitement about these facilities, about this staff,” Noe said. “The staff here are incredible, so responsive and helpful, and it’s just obvious they want us here and value the ministry of Collegiate Week and believe in college students and how God can use them to take the Gospel to the world. We share that same heart with Falls Creek which is what makes this a great home for us.”

Attendance is also up from last year, as Noe said about 500 more students attended Collegiate Week this year. Average Collegiate Week attendance over the past few years has been around 1,200-1,300 students. Noe said, counting college ministry leaders and their families, this year’s Collegiate Week drew nearly 2,000 in total attendance.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press; Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, Chris Doyle