Brad Clay of Sulphur loves God and loves to hunt. Clay and his friends combined those two great passions to create a Christian outdoors ministry called Final Descent Outdoors.
The ministry is among several church outreach organizations and activities aimed at outdoors enthusiasts in the state. The target audience is people, especially men, who like to hunt or simply love being outdoors. "It’s just neat that there are churches that are realizing that we need to get men,” said Clay, youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Sulphur. "There are so many women who get up on Sunday by themselves, get the family together and go to church without the men. There are just so many men who, for whatever reason, are not involved. This is a way we can get men in a situation with something that’s going to catch their attention and present them with the Gospel.”
Bringing the outdoors inSeveral churches have had or are planning outreach activities geared for hunters and outdoor lovers. Crossings Community Church held its first Sportsman’s Beast Feast this month. Coordinator Mike Fackler said he hopes it will become an annual event. First Baptist Church of Piedmont is set to host its fourth annual Wild Game Feast on Sept. 19. Other churches that have held similar activities include Portland Avenue Baptist Church, Freedom Church in Owasso and First Baptist Church of Durant. Fackler, pastor of middle school ministries at Crossings, said about 440 people showed up for the church’s Beast Feast on Aug. 18. He said the event was aimed at sharing Christ’s love and getting outdoors enthusiasts involved with the local church. Prizes were given away including an African safari. Jeff Danker with the "Buckventures Outdoors” TV show was guest speaker. Fackler said the event was timely because dove hunting season begins Tuesday, and deer hunting season begins Oct. 1. "We wanted to create an opportunity for people who love hunting and the outdoors to have an opportunity to meet the Creator of the outdoors,” Fackler said. Randy McCown, minister of education and administration at First Baptist of Piedmont, said Clay and two other men who helped create Final Descent Outdoors will kick off the church’s Wild Game Feast with free clinics offering basic information about waterfowl, deer and turkey hunting.