Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby gives state Baptist General Convention $2 million to buy camp

A $2 million gift from Hobby Lobby for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is designated for the purchase of Newburn Conference Center, on U.S. Highway 77 west of Interstate 35 near Turner Falls. It formerly was used as a summer camp by the Assemblies of God.
BY KEN RAYMOND kraymond@opubco.com Published: September 26, 2012
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“We'll have missionaries come and speak to the children,” he said. “We'll have hands-on experiences that will help them to understand what it's like in a different part of the world. In the past, for example, we built a small African hut and gave them the opportunity to go and feel what it would be like to live in a hut and do everything outdoors.”

The donation, Jordan said, is an answer to prayer.

“Throughout the years, we have been privileged to invest in the work of the BGCO (Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma) through Falls Creek,” Hobby Lobby CEO Steve Green, a Southern Baptist, said in a news release. “The opportunity to help the Falls Creek ministry through this gift brings us great joy.”

The convention had been in talks with Hobby Lobby and the Green family for months leading up to the gift, Jordan said.

The donation makes Hobby Lobby the largest single donor to the convention. Previously, the company donated more than $3 million to the capital campaign for construction of the Falls Creek conference center.

“Over the 100-plus years of our convention, our churches in Oklahoma have given millions of dollars,” said convention Board Chairman Douglas Melton. “Outside of our churches, the Green family has given the largest amount.”

Melton said Oklahoma Baptists “are just going to be so thrilled to have a camp like this. … We may never know this side of heaven how many lives are going to be impacted by the Gospel through this gift.”