ON ORGANIZATIONAL LETTERHEAD
November 14, 2004
Mr. Robert J. Vickers, President
The Robert J. Vickers Foundation
P.O. Box 1225
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Dear Mr. Vickers:
Greetings! [The introduction paragraph is purely to connect. . . Either 1) first- or second-generational connections/relationships, 2) geographic connections, and/or 3) field of interest connections AND/OR relationships.]
"The problem of troubled youth is the biggest threat to the future of the United States. The amazing thing about this problem is that we know what the solution is. . . a relationship with a caring adult: a teacher, a mentor, a coach, or a parent." General Colin Powell, current Secretary of State of the United States. The youth around us need help–not just as a "teacher, mentor, coach, or parent," BUT with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
I am writing to respectfully request that you consider the importance of this proposal. Falls Creek Institute’s sole reason for existence is to reach the youth of today with the Gospel of Christ–and to train them to train others to do the same. We want every youth in America to hear the good news of Christ and to gain a solid understanding of what it means to be a fruit-producing disciple. In the beginning, this may sound like a lofty, unattainable goal. But, not for us. We have the track record and existing relationships with thousands of young people to immediately accomplish it! Here’s how we believe we can do it. . .
After seventy-seven years of evangelizing and discipling over a quarter of a million of America’s youth at Falls Creek Camps, we are embarking on a brand new ministry called "The Falls Creek Institute." Opening in Spring 2005, The Falls Creek Institute (a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation) is designed to select the most promising college graduates from our summer staff of 2,500 committed Christian athletes and train them over a fifteen month period in evangelical/discipleship and proven youth ministry skills.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just: It shall not deter me." I believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be a just cause. I believe it because I have seen what the Lord has done in my life. For years, men have invested much time and energy into my walk with the Lord and I have witnessed the fruits of their labor. Perhaps the most important thing we can do in our quest to spread the gospel, is to train the next generation in God’s fundamental truths. We will see first hand that by educating our young leaders, the truth of Christ will be clearly, purposefully, and authentically communicated, thus producing reproducers for the cause of Christ.
The Falls Creek Institute’s Executive Director, Bob Vickers, has over 22 years experience in youth ministry. Bob graduated with a Master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and has pioneered Youth Ministries throughout the United States. In 1979, he started working at Falls Creek and has been director since 1993. He is an author, national speaker, has taught youth pastors all over the world including: Nepal, Russia, and Austria. His passionate fun-loving attitude has allowed him to minister to thousands of children over the years, each of whom have seen a solid picture of the heart of Christ through Bob’s love for them.
In our first year we will train twenty men and twenty women in an intensive Biblically-based curriculum that will equip and empower them for years of fruit bearing ministry. We will equip them with the necessary Biblical knowledge and skills to have a significant, sustaining, and effective impact for Christ among youth. Students will come to the Branson area, live amongst our community of ministries and be taught by some of the most successful youth leaders in America. We train our soldiers to fight. We train our doctors to heal. We train our pilots to fly.
This is the time for us to get back to the Lord’s plan for his disciples and train our youth leaders.
In our fifth year we plan to grow to 60 students and spread the ministry to 40 cities. By the tenth year we hope to have full-time students operating in 75 cities. Because of Falls Creek Camps’ success in recruiting so many of the best youth leaders in America the demand for the type of individuals we are producing has been extraordinary and reinforces our need for growth. Currently, there are over 25 church and para-church ministries begging us for this type of individual to fill their job openings.
Our curriculum will start by grounding them with a Biblical foundation. From there, students will study topics on apologetics, developing and maintaining a ministry, Christian ethics and spiritual life, contemporary world views, current issues for today’s youth, and marriage and family skills. They will apply these skills in an internship where their gifts can be cultivated and students can be held accountable in their studies. Students will be sponsored by a local family in the area exposing them to experience how healthy Christian families interact, and to assure that students learn that the family is their first ministry.
We have a strategic plan and immediate access to the brightest young Christians in the United States. In order to make this vision a reality, we simply need and humbly request a grant of $75,000 a year for the first three years of operation. This will be the beginning of a new chapter in our cause for Christ–a chapter based upon the principals of which Christianity has indoctrinated to us. We will not be deterred. We are going to produce men and women that will carry these skills with them for the rest of their lives. They will apply it in their ministries, in their jobs, in their communities, and most importantly, in their families.
They will teach our children to trade the lies of this world for the Truth, and to set their hearts upon that which is eternal, with the hope that they too will carry this cause that has been entrusted to us all . . . the cause of Christ. Please call myself or the Falls Creek Institute CFO, Matt Hodkins, for any further discussion or clarification of anything hat you need to process this proposal. I greatly appreciate your work and look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store in our co-laboring for the gospel.
Dr. Kristan Robertson, President
Falls Creek Camps, Inc.
The Falls Creek Institute
Mission and Project Statements:
The Falls Creek Institute exists to train young men and women with the necessary Biblical knowledge and skills to have a significant, sustaining, and effective impact for Christ in youth ministry for generations to come. Drawn from the hundreds of years of experience offered by the Falls Creek Camps, we labor to make disciples by teaching young people to obey God’s Word. The Dynamics of Our Vision:
1. We offer formal training to youth leaders interested in full-time Christian youth ministry.
2. We will increase the effectiveness and commitment of the average youth director a hundred fold.
3. We will answer our calling to "make disciples" of youth leaders so that every youth in America will hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
• We seek out and recruit recent college graduates with hearts for full-time Christian youth ministry.
• We teach young people the necessary skills to effectively communicate the Gospel in a variety of ways.
• We facilitate connecting churches and para-church ministries with qualified youth directors.
• We build on the synergy to further the cause of Falls Creek Camps so that every youth in America will hear a legitimate presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Falls Creek Institute is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization founded in 1992 and is governed by a national Board of Directors of 6 (See Board of Directors on Page 6) Also, see attached 501(c)(3), IRS Department of Treasury Determination Papers.
Dr. Kristan Robertson, Executive Director (660) 747-6390, Voice
The Falls Creek Institute, Inc. (660) 111-2222, Cell
P.O. Box 1225 e-mail: Kristan@FallsCreek.com
Warrensburg, MO 64093 Website: www.FallsCreek.com
Faced with the blessed task of fiscally managing and creating this start-up ministry, our current and immediate needs are such that we are asking you for a grant of $ 75,000 in equal annual installments over a period of three years. TOTAL AMOUNT REQUESTED: $ 225,000.
Evaluation and Assessment:
The Falls Creek Institute is committed to integrity and stewardship. We desire to be open and honest about where our faithful supporter’s resources are going. We know that in doing God’s Will, we will be entrusted with God’s resources. This commission was given to us in the Bible, "To whom much is given, much is required." Because of this desire, our Board is committed to becoming certified through the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA). We will also have a yearly audit performed by an independent Certified Public Accountant. All employees and volunteers will be evaluated bi-annually.
The Falls Creek Institute has committed to the following schedule:
Phase 1: Planning, Organization, and Fundraising - May 2003 thru May 2004
Phase 2: Implementation of first round – May 2004 to August 2005
The first round of students will come in May of 2005. We are nearing the completion of drafting our first round of students. Candidates were asked to submit a four-page application complete with essays, participate in an interview with our Executive Director, and submit two letters of recommendation. The first round of students will be accepted in mid February. This process will continue every year thereafter. The number of students is expected to grow at a rate of 12% each year, with our first class estimated to be 20 guys and 20 girls.
The Falls Creek Institute
R Today’s youth need trained, Godly men and women to disciple them. The individual who has the most significant impact on your child, outside of the home, is the youth leader. He or she is the only person whose job is to help raise children and youth spiritually, emotionally, socially, and morally.
R A large majority of today’s Christian youth leaders have a heart for Christ, but lack the formal training to be effective in youth ministry. The average youth leader does not have a six to twelve month plan, an outlined purpose statement, or a vision of what direction their ministry is heading over time.
R The average youth leader lasts only seven to eleven months. With the lack of a sustaining ministry, high turnover often shorthands youth programs that during the four years kids are in school have to fight for kid’s attention among sports, peer pressure, the opposite sex, and the world. All-too-often, we have lost.
R There are few programs in America designed to train youth leaders to meet the demanding needs of youth ministry. Students are forced to enter this profession unequipped and struggle to make a significant impact. The average youth pastor gives over 200 talks and sermons while youth are under their watch and growing up: Yet most youth leaders aren’t able to teach others what they have learned. We aren’t producing reproducers. We are not teaching others to teach others to teach others. . .
The Solution and Strategic Plan:
We have designed a program that gives young men and women hands on training by individuals with extensive experience in youth ministry. Our instructors include veteran Falls Creek Leaders and Directors and some of the leading Bible teachers and experts in the U.S. In fact, our youth leaders are recognized by many Christian leaders among the top youth leaders in the world.
We must gently and tenderly take the hearts of these youth and combine them with a training program where they study God’s fundamental truths, develop a ministry plan for their lives, understand their roles in the church and family to effectively communicate the Gospel, and are mentored to effectively deliver it for lasting change to take place. We must place these youth leaders in local youth ministry internships where their gifts are nurtured and cultivated to become fruitful and then facilitate their replanting into significant roles within the Body. We must team these youth up with solid Christian families and Godly men who are dedicated to mentoring them in one-on-one relationships where their swords will be sharpened.
The Resources NEEDED for this Game Plan are Already Available to Us:
We have the youth leaders. We employ 1,926 college-aged summer staff with hearts for ministry.
We have the kids. We will reach 14,028 kids this summer from 48 states.
We have the teachers. We have over 40 full time leaders involved in youth ministry for 300+ years.
The Falls Creek Institute is the link that binds those resources together. We want every youth in America to hear the Gospel. But in order to do this, we have to train our youth leaders to effectively disciple today’s youth. We will disciple leaders to go out and disciple other leaders, that will go out and disciple other leaders, and so on. This program will have an significant, sustaining, and effective impact for Christ on an eternal level and facilitate the process of every youth in America hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." Romans 10:15
The Falls Creek Institute is a 15-month training program located in Warrensburg, Missouri. Students will walk through a classroom curriculum that will start by grounding them with a Biblical foundation. From there, the students will study topics on apologetics, developing and maintaining a ministry, Christian ethics and spiritual life, other world views, current issues for today’s youth, and marriage and family skills. Class time will be held between 8:00 am to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday. The teachers, many of whom are volunteers, will come from our sister ministries and offer years of experience in youth ministry.
Outside of the classroom, students will be involved in a mentorship program, an accountability program, a discipleship program, a student development program, and an internship program that will give them an understanding of balancing the many facets of youth ministry. Each student will be sponsored by a Christian family and experience what it means to be men and women of God at home and in the community as part of our mentorship program. Students will have frequent meetings with Camp directors to provide accountability for the student’s spiritual life and ministry development. Each student will be placed in a discipleship group with five peers. These groups will focus on studying God’s Word together and will lead small groups in the community. The Student Development program is designed to teach the students the importance of getting involved in the community. They will gain hands on experience planning community service projects, short term mission trips, and youth retreats. Finally, students will apply all these skills at an internship in a local church or para-church ministry and will spend two summers at our Christian sports camps before and after the program.
In a recent survey conducted by our staff, it is estimated that the average individual produced by Falls Creek that enters full time youth ministry has a direct effect on 150 lives each year. This includes people that he or she teaches, mentors, disciples, or counsels. Therefore, of the 40 individuals we produce next year, we will have a direct effect on 6,000 people. In our tenth year producing 96 people, we will have a direct effect on 14,400 people. Thus, over a ten year period with a growth rate of 12%, we will significantly effect 372,000 lives. Imagine calculating the number of lives those people will effect, and so on.
The outcome is immeasurable. Our plan, however, is not. It is specific and measurable. Our objective, beyond equipping young men and women with Biblical skills for a lifetime of ministry, is to teach individuals to teach. We want our men and women to go out and be proactive in discipling other men and women. We want them to turn whatever occupation they choose into a ministry solely devoted to spreading the Gospel of Christ. We will produce reproducers, thus gaining workers for our labor in the Gospel. "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." Matthew 9:37
We will also facilitate the placement process between church ministries and youth directors to ensure job openings are filled by the most qualified individuals. As previously mentioned, churches and para-church ministries are constantly asking us for individuals to fill their spots. Because of this attractive ability to combine the hearts of these students with a formal training program, there should be an increase in that demand. However, unless we start to produce reproducers, we do not foresee the supply being able to keep up with the demand.
The Falls Creek Institute offers an innovative approach for preparing today’s college graduates to be tomorrow’s youth leaders. We will train the best and most enthusiastic Falls Creek and leaders to be effective in youth ministry through our six step program. We are strategically positioned, we have a plan, and we have the opportunity to reach thousands of kids in America with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are excited about taking this project to the next level with some expanded funding. We are already in the process of preparing for our first class of students that will arrive in May of 2002. Everything is in place, ongoing and will continue to proceed. We are ready and able to expand. However, financial partners are still needed. We are eager to discuss this proposal with you and would love to provide any additional information that could assist you in the decision making process.
The Falls Creek Institute Start-Up and Operating Budget: