Most "Back to Genesis" seminars are held in large Metropolitan areas where a significant number of area churches band together to jointly support such a community outreach. Smaller scale "Case for Creation" seminars or "Genesis Presentations" usually serve areas with a smaller population.
Thus, it was somewhat of an anomaly when nearly 5000 people were ministered to at a "BTG" seminar in Rapid City, South Dakota, with speakers Drs. John Morris and Duane Gish on April 16 and 17. The sweet fellowship and hunger for creation information makes us ask, what happened? What factors brought about this surprise?
We found an aggressive and broad-based local committee followed the guidelines in the manual ICR provided them and even went the extra mile.
Few on the committee knew each other beforehand and represented numerous churches. Chairman, Pastor Bob Wittstruck, personally influenced many other pastors to support the conference. Cochairman, Dr. Randy Galuizza, had already established a credible creation presence in the area, thus the ground was prepared.
Sometimes in more populated areas special events are commonplace. On any given weekend, there are a number of choices of seminars, concerts, ball games, etc. But in smaller, more rural areas, there's less competition.
Additionally, citizens of Rapid City are well aware of the creation/evolution battle. South Dakota Schools of Mines is nearby, and evolution teaching is painfully obvious. One student related a recent incident when her teacher challenged the class: "If your car breaks down, could you open the hood, step back 20 feet, throw a wrench at the engine, and fix your car? No. But what if you threw the wrench one million times. Chances are you'd fix it." Students long for serious science.
Fourth, families are strong in grass roots America. They drove from Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming to attend, bringing their children. One boy had invited his friend who related on Saturday how he had accepted Christ on Friday at the school assembly. Many testified how the BTG message of the authenticity of Scripture was just what their family and their area needed to hear.
Consider the following testimonies. "Thank you so much for your faithful work. This area really needed your message." "Thanks for giving our children Biblical teaching." "The entire seminar was awesome—and so encouraging to be bold for the Lord." "Years ago, your books were instrumental in my salvation. It was good to hear the message personally." "Thank you for helping so many people stand strong for God." "I am very impressed that professional scientists can be such strong Bible believers (and entertaining speakers). It strengthened my faith." "Come back to our area real soon."
Many in the area are now prepared to continue disseminating the message of Biblical accuracy and authority in the community and on campus. We look forward to seeing the long-range fruits of a surprise seminar!
* Dr. Morris is President of ICR.