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Falls Challenges Students to Love and Serve the Broken During Nov. 3 Chapel

November 3, 2021

Dr. Emerson Falls, Native American ministry partner for Oklahoma Baptists, delivered the OBU chapel message Nov. 3 in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. He spoke about Jesus seeing, recognizing and having compassion on broken people in the world.

Falls is a Native American from the Sac and Fox and Choctaw tribes. He is a graduate of Golden Gate Theological Seminary, having earned both a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry. In addition, he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from OBU in 2014. He has served as pastor of churches in California, Arizona and Oklahoma. He has previously spoken in OBU chapel services on multiple occasions through the years, most recently in 2018.

Falls was the founding director of Golden Gate Seminary’s Rocky Mountain Campus in Denver, Colorado. He also served as president of Cook College and Theological School in Tempe, Arizona. In 2009, he was elected as the first Native American to serve as president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He now serves as director of the Native American track of the Robert Haskins School of Christian Ministry.

Falls taught from Matthew 9:35-38, where Jesus tells his disciples that although the harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few.

“As I read this, the first thing it tells me is that we cannot and we must not neglect the brokenness that’s in the world,” Falls said.

“When Jesus saw the brokenness…he hurt in his innermost being,” he said. “When someone that we know is hurting, we hurt.”

He explained that this hurt came in the form of compassion, which is what Jesus felt when he saw the multitudes and it compelled him to act.

Despite all the good things that he’s seen the church do, Falls commented, “What I don’t see is a lot of people hurting because of the brokenness in our communities.” 

“I think we can spend so much time doing church work that we neglect the work of the church,” he noted. “There’s a difference.”

He then challenged the audience to look outside the four walls of the church, to the hurting and broken all around us, and to serve them in love.

“We will never feel compassion until we see the brokenness and we will never see brokenness from inside the walls of our church building,” he said.