Effective OCF Fellowships
A fellowship is effective when the leader understands and conducts the ministry in accordance with the OCF Purpose.
The Purpose of OCF is to glorify God by uniting Christian officers for fellowship and outreach, encouraging and equipping them for effective ministries within the entire military society.
The ministry philosophy of OCF, which constitutes its uniqueness, is to help believers in the military realize their biblical mandate to be involved in ministry to their own community (the lay-indigenous element).
These believers work and gather together at a particular installation to exalt Jesus Christ, to encourage one another, to do the work of evangelism and to be equipped for further ministry.
The specific direction of the local OCF fellowship is understood through the regular use of Pray and Obey (more comments later), within the general guidance given by the Purpose and Vision Statements.
The leader is an OCF member.
OCF does not require people who attend OCF Bible studies to be members of OCF. That is because we desire to use the Bible study for outreach. However, it is very important to us that the leader of the local fellowship (i.e., the Local Representative, not necessarily the weekly Bible study leader) be an OCF member.
This is important for a couple of significant reasons.
- First, it is a matter of consistency for people in the local fellowship. A leader who is an OCF member is more likely to be leading the group in step with our Purpose, Vision and ministry philosophy because of the materials we will have sent out.
- Second, by being a member and on our regular mailing list, the leader is aware of current OCF activities which can be supported by prayer, emphasized and advertised within the local fellowship for their participation. To join OCF, you must fill out the application, which can be found on the brochure Heartbeat of OCF, sign it and mail it to the home office.
The leaders utilize "Pray and Obey" regularly.
Pray and Obey is the key decision making tool for the local leader as he/she makes decisions regarding the direction of the local fellowship. It should be just as fundamental to OCF as is the local Bible Study.
It is a necessary activity because the local fellowship is largely autonomous due to our belief in the lay ministry principle.
Pray and Obey is both a principle and a process. The principle is that we want our people to be prepared to hear from God before they begin to make plans. That "attuned to God" attitude should continue throughout the process.
The process is quite simple and has three parts: Prayer--Desiring God's Will; Discover--Discerning God's Will; and Obedience--Doing God's Will. The whole process is really worship, because it acknowledges the centrality of God in our everyday lives. It will likely include praise, but the high water mark of worship is obedience.
As our Field Staff visit and encourage you they should be able to inquire about your last Pray and Obey and how they can support, assist, and pray for you. Pray and Obey and the Leader's Guide are both available for your use.
Maintain contact with the OCF office.
As a leader, we will need you to stay in contact with us for several reasons. First, we want you to feel free to ask for prayer from us.
As appropriate, we can either place a prayer request in our Power in Prayer or hold it for our daily prayer and devotions in the office. Additionally, updates are always appreciated. We want to hear from you. We are encouraged; we learn from you; we can offer advice.
Finally, we need you to keep us updated on changes in rank, address, phone numbers and meeting times. This information is the backbone of our link-up network. Because of this, it is imperative that you inform us of your replacement when a change occurs.
Establish and maintain contact with Chaplains.
OCF acknowledges the role of the chaplaincy for good in the military and recognizes the properness of the chaplains overseeing the Command Religious Program. We are very willing to come under their umbrella, both for their good and for ours.
At a minimum, we expect that this relationship will at least be professional--communicating and coordinating OCF and chapel activities. We hope that this relationship will go much further--becoming one of true partners in ministry and perhaps even the forming of genuine friendships. While chapel attendance is a related issue, it is not the primary issue here.
OCF realizes that there may be some awkward situations due to theological issues or even past experiences. These can be properly dealt with, we believe, within the context of the stated position and without compromise. Talk with the chaplains to find out where the proper channels of communication need to be and find a chaplain with whom you can work well.
It is important the local OCF leader meet at least initially with the installation or base chaplain. Even though you may have a wonderful relationship with your unit or sponsoring chaplain, if you slight the base chaplain you can seriously damage your relationship. This applies regardless the faith group of the senior chaplain.
Have an "OCF Minute" regularly.
This element has to do with OCF visibility and the communication of helpful information to participants in the local fellowship, many of whom may not be OCF members and, therefore, outside the regular flow of information.
The most natural way to accomplish this is within the life of the small group. Perhaps weekly--at least, once a month--you or another appropriate person can share about one of the programs or services that OCF offers. A regular email updating you can be requested from the Home Office.
The OCF Minute also is a good opportunity to emphasize points of the Purpose or Pillars. We have published many good articles and publications on these subjects.
Be alert to other avenues in which to appropriately "fly the OCF flag." Remember, it doesn't fly in the preeminent position, but neither should it be forgotten.