What Works for New Officers?

Ten Habits of Highly Effective Second Lieutenants and Ensigns

by LTC J. Randy Carey, USA (Ret.)

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1. Seek FELLOWSHIP with other Christians. Without fellowship you become a lone ranger and are in danger of becoming extinct. Your light will go out. Seek a local OCF representative. (See your chaplain's bulletin board.)

Before you head to your first assignment, call OCF at 1-800-424-1984 so you can contact an officer who is an OCF member where you are going.

2. Do not forsake ACCOUNTABILITY. You are known by the company you keep. Find a brother or sister in Christ and keep each other walking the talk. Go to your chaplain and ask where the Bible studies are being held.

TIP: Seek out someone who will hold you accountable.

3. Decide now WHOM YOU WILL SERVE (Josh. 24:15). Will it be the Lord or yourself? Why are you in the military? Have you ever thought of yourself as a highly paid missionary?

TIP: Be the thermostat and not the thermometer. Effect your environment-don't let it affect you.

4. If you get to your unit and can't find a BIBLE STUDY, start one! See whom the Lord sends your way. Get support from your chaplains. Ask for their advice; they may even be able to buy study guides for your group. Start with an interesting study in which all can participate, like Luke or Philippians. Ask others for help. Make it fun, avoid controversial issues, and focus on simple truths for effective Christian living. Include prayer and praise.

TIP: You can facilitate a study with those who are of higher rank than you. Just stay disciplined, and keep it professional (2 Tim 3:16, 17).

5. Set a GOOD EXAMPLE morally. Live in a way that is right. Treat people fairly, give respect to everyone, and listen to all ranks carefully.

TIP: Improper language doesn't cut it. What we say is what we are. Jesus talked about this in Matthew 12:34-37. Unless someone holds you accountable, you will pick up words you wish you hadn't.

6. As a leader, PRAY DAILY, especially for wisdom (Phil. 4:6,7). Often we pray in a reactive sense instead of a preparatory sense. It doesn't have to be formal or even done in private. Let God speak to you, cry out to Him, be honest, admit weakness, and plead for help (1 Thess. 5:17, Rom. 8:26).

TIP: Set aside specific time to pray for coworkers, commanders, subordinates, and issues.

7. KNOW and DO your job well. Only then will you earn the respect of your peers and the right to be heard (Col. 3:23, 24). Be reliable and take the initiative when opportunity arises.

TIP: Avoid complaining. A common tendency in any workplace is to complain. Do your job as unto the Lord (Phil. 2:14, 4:11).

8. Decide now what kind of SPIRITUAL COMMITMENT you will require of a future mate. Will he or she have the same vision for ministry as you? After coming to know Christ, choosing a mate is the most important decision you will ever make.

TIP: Trust God that He will give you the right mate. Just because you find a Christian doesn't necessarily mean he/she will be like-minded or share the same vision for the Lord that you have (2 Cor. 6:14).

9. Watch your ENTERTAINMENT choices (Col. 3:2). The purpose of life is not to "get stuff and have fun." It is rather to serve Christ. We need godly Christian men and women serving in our Armed Forces.

TIP: Don't feed your face until you feed your soul. God's Word will kindle a prayer response (Acts 17:11).

10. If all else fails, rest in the knowledge that GOD IS FAITHFUL. Think of all the times when He has carried you through a situation and you didn't realize it until later.

TIP: In faith you will learn to be certain of what you do not see. Trust Him. Rely on Him (Phil. 4:4, Heb. 4:1-3).