by Col Mike Martin, USAF (Ret.)
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Since an Air Force officer may pass through Maxwell as many as four times in a career, OCF leaders here thought it would be good to personally visit each Academy graduating class and let the “firsties” know what to expect from OCF at Maxwell.
I was asked to speak to three issues: What should cadets expect from OCF during an Air Force career? What specifically does the OCF ministry at Maxwell AFB look like? And, What is the best way to link up with a military chapel/local church while progressing through Air Force assignments?
I began my time with the cadets by asking them to describe their OCF experience at the Academy. What were the key elements of the ministry? Their responses included outstanding Christian role models, wonderful fellowship and worship, solid Bible study and prayer times, meaningful one-on-one discipleship, inspiring retreats at Spring Canyon, strong Christian relationships, great food, and Rocky Mountain High. Clearly, these cadets had a great first experience with OCF!
Then I asked them the same two questions I ask each new class of students at Maxwell:
1) What would happen if every flight commander, every squadron commander, every wing commander were “on fire” for the Lord Jesus? What would your Air Force look like?
2) How are you going to make a Kingdom difference during your career? OCF can be a key to answering that question. Upon commissioning from an Academy, ROTC or Officer Training School, check the leader list on the OCF website and link up with the OCF leader at your new duty station. If there is no OCF leader shown at the base to which you are being assigned, the home office can provide a list of OCF members in the area. Perhaps they can put you in contact with an ongoing study.
If there is no OCF study, ask God if you should start one. A wealth of “user friendly” Bible study material is available on the OCF website.The point–stay connected with OCF. Don’t wait for someone to contact you. Be a leader who will make a Kingdom difference.
Now, what can you expect from OCF at Maxwell? We see Maxwell as a spiritual “touchpoint.” Our ministry hope is reflected in this slogan: Touch people’s lives…Grow them deep…Commission them for service
Active OCF Bible study groups exist at each of the professional military school here, and several evening Bible study groups meet on base and across the area. A vibrant partnership exists between OCF and the Maxwell/Gunter Chapel community. Here are six themes we hope to reinforce during your time with us and the end state we hope to achieve:
Spiritual development An individual who is being transformed into the image of Christ and developing a right relationship with God and an understanding of the fundamentals and disciplines of the Christian faith. (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Peter 1:13-16)
Family An individual whose family models biblical marriage and parenthood and who can teach and equip others to do the same in the military. (1 Timothy 3:4-5, Titus 1:6)
Leadership An individual who is motivated and equipped to exercise biblical leadership in his or her personal, professional, and spiritual life in order to integrate faith and profession. (Joshua 1:8-9, 2 Chronicles 1:10)
Stewardship An individual who demonstrates proper balance in his or her stewardship of resources. (1 Corinthians 4:2, Luke 16:11)
Outreach An individual who can carry the gospel message through the medium of ordinary relationships within the military community. (Romans 1:16-17, 1 Peter 3:15-16)
Ownership (Ministry) An appreciation for and a commitment to the OCF vision, purpose, and mission. (Ephesians 4:11-13, Colossians 3:23, Acts 4:13)
Air Force Academy “firsties” sometimes ask: “Why should I have to attend the Basic Course at Maxwell? It just rehashes what I’ve spent four years learning.” Not true! You will build relationships that will last throughout your career, and for the last two weeks of the course, you will interact with NCOs from the Senior NCO Academy.
Perhaps the right questions are: “Lord, what is it that You want to teach me while I’m at ASBC? Lord, to whom do You want me to minister while I’m here?”
We will provide opportunities for spiritual growth through Bible study and one-on-one mentoring. You will learn that you and your family can serve as Christians in the military, and you will develop and understand the importance of a biblical family in military leadership. You will begin to develop an understanding of servant leadership (to serve versus be served). One lieutenant visited colleges within 100 miles and helped establish OCF groups at those schools. Others have discipled new believers. Still others have joined our chapel choirs and praise bands.
Whatever ministry the Lord has for you, become a part of our OCF/base chapel team. Our vision of a spiritually transformed military is the chaplain’s vision, too, and your leadership and skills will be a great help to them. Chaplains don’t have elders. They don’t have deacons. They often don’t have worship leaders. Your willingness to employ your talents are needed.
Prayer is the key. Ask the Lord what He would have you do.