“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
Supporting the Chaplaincy. We encourage OCF members to know their chaplain(s), serve as volunteers, be the hands and feet of spiritual resilience within the military community, and champion the roles of the chaplaincy.
—Ch. 3, The Ministry Pillars of OCF, the OCF Handbook
If there’s one thing the ministry of OCF emphasizes most to its members, it’s that their service in the U.S. Armed Forces is beyond a duty, job, or career. It’s a calling—a very privileged one at that. The Commander in Chief of the universe has called His people in military uniform, as OCF expresses it, to “be the hands and feet of spiritual resilience” in the vast mission field known as military community.
Supporting the chaplaincy is one of the pillars OCF is known for championing. As delineated in the recently published OCF Handbook, in supporting the chaplaincy OCF is “making a statement about the critical nature of the free exercise of religion for the entire military community.” Through the office of the chaplaincy, the United States of America assigns “professionals to ensure religious accommodation without mandating denomination, creed, or spiritual allegiance.” It’s the chaplains who are charged by our nation “to advocate for free exercise of religion and freedom of speech.”
This month, it is against that backdrop that Clergy Appreciation Month provides a particular poignancy in OCF circles to “be the hands and feet of spiritual resilience” to the chaplains of the military community, and especially to Christlike chaplains. Supporting the chaplaincy is outside of agreeing theologically with chaplains since they remain responsible for implementing the commander’s religious program. As the OCF Handbook states, “We can hold fast to faith in Christ alone while simultaneously loving every chaplain.” Regardless of the ways to reach out to chaplains—meet and check in with them, invite them out for coffee, or to visit your unit or Bible study—praying for and with them is powerful kingdom work.
Chaplains bear a tremendous weight in caring for the spiritual and moral well-being of service members and their families in a unique lifestyle that includes frequent moves, deployment, and combat stress. There are doors of great opportunity for God to be glorified as OCFers step out to support the chaplaincy by reaching out to their chaplains, especially chaplains who are their fellow Christ followers. Christian chaplains need Christian laborers alongside them.
Taught as a cadet by an OCF mentor to reach out to chaplains, Hous Waring, OCF Director of Field Engagement, stopped by the chaplain’s office after arriving at his first assignment. “Before departing, I asked the chaplain if I could pray for him. He wept as he told me no one had ever come into his office and asked to pray for him,” said Waring.
Thank you for being an OCF prayer warrior. Pray daily for our chaplains. How can we pray for you?