Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by OCF Communications

“The Apostle Paul was required to make a hasty departure from the Thessalonian church as persecutions increased (1 Thessalonians 2:2),” said Bobbie Simpson, who serves with husband Larry as the Regional Coordinator Couple for the Pacific Northwest Region. “Though the church was fruitful and vibrant, he was deeply concerned that they continue to grow, flourish, and not be discouraged by his own hardships, [so] he sent Timothy (1 Thessalonians 3:1-3) to further establish and encourage the young church in their faith.”

Bobbie noted a similarity between the purpose and function of Timothy’s role in those passages from 1 Thessalonians and those of the Regional Coordinator role she and Larry fill.

“I see the role of Regional Coordinators as one of relationship building, encouraging, equipping, even revitalizing the fervor for ministry, and fellowship among OCF members,” Bobbie said, adding in the priorities of building relationships with chaplains and churches, too.

The Simpsons serve as Regional Coordinators alongside five other couples, comprising a small team of OCF staffers who each oversee a different portion of the map of OCF ministry.

The OCF Regional Coordinator Vision Statement makes their purpose clear: “The heart of this position is one of a shepherd who develops, grows, and sustains relationships with OCF members, chaplains, and ministry co-laborers. An RC is a catalyst advancing the Lord’s Kingdom via OCF.”

Likewise, the OCF Handbook explains the Regional Coordinator is “responsible for encouraging, equipping, and overseeing OCF Local Leaders, Contacts, and activities for a designated location.”

OCF Regional Coordinators currently include the following individuals at these respective regions:

  • CAPT Chris & Maggie Blake, USN (Ret.), OCF Southeast Region
  • CDR Joe & CDR Kristi Chiaravallotti, USN (Ret.), OCF Mid-Atlantic Region
  • COL Tim and Christine Hayes, USA, OCF Northeast Region (starting September 2024 after retiring from Army)
  • COL Steve & Miriam Shambach, USA (Ret.), OCF Mountain Central Region
  • Col Larry & Bobbie Simpson, USAF (Ret.), OCF Pacific Northwest Region
  • Col Hous & Tami Waring, USAF (Ret.), OCF Central Region

These six couples bring OCF’s ministry-wide priority to “expand and mature the Local Leader Network” to life, enabling the execution of this priority, prayerfully set by Council members and staff for the fiscal year.

Looking for RCs and ACs to join us: If you or someone you know are interested in filling one of the open Regional Coordinator roles or in becoming an Area Coordinator, reach out to LTC Colin Wooten, USA (Ret.), Director of Field Operations: [email protected].

“The regional coordinator network allows, in a much stronger way, OCF to further encourage those Local Leaders.”

—Col Chet Arnold, USMC (Ret.), and OCF Deputy Executive Director

The membership

Regional Coordinators Steve and Miriam Shambach said they ultimately serve as representatives of OCF on their travels to members, chaplains, para-church leaders, and ROTC units across their vast region.

“Our goal is to fan the flame of OCF fellowship and be the face of OCF within our Mountain Central Region,” said the Shambachs, who stepped into their role in August 2022. “We try to connect with members, encouraging them in their walks with God and in staying connected to the ministry, and we provide them with resources and educate them about what OCF has to offer them as they minister to the military in their locations.”

Col Scotty Nowlin, USAF (Ret.), and wife Joelyn are OCF Area Coordinators—another key part of the Local Leader Network. As Area Coordinators, the Nowlins are responsible for encouraging, equipping, and overseeing OCF Local Leaders, Contacts, and activities specifically within Northern Utah, which the Shambachs visited in late 2023.

“Here at the local level, we deeply appreciate the investment OCF is making in Regional Coordinators,” Scotty said, adding that the Shambachs’ visit helped to “re-establish relationships between OCF members and Hill AFB Chaplains and Chapel staff members, ROTC Unit members and leaders, and active duty and retired OCF Members and their families.”

In addition to establishing and maintaining relationships at the local level, Regional Coordinators also serve as a go-between for those across the region and the OCF staff.

“Being the ‘eyes and ears’ of OCF allows us to not only represent the members within our region, but we also are a link so that OCF staff can better support them as they integrate their faith with their profession, their families, and their communities,” the Shambachs said, adding that their own experiences in the military enhance their ability to relate to and to support the membership they serve.

Regional Coordinators often increase members’ and partners’ awareness of ministry opportunities. The Shambachs said they’ve observed that many members they meet do not know about the many resources available on the OCF website and that many retirees and former military do not know they can step into roles as mentors, ROTC volunteers, and more.

The Simpsons similarly said they as Regional Coordinators get to serve as a go-between for members at different corners of their expansive Pacific Northwest Region.

“For instance, when one location gets news of how another is growing and ministering, that may inspire new thoughts of how to engage in ministry at their own location,” the Simpsons said. “We have observed that simply showing up sends a message that ‘big OCF’ sees them, is concerned that they feel supported, and is grateful for their efforts to minister Christ to the military community.”

Within the OCF membership exists those who, per the OCF Handbook, “start, sustain, and hand off the baton of leadership for a specific OCF fellowship body”–Local Leaders.

“The regional coordinator network allows, in a much stronger way, OCF to further encourage those Local Leaders,” said Col Chet Arnold, USMC (Ret.), who once served as a Regional Coordinator for the Southeast Coastal Region before stepping into his current role as OCF’s Chief Operating Officer.

Chet said OCF’s conference centers, Spring Canyon (Buena Vista, Colo.) and White Sulphur Springs (Manns Choice, Pa.), seek to accomplish the same thing, but Regional Coordinators can go to Local Leaders and their Bible studies in ways the conference centers cannot.

As a Local Leader of many years himself, Chet said his knowledge of all OCF offered was once limited to Bible studies and White Sulphur Springs. Regional Coordinators can now ensure Local Leaders can, in Chet’s words, “plug into the broader view” of the ministry, creating a “more close-knit” OCF family.

Photo by Larry Simpson OCF Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator Larry Simpson speaks to participants of the monthly 12th MLR OCF faith and leadership study/lunch at Camp Hansen, Okinawa. Larry and his wife, Bobbie, also oversee the OCF Pacific Region, which includes portions of east Asia.

Photo by Larry Simpson

OCF Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator Larry Simpson speaks to participants of the monthly 12th MLR OCF faith and leadership study/lunch at Camp Hansen, Okinawa. Larry and his wife, Bobbie, also oversee the OCF Pacific Region, which includes portions of east Asia.

The chaplaincy

In addition to better equipping the OCF membership, Regional Coordinators seek to develop relationships with our military’s chaplains.

The Chiaravallottis began serving as Regional Coordinators for the Mid-Atlantic Region in October 2022. In an area where ages and stages of military service vary, Joe said he has observed a common eagerness to engage in fellowship and Bible study.

One such example is that of a Bible study that began at USCG Base Portsmouth in February 2024. Joe worked with Ch(Capt) Jadrian Haywood, USAFR, who is also a pastor at a local church in Suffolk, Va., as he also began to take on the role of OCF Local Leader by starting a weekly study on the intersection of faith, service, and life.

Nearly 200 miles north, MAJ Jane Baer, USAR (Ret.), serves as a Local Leader with her husband, COL Bob Baer, USA, in the Woodbridge, Va., area. Jane said the Regional Coordinators’ relationships with Local Leaders, like her and her husband’s with Joe and Kristi, strengthens ministry efforts at local and regional levels.

“We as Local Leaders are able to share our experiences in this particular region, our particular locale concerns (high number of retirees/low [active duty] participation), our input how best to support the Active Duty in this area, how to support Ft. Belvoir Chaplaincy and how to reshape OCF within this unique location with distinct challenges,” Jane said. “[Joe] is a sounding board for us as Local Leaders and values our opinions and experiences. He makes us feel as if we are not just ‘blowing in the wind’ as Local Leaders.”

Meanwhile, Kristi shared one of her favorite stories of seeing God at work in “totally unexpected” ways through their ministry as Regional Coordinators.

When getting introduced to a mutual OCF friend, Amy, for coffee in early 2024, Amy brought along another recent connection who is a chaplain’s spouse, Lindsay, who had recently moved from Guam. What Kristi expected to be a short chat over coffee among these three women who had never met each other turned into three hours of “great conversation” and the start of new friendships.

“To have the chaplain’s spouse there was just a really sweet thing… and [she] is so much looking forward to her family now getting connected with White Sulphur Springs,” Kristi said.

The ministry co-laborers

Joe also shared stories of multi-ministry collaboration and examples of “God’s divine providence” within his and Kristi’s region, such as that of a discouraged lance corporal in Washington, D.C., who was seeking fellowship and reached out to Maj Tim Tormey, USMC (Ret.), the OCF Field Staff Rep at Maxwell-Gunter AFB.

Tim connected the lance corporal with Joe and LtCol Mike West, USMC (Ret.), the director of Tun Tavern Fellowship, a military ministry and network for Christians specifically in the Marine Corps.

Joe and Mike ultimately were able to get the lance corporal connected with SgtMaj Jesse Dorsey, USMC, who ended up meeting with and encouraging the lance corporal.

“That is the reward of seeing God work in ministry,” Joe said, echoing OCF’s desire to partner with other like-minded ministries, “and this exemplifies that.”

COL Keith Morgan, USA (Ret.), now serves as the director of the National Capital Region for Cru Military. His partnership with the Chiaravallottis is just one of many personal examples of the organizational partnership between Cru Military and OCF.

“Not only is [Joe] a team player; he’s also a ministry force multiplier,” Keith said. “Eager to support and partner with me as I serve with Cru Military, he’s been a great encouragement as we have sought to work together in connecting with military chaplains on bases around the National Capital Region.”

Get involved

Jane encouraged members and Local Leaders alike to reach out to their respective Regional Coordinator to share any concerns regarding OCF’s mission, to ask for guidance, and to seek prayer and support.

“Local Leaders should ask if the RC might be able to attend a [local] picnic, fellowship, or study to get a feel for the locale,” Jane said. “And also ask the RC to relay those concerns to the OCF President and Council to give a better picture of the challenges, concerns, best practices, etc. for locales within the region.”

With a couple of Regional Coordinator openings waiting to be filled (Southwest, Europe, and possibly upper Midwest), Chet encouraged OCF members to pray for, and perhaps even consider filling, those vacancies.

“Thank God for what he’s done, pray for wisdom and being a part of what God wants to continue to do, and consider how you might be a part of it—if not today, maybe in the future,” Chet said.