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Last Updated on March 10, 2023 by OCF Communications

A gathering of OCF Local Leaders–and those interested in becoming Local Leaders–who seek to develop a vision for grassroots ministry by studying the Word, praying together, and sharing lessons learned with peers.

To reach a dispersed and transient military community scattered across 4,800 locations in 160 countries, OCF makes an impact by engaging military leaders in biblical fellowship through small groups, all led by Local Leaders. As Local Leaders around the world pursue the same vision of seeing the military community impacted through Christlike leaders, it’s vital to set aside time to come together, encourage and equip one another, and be refreshed to go back to local ministries.

To that end, OCF will host its annual Local Leader Conference, an interactive, workshop-based weekend in which attendees are participants, not just recipients. Plenary sessions, led by OCF Director of Field Engagement Hous Waring, and a variety of practical workshops will enable Local Leaders–and those interested in becoming Local Leaders–to develop a vision for grassroots ministry.

For the first time ever, OCF’s two conference centers are hosting this event simultaneously, enabling real-time interaction among conference participants across the country. Visit White Sulphur Springs’ and Spring Canyon’s event pages to learn more about the workshops in store and register to attend at one of these two locations. Childcare will be provided at both conference centers.

Conference details at White Sulphur Springs:

  • Servant Leadership as a Local Leader” with LTC Greg Lane, USAR (Ret.), Local Leader at Austin Peay State University: Using the example of Jesus Christ and Biblical principles given throughout Scripture, we can become the servant-leaders God intends us to be. This session is an introduction and overview of what Christ modeled and key Biblical passages addressing servant-leadership. The session will include exploration of key components such as humility, integrity, pursuit of holiness, and courage.
  • State of the Mid-Atlantic OCF” with CDR Joe Chiaravallotti, USN (Ret.), Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator: In this workshop we will review the current state and force laydown of OCF in the Mid-Atlantic, discuss upcoming initiatives centered on Local Leaders and Area Coordinators, have a free and open discussion on current issues and challenges being faced, and gather input on how to improve the OCF ministry to the military community at the local level.
  • Panel Discussion: Religious Rights of those in Uniform” featuring Lt Col Michael Berry, USMCR, of First Liberty Institute, and COL Tim Hayes, Jr., USA, Contact at Fort Belvoir
  • Plenary Sessions: “The Call to Military Ministry” and “The OCF Way” with Col Hous Waring, USAF (Ret.) and Col Scott Fisher, USAF (Ret.)

Conference details at Spring Canyon:

  • Foundations of Resilience” with Col Tim Hale, USAF (Ret.), Area Coordinator for Oklahoma, Sheppard AFB, and McConnell AFB: “Resilience” is a hot term in today’s world. Both secular and Biblical scholars are studying and writing volumes about key factors affecting how individuals, families, and teams of all kinds can “bounce back” after experiencing tough times. Some experiences may be so extreme as to be defined as trauma. The Bible gives us many examples of people who demonstrate the keys to becoming resilient. Christ and his Word are the key factors in developing resilience. Therefore, if we want to help our military community be resilient, we need strong local groups to foster in-depth Bible studies, and encourage strong scriptural fellowship. To develop lifelong resilience, we need to encourage strong mentoring relationships modeled upon Paul, Barnabas and Timothy.
  • Ministering Effectively in the Military Community” with Lt Col Tom Falconer, USAF (Ret.), Area Coordinator for Colorado Springs: OCFers have always been great at “uniting in fellowship,” but we have not consistently emphasized nor executed the “ministering effectively in the military society” part very well. Most of us probably see this as a scary minefield to avoid at all costs. But remember, as leaders we have a responsibility to identify and resource the needs of all our troops, in every area of their lives in uniform, to include their spiritual needs…without proselytizing. This session will recast the vision of this vital aspect of our ministry purpose. We will also discuss how to confidently navigate to our destination of effective ministry to those in uniform…not bypassing the flock God has given us to tend: those in our day-to-day military workplace with our subordinates, co-workers, peers and seniors.
  • How OCF Regional Coordinators Can Support the Effectiveness of the OCF Mission” with COL Steve & Miriam Shambach, USA (Ret.), Mountain/Central Regional Coordinators: This open forum conversation will explain what an OCF Regional Coordinator does and is responsible for. We will discuss ways a Regional Coordinator can support OCF Local Leaders, Bible Study Leaders, and Members to improve the effectiveness of OCF to accomplish its mission in a given area or region.
  • Plenary Sessions: “The Call to Military Ministry” and “The OCF Way” with Col Hous Waring, USAF (Ret.) and Col Scott Fisher, USAF (Ret.)

What others are saying about the OCF Local Leader Conference:

“The connections I made at the Local Leader Conference have proven invaluable resources, helping me with everything from what worked for them leading studies and how they make their groups more of a community to praying for me in tough seasons where I felt like no matter what I was doing I was failing God. It can be easy as a Local Leader to struggle with and neglect our own walk with God. So much of being a Local Leader is pouring out, but it’s important to take time to make sure we’re right with God; this provides such a great environment to do that. You’re surrounded by other believers, and the speakers are truly great. It was a wonderful experience.”

-ENS Sean B. Bauld, USN

“I attended the Local Leader Conference because I wanted to learn how to go about forming a new OCF community, given the fact there may not always be a group established. While learning about that, I also got to see the broader vision for OCF and the tools OCF has available to help the local communities.”

-LTJG John L. Benton, Jr., USCG

“As a Local Leader and an Area Coordinator in the NCR, I attended every Local Leader Conference at White Sulphur Springs since they started, and I truly valued each one. I have found that they are not only a way to gain knowledge, but more importantly for me, a great opportunity for fellowship with other Local Leaders, sharing experiences and encouraging each other in our ministries. I have left every Local Leader Conference refreshed, energized, and smarter than when I arrived.”

-CDR Joe Chiaravallotti, USN (Ret.)

“I highly encourage new(er) OCF members, or members who may have been away from an OCF leadership position for a bit to use the Local Leader Conference to fully re-connect. The conference and the fellowship will impact how your local group can and will be able to listen to how the Lord wants to use your local ministry group to reach and impact the military community for Christ.

-Col Tim Hale, USAF (Ret.)

“We really wanted to see how our group fit into the greater OCF organization and to be able to encourage our local fellowship. It’s so encouraging to hear about other couples who are leading Bible studies in their homes and see how God is moving in His kingdom. Attending the conference helped us to see how our OCF study could reach military members in our church, in our neighborhood, and at work.”

-LT & Mrs. Will Parker, USN

“The Local Leader Conference was a great chance to reconnect with fellow believers in the area who share a heart for the military community. We left with a revived sense of appreciation for OCF’s niche and new friendships in ‘Team Jesus’!”

-Lt Col Kate Toms, USAF

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