C: Starting an OCF Fellowship

Download the Handbook

Get a PDF of the entire OCF Handbook, including all chapters and appendices.

Listen to the Handbook

The OCF Handbook is available for free on Audible. If your favorite audio player isn't listed, just paste the Handbook RSS feed URL into your favorite app:


  • Apple Podcasts logo button
  • Spotify logo button
  • Amazon Music

1. Use the Pray-Discover-Obey process to initiate an OCF fellowship. 

     a. Search the OCF Directory for fellow OCFers in the area

     b. Ask the OCF Home Office about who is nearby. 

     c. Ask God for wisdom, help, and partners so that you don’t work in your own strength. Once convinced that you should start an OCF gathering, pray about who to invite, what to study, when to meet, and where to meet. 

     d. Review OCF’s Purpose, Mission, and Pillars to remind yourself of why we gather in regular prayer, Bible study, and life-on-life conversations.

2. Find a co-laborer. It may be your spouse, a friend, or another couple. 

     a. Workplace study: Seek out a like-minded Christian co-worker. 

     b. If your find no one locally, then recruit a friend or OCF member to join you using video, or similar technology, so that you can pray and plan together.

3. Coordinate with the chaplain(s) and local church. 

     a. Seek their counsel, let them know your vision, ask for help advertising the group, or simply give them your contact information to share with those who might be looking for a Bible study. Ask how they would like to be kept informed as the weeks and months unfold.

     b. Share your thoughts and vision with your local church leadership. Seek their prayerful support.

4. Invite initial participants. Be visible to those you hope to join you. 

     a. Write down names for personal invitations.

     b. Use a group text, email, or social media message. 

     c. Make yourself visible on the OCF Directory (Use the “List Me” form at ocfusa.org/list-me). 

     d. Use various skills and abilities. Ask for help with social/fun event coordinator, musician, administrative email/messaging person, child care coordinator, or social media person.

     e. Seek a consistent meeting location such as a house, chapel, or church central to where people live.

5. Prepare. The core element of the OCF small group is the study of the Bible. 

     a. Prepare your heart, your mind, and your meeting location. Maximize prior personal study and prayer.

6. Rest. OCF fellowship is about God’s work through faithful stewards.

     a. Learn to be still in your heart and rejoice in what God is doing. He will accomplish His work through your faithful preparation and execution.

     b. Guard against your own perception of success or failure. Your identity is as a securely loved and accepted son or daughter of God.

7. Learn from the gathering. 

     a. Ask about effectiveness, focus, and purpose every quarter or so.

     b. Discuss meeting location, time, durations, child care, food, etc. using a short PDO-type format.

8. Consider when to multiply. OCF groups with uniformed personnel can accept larger-than-normal group size because exercises, field operations, TDY/TADs, and deployments may cause unpredictable attendance. Stable groups that grow can be ready to multiply and expand their outreach by meeting in different neighborhoods or on different days/times of the week.