CONNECTING FOR FELLOWSHIP
Our primary tool for OCF members to find fellowship is the OCF Directory (ocfusa.org/directory). This Directory is useful only if our members keep fellowship opportunities visible and up to date. Please add the OCF Directory to your temporary duty/transition/moving checklist (update listings, remove old listings, or publish a new listing). Transitions are also a good time to share your new mailing address and other updates such as rank or marital status with OCF (ocfusa.org/update).
THE OCF DIRECTORY IN ACTION
The OCF Directory has a very specific purpose: It is for you to find other members so that you stay connected in Christian fellowship during TDY/TAD visits, seek lodging when traveling, and jump right into an OCF group at new assignments. It is used by OCF staff and volunteers to help initiate linkups and handoffs for anyone who wants help answering the question, “Is there fellowship at a specific location?”
Our OCF Directory page is arranged by state and country (List, Grid, or Map view). The Directory entries list the roles of our volunteers (Local Leader, Contact, Hospitality Home, etc.), their contact information, and often the day, time, and unique details of the specific location. The OCF Directory is your first stop to connect you with a person, group, or Hospitality Home wherever you go.
Don’t miss the opportunity to stay encouraged and connected during a TDY/TAD, deployment, or PCS. Your spiritual health and resilience are bolstered by connecting with the larger OCF body. Not only will it benefit your spiritual growth, but it should also benefit the OCF believers with whom you connect. (They list themselves with the hope God will use them, so it is a HUGE blessing when you reach out.) Use email, text, or video to introduce yourself to others in order to help speed up the sense of welcome before you arrive.
BECOMING VISIBLE (BE FINDABLE)
We need you to help new arrivals find fellowship, to feel welcome, and to know they are part of the family. This requires being visible and thus “findable.” Think of being visible in the Directory as if you are providing a standing invitation for OCF family members to come visit you for fellowship (you do not want to miss their visit). Pray about whether to list yourself, asking God if He will give you the time and energy to welcome people.
Listing yourself in the OCF Directory should not be done by your own strength and wisdom, because we know the pace of life does not give “enough time” for all you want to do—so pray first. God may help you realize that being busy is simply normal, and that you cannot “wait until” some future item is checked off your to-do list before jumping into action. We encourage you to get in fellowship before the boxes are unpacked, the job is settled, or the children are in school. If there is no OCF Directory listing at your location, please pray about making yourself visible.
Once you are ready to be visible in the OCF Directory, please navigate to the “List Me” form on OCF’s website (ocfusa.org/list-me). If you are not yet an OCF member, first navigate to “Join,” then come back to the “List Me” drop-down menu since only OCF members are listed in the Directory. Note that a new “List Me” form is required for every role, because different information is displayed for different types of listings. For example, you can be both an OCF Contact and provide an OCF Hospitality Home, but they require different information in each form.
TRAVEL AND PCS OPPORTUNITIES:
CONNECT (LINK UP) AND HAND OFF
Biblical encouragement should go wherever OCF members travel. When you are in a new place, seek out local OCF fellowship, whether for Bible study or to meet a local leader over coffee. Don’t be shy about telling them what is happening in your OCF body back home so they can be encouraged by hearing about what you share. The same should happen when you return home—tell your home group what God did while you were away from them. It is so good to hear testimony of God’s work in the lives of His people around the world!
An OCF Directory linkup occurs when you help connect traveling or moving members to an OCF leader or contact in the new location. For deployment linkups, call (800) 424-1984 if there is no public listing. Connect yourself, or your friends, to fellowship by finding who to email/text at the destination installation, city, or country. A good method of connecting members to each other is to text or use video as a means of introduction. The advantage of a video introduction is that it provides a familiar face upon arrival. The Directory may indicate the day, time, and approximate location of a group’s meeting. If there is no OCF Contact or Leader listed in the directory, contact an OCF staff member or call the OCF Home Office at (800) 424-1984. Remember, friends don’t let friends travel without an OCF linkup.
Since the OCF Directory is the primary way members connect with other members for fellowship, we need persistent help keeping it accurate and up to date. Notify the Home Office (ocfusa.org/list-me) when you need to update your personal Directory listing. If you discover an error, you may also call (800) 424-1984. Let us know if you send an email and/or text to a Local Leader/Contact/Hospitality Home and do not hear back from them. Try a second contact using another means if possible, and if that still doesn’t work, please let us know that the Directory has a Local Leader/Contact/Hospitality Home who could not be reached. Our Local Leaders get deployed or move, and we need to know when a listing is no longer current. Don’t hesitate to share thoughts, experiences, prayer requests, and insights after using the OCF Directory.
The success or failure of OCF continuity hangs largely on the way the current Local Leader executes a “baton pass.” Successful hand-offs keep the member-led nature and character of our fellowship alive and our OCF Directory up to date. No one knows what is happening in the field like those who are in the field.