Celebrating OC’s 60th year as an organization spanned all of 2012 and culminated in five celebration dinners. Each dinner was held at a partnering church to celebrate the Lord’s work throughout the nations and the role the Lord gave OC in that work. The theme throughout the year was Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Present and Envisioning the Future.
Celebrating the Past
With only three mission worker couples, a shoebox full of donor information, and a vision to reach the entire nation of Taiwan, Formosa Gospel Crusades began in 1952. By God’s grace, it has now grown into One Challenge: 10 mobilization centers, 34 countries with resident mission workers, 74 teams and 675 ministry staff, 60% of which is non-US personnel. Despite the name changes, OC has held fast to the vision of its founder Dr. Dick Hillis by working as the entire body of Christ, partnering alongside the local church and evangelical leaders to reach entire nations. OC’s distinctives are the bonds that connect each mobilization center in 10 countries worldwide along with values of family, team, and innovation.
OC has a rich history and throughout its 60-year existence it is easy to see the hand of the Holy Spirit guiding the leadership of the organization as well as its ministry staff. In a message founder Dick Hillis delivered in 1982, featured at the celebration banquets, he highlighted how OC’s expansion always grew out of invitations and continued prayer. Expanding from Taiwan to other countries in Southeast Asia, to Latin America, to Europe, to Africa and beyond, all came about because of a commitment to prayer and local leaders inviting OC to partner alongside them in their ministry. In fact, the formation of Formosa Gospel Crusades (OC’s original name) came about because of an invitation from Madame Chiang Kai-shek for harvesters to witness to the defeated armies of Formosa. Laid on a foundation of prayer and a following of God’s plan, OC has become the organization that it is today.
Embracing the Present
Over the past ten years there have been 300 million people who have given their lives to Christ. Of that, 290 million live in the Global South – in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Despite these growing numbers, only 8% of the world’s population is evangelical. There are 2 billion people in the world today that have no access to the gospel in a way that is understandable to them. In addition to these staggering numbers, 86% of all Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists do not know a Christian personally. Yet, the Great Commission continues. OC has had the privilege to be on the cutting edge of the Lord’s harvest around the globe. Vice President of Fields, Dean Carlson, is confident in the role OC has to play in working to reach the world for the Gospel. “The Lord has raised up OC for such a time as this to come alongside national movements for church planting and leadership development. To see the number of godly and effective leaders reproduced that can not only begin and continue to multiply churches throughout every sector and every geographic place, every strata of society of their nation but to embrace a vision that goes beyond their own borders,” Dean said in a recent interview.
This is just one phase of God’s work being done throughout the world. There is also a sense of “deprofessionalization” of missions. God is raising people up to work bi-vocationally in other cultures, using the gifts and talents God has given them to take the gospel where it has never been before, Dean said. OC continues to believe in the power of partnership and has had the opportunity to partner with church planting initiatives in Madagascar, Mongolia, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and other countries where churches are scarce. The leadership of the US-MC, as well as the other nine mobilization centers in the Global Alliance will follow the Spirit’s leading to see the Great Commission fulfilled.
Envisioning the Future
As unprecedented opportunities for sharing the Gospel present themselves, OC is committed to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in all decision-making matters. With the continued growth of the mission world force, three-fourths of today’s missions force is from the Global South creating more multi-cultural teams and collaborative efforts. OC intends to remain adaptable and alert to new developments and opportunities to reach the remaining 7100 unreached people groups. The internationalization process presents new challenges for mission workers from any culture, but the increased hope is that together we will follow God’s call and become the world reaching the world.
Celebration Banquets Slideshow
Were you able to attend one of our 5 OC celebration banquets in Colorado, Oregon, and California? Well, we saved some photos and video of the event to share with you. You can check out this slideshow to see highlights from the events, set to an original song by OC’s Jeff Boesel. Go to the photo blog here.
God has blessed and used OC International around the world over the past 60 years. So this year we took time to celebrate the great works of the Lord, together remembering Him and what He has done.