From a current LCMS youth worker about her experience with OAFC -
“For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” – Matthew 10:20
As an extremely introverted teen, I had a difficult enough time speaking with people I knew without feeling awkward and a little silly. That’s why, when I first heard from my parents that they’d signed me up to take part in a day of door to door witnessing to complete strangers with a visiting church group I’d never heard of, I knew they’d lost their minds. “Just try it, you might like it,” they told me. Yeah, right.
If you had told me then that my time spent with that group, the Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ, would represent some of my most exciting and rewarding experiences in both my youth and life as a whole, I would have thought you were the crazy one. That’s precisely the impact the OAFC ministry had on me, and it’s positively affected the way I feel about witnessing to friends and strangers, even to this day.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with OAFC, they are a national organization with a strong focus on teaching youth how to witness to others, and helping to give them opportunities to put those skills into practice. Their message is that which is found in John 3:16, which also happens to be one of the most basic but effective witnessing tools OAFC members learn and use.
Wherever possible, local Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ groups will visit different area churches that will host them for weekends devoted to learning, fellowship, witnessing, and fun, and even try to help set up groups at different churches if the congregation is interested. In my personal experience, the first group I had the opportunity to participate with was based out of Quincy, Illinois, just a few miles from where I lived in Missouri at the time.
The first thing I noticed about our visiting OAFC group was that everyone was very friendly and welcoming, but they were also completely normal people, just like you and me. At the time, I was under the impression that anyone capable of witnessing door to door to complete strangers had to have some sort of super powers, but these were just ordinary people with a passion for sharing God’s love with others. This was a passion I soon felt myself, despite some initial fears and lack of understanding of what God can do when we allow Him to work through us.
I learned a lot that first weekend with OAFC. Despite being told that I could just observe the door to door witnessing with the two members I was following, I even found myself doing some of the witnessing to the people we talked to. I was excited and a little terrified, but I discovered there was no greater feeling than sharing the message of Christ and the salvation He gives us with someone willing to listen, even if only for a minute. There are people out there desperately in need of God’s love, many who don’t know how to go about finding it. In Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ, I found a way for God to guide me to those people, and share that love and hope with them.
OAFC is about spreading the gospel in a personal way, but as a youth based ministry, it’s also about having fun and making lasting friendships with others in the organization. As a teen, I found myself eagerly counting the days until our next OAFC weekend gatherings, and my best friends at the time were people from that very first visiting group, some of whom I’m still friends with to this day. Being a national organization, Ongoing Ambassadors also hosted an annual “Summer Training”, where groups from all over the country would come together in a different location each year, and spend a week learning different ways to spread the gospel, while enjoying fun and fellowship with other like minded teens. Between having the opportunity to travel all across the country, and getting to see people I’d made close friendships with and only got to see one week a year (this was before the internet, kids), I found myself anticipating OAFC Summer Trainings all year round.
It’s hard to put into words the joy of spreading the gospel to those who haven’t heard it or need to hear it again, but OAFC taught me that God doesn’t just use us to spread the word for the benefit of others – He fills us with an overwhelming joy and excitement that comes with getting to be the one to share that word. Not everyone may feel equipped to share the gospel with others, but we are. God gives us the words, and the Bible summarizes His message beautifully: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
"Inside OAFC" DVD Part 1, written and produced by Rev. Andrew Wilson, 2008
From a college age youth at our 2015 Summer Training
I wanted to share with everyone how much of a blessing it was to witness along side each of you and to get to know everyone individually. I know it may seem as if our OAFC group is not as large as it once was; however, in all my years of OAFC I have never seen SOOO much energy and passion for witnessing from a group of ambassadors. I wanted to encourage all of the ambassadors both present at summer training and those struggling to make committmenets with an excerpt from Galatians 6, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." There is a reason the saying goes, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." We shouldn't let our numbers determine our outlook on OAFC as positive or negative, rather focus on remaining faithful, committed workers in spreading the Good News. If we remain faithful, God takes care of the rest because His ways are higher than ours and His thoughts higher than ours. Just something I was thinking about!