The OCGA Story

January 08 2024

Our Roots

OC International Inc. (formerly known as Overseas Crusades) was founded in 1952 as an American non-profit mission. OC has been on a long journey toward internationalization.  Core to our DNA is coming alongside indigenous leaders/churches/networks – at their invitation - to partner toward the discipling of their nation and, ultimately, the nations.

For the first twenty years, immediate attention was given to mission to the majority world. Then, in the 70s, OC began to concentrate on promoting missions from the majority world. The successor to our founder Dick Hillis was an Argentinian, Luis Palau, who served as our second president.  An expression of mission within a country, the Discipling the Whole Nation (DAWN) strategy emerged from our work in the Philippines, focusing on reaching every ethnic group, strata of society, and geographic area in a country.  This involved cross-cultural mission sending within a nation. Since 1975, the Philippines experiment stimulated the planting of over eighty thousand churches nationwide and inspired national saturation church planting initiatives globally.

In the ’80s, OC’s fourth president, Dr. Larry Keyes, and Dr. Larry Pate led ground-breaking global research on emerging missions with findings published in The Last Age of Missions and To Every People From Every People. For years, OC published the “Bridging People’s” newsletter highlighting mission innovation from the majority world. As OC’s work spread worldwide, teams were encouraged to adopt indigenous names, such as Philippine Challenge, Outreach Canada, and SEPAL (translated Serving Pastors and Leaders) in Ibero-America.

OC workers Ted Limpic, Tim Halls, and Larry Kraft walked closely alongside Latino leaders in the launch of COMIBAM, and successive OC workers have contributed to the mobilization, equipping, and sustaining of Latino missionaries. OC also helped launch the United College of Mission and Theology in Nagaland, India, to support the church in Nagaland toward its goal of sending 10,000 missionaries.  Similarly, OC assisted the Nigerian Evangelical Missions Association in its early years and has walked closely with the Movement for African National Initiatives since its inception.

OC has a history of launching initiatives to encourage, assist, advise, and equip mission-sending within and beyond the countries we’ve served.  During our first thirty years, an effort was made to stimulate the emergence of indigenous, non-OC mission structures and networks. 

Our Tipping Point

Over time, with increasing numbers of Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans asking to join OC, we began experimenting with various internationalization models with multi-national teams. Through trial and error, this process eventually culminated in the design and launch of the OCGA. 

In 2005, OC reached a tipping point where there were as many internationals serving on our teams as Americans. A meeting was convened in Manila in the spring of 2008 to discuss the growing international component of OC. Internationalization was creating innovative opportunities for mobilization and recruiting along with new challenges of funding structures and member care. A new, flatter model would liberate national teams to do their own recruiting, funding, and member care for their people. By the end of the Manila meeting, we had designed our alliance model, which was ratified and implemented in 2009. The OC Global Alliance was born; by 2010, fifty-eight percent of our personnel were non-US sent.

The Birth of the new Alliance was risky. The US-based mission released eight of their largest national fields to become fully independent mobilization centers (MC). The US MC supported the new MCs as they developed their boards and provided guidelines for handling finance, personnel, and partnerships. Our "Unifying Essentials" held the alliance together: our statement of faith and our shared vision, mission, strategy, and values. We recognized that solid relationships and mutual trust would be the glue to hold the alliance together. Many of our peers watched eagerly as we charted new waters they would also have to navigate. We launched the new model with much prayer and dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

Our Alliance Structure

The structure of the OC Global Alliance is based on a round table where all partnering MCs gather as equals. Each MC appoints two individuals to represent them at the Alliance table, where we meet biennially.  

Our leadership model is flat. We do not have a president or chairman but a guidance team, which helps to facilitate the decisions and directions of the alliance. Past moderators of the guidance team came from Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. We are mutually accountable to each other and our Lord Jesus Christ. We share the vision to see healthy churches working together to reach all nations.

Each of our MCs may have multiple fields they mobilize missionaries to, resulting in cooperative international and intercultural teams. The round table also represents the sharing of resources. We have formed shared thematic teams of people from various MCs within our alliance. Our shared resource teams include Global Research, Sports Ministries, Diaspora Ministries, DMM Practitioners, and more. As needed, we have also shared resources for member care, financial accounting, leadership development, and technology.

We are now into our fourteenth year as an alliance, which has been a great success. Not only have our original ten partners stayed together, but we have added five more MCs to our alliance. In addition, research over the past decade demonstrates a significant acceleration of progress in most areas we measure. We owe this growth and success to great leaders led by the Holy Spirit, increased responsiveness, and collaboration between our many fields. 

Our Resilience and Revitalization – Adapting to Change

As COVID-19 rocked the world, it tested the strength and resilience of our alliance. It also brought to light a weakness in our alliance structure.  The guidance team, made up of representative OCGA team leaders and board members, did not have the capacity to manage the growing number of new relationships, and the limitations of virtual meetings were causing some erosion to the unity we knew when we launched the Alliance. 

After a season of listening and reflection, In 2023, the Alliance met in Malaga, Spain, and formed a Collaboration Hub,  A new, non-co-located team of individuals that would carry the responsibility for building and maintaining the health and unity of our Alliance.  Dr. Craig Kraft was recruited from Canada to serve as the Director for Global Collaboration and as the new Collaboration Hub team leader.  The Hub’s primary focus is to serve the Alliance and foster effective communication, collaboration, coordination, coaching, and celebratoin within our growing partnership.

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