In my last post on the OCF blog, I wrote about how to bring more students to an OCF meeting. I touched on the importance of consistency and diversity in chapter meetings, but that’s not all it takes to run a successful OCF chapter!
Once you get your OCF members in a room together for a meeting… what do you do next?
After keeping tabs on our most successful OCF chapters, figuring out what they do best, and balancing that with the impact we want OCF to have on every college student, our staff and volunteers have been able to identify four main themes that—when integrated into your chapter’s meeting schedule—balance everything out.This question has plagued many the OCF group, who have experimented with everything from pizza parties & game nights to book studies & guest lectures. To some students, it seems like their chapter has the same meeting every week. For others, their chapter seems scattered and disorganized because no meeting has the same focus!
We call these themes “The Four Elements of OCF Life”, and those themes are fellowship, education, worship, and service (sometimes we use the acronym F.E.W.S.). Check out more on our Elements of OCF Life page!
- Fellowship includes potlucks, game nights, and the like. This is foundational to the community of the OCF chapter, because this is where relationships are formed.
- Education includes guest lectures, book studies, and other similar activities. These activities stimulate discussion and allow students to delve deeper into the Orthodox faith or share it with their campus community.
- Worship includes services at a local parish, or even prayer services on campus. This is foundational to the Orthodox way of life. Give glory to God together!
- Service includes helping out with the local soup kitchen, volunteering to help new students move into the dorms, or otherwise offering aid wherever you can! By serving others, you live out the Faith entrusted to you by your community.
The great thing about this is, there are four major themes and four weeks a month! This means that chapters meeting weekly can focus on each one of these themes, in turn, and go through the entire cycle of themes every month.
Here’s an example meeting schedule, by week:
- (Fellowship): Potluck & Game Night, everyone bring a friend!
- (Education): Stump the Priest
- (Worship): Reader’s service on campus
- (Service): Make sandwiches and deliver them to local homeless people
Having a schedule like this and making each week’s theme public can do a lot to attract all kinds of students to your meetings. Some students will come for the food and fun on week 1, but come back on week 2 because of the relationships they’ve formed. Others (even the non-Orthodox) may come on week 3 simply to pray, but come back on week 4 for the opportunity to serve. Having all these themes within your chapter schedule brings an incredibly diverse group of students together.
How can your OCF chapter incorporate these themes into your regular meetings?