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Global Mobilization

Mission Drift? Or Still True to God’s Call?

Mission Drift as defined by authors Peter Greer and Chris Horst in their book Mission Drift (2015) is “the slow and insidious shift away from the original mission, purpose, and identity of an organization.” They say, “Mission True organizations know who they are and actively safeguard, reinforce, and celebrate their DNA. Leaders constantly push toward higher levels of clarity about their mission and even more intentionality about protecting it.” 

Has One Challenge, in its nearly 70 years of existence, stayed on track with its original mission? In a world shifting in ways unimaginable a half century ago, has OC kept true to the purpose and identity God called it to? Or, has OC, like so many other organizations, experienced “mission drift?”

OC History … Founding Goals

A dive into the OC archives reveals the organization has stayed remarkably true to the original mission, purpose, and identity set down in 1954 by founder, Dick Hillis and executive director, Els Culver.

In a well-preserved piece of history, The Story of ORIENT Crusades, the early days of the mission are depicted. The following statements are on inside back cover.

OBJECTIVE . . .
The promulgation of the Gospel in any and all lands using all available means to obey Christ’s command, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” and “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” –

POLICY . . .
A SERVICE ORGANIZATION to existing missions and churches –

METHOD . . .
Systematic evangelism and synchronized follow-up. EVANGELISM in schools, Army camps, city-wide campaigns, hospitals, every village crusades and church revivals. FOLLOW-UP linking new believers to churches, Bible study courses, leadership training classes, scripture memory.

In a 1964 Special edition of CABLE, an OC publication of that era, the historical development and explicit mission of Overseas Crusades (as it was called then) are clearly explained. Here is an excerpt.

“The mission of Overseas Crusades in any given country is to work with the existing Churches, denominational groups and church organizations to the end that every member of the Body of Christ might be “equipped” to play his part in “building up the body.”

As Overseas Crusades has grown over the past 13 years and its ministry has extended into many different areas, … our many ministries have one objective: to train, to stimulate, to revive the church of a nation that it might do the work of evangelism, as we have pictured in the drawing below.”

Mission drift

In a 1972 Special Edition of the same publication, one finds this.

What Are Some O.C. Distinctives?

  • O.C. crosses denominational lines and ministers to the “whole Body of Christ.”
  • O.C. avoids outmoded practices and seeks to be geared to the times.
  • O.C. is mobile and on the offensive.
  • O.C. is not interested in building monuments or perpetuating its name.
  • O.C. seeks a dynamic kind of “servanthood in action” in relationship to the national believers.
  • O.C. endeavors to constantly reevaluate and upgrade both training strategy and evangelistic methods.
  • O.C. is interdenominational in structure . . . interchurch in ministry and . . .  international in vision.
  • O.C. responds to the “law of the harvest.” We are sensitive to the winds of spiritual change and attempt to place our men where the opportunity to assist the Church is the greatest.
  • O.C. thinks “nations” and how whole countries can be reached.
  • O.C. is a service organization seeking to meet the needs of the Church.
Mission drift
Taiwan > Philippines > Vietnam > Argentina > Colombia > Brazil > Greece > Mexico > Indonesia > Singapore > Spanish-speaking countries

OC Continues on in Present Day

OC has people living out these values and vision in over 100 countries in the world. Like in the 70’s, our mission to serve, equip, and connect the body of Christ and its leaders has found expression in many diverse ways.

Some of those include the original ones mentioned in the Orient Crusade book like sports ministries, Bible study courses, and leadership training classes. Others are new and innovative to accommodate the changing times. Every month stories of how God is advancing his kingdom among different peoples of the world are published on this website.

Compare those “O.C. distinctives” statements with our current mission, vision, and strategy statements, along with our guiding principles.

Mission drift

OC Guiding Principles

  1. CharacterWe seek to be obedient to Christ and rooted in Scripture, growing into his likeness in servanthood, humility, and authenticity.
  2. Community – We pursue genuine relationships and accountability in family, friendship, team, ministry, and local communities of faith.
  3. CreativityFinding our inspiration in God, we value innovative risk-taking and experience freedom in his grace.
  4. LearningWe are lifelong learners who seek to grow in competency as we serve the body of Christ in its context and intentionally mentor, coach, and disciple one another.
  5. CollaborationWe value the whole body of Christ and engage in strategic partnerships out of a conviction that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
  6. FruitfulnessFully dependent upon Jesus, we invest in people and opportunities that enable disciples, leaders, and churches to grow, multiply, and thrive.

It could be argued that today OC workers do less evangelism themselves than in the 1950’s and 60’s. If so, it has been replaced with Disciple Making Movements and Church Planting Movements led by nationals (with OC workers working alongside them) in their own countries who are seeing tens of thousands come to faith every year. One Challenge is every much as interdenominational as ever and partnership remains a hallmark. As the OC Global Alliance has been established and continues to grow, so does OC’s capacity and connection to serve all parts of the body of Christ including churches and mission organizations.

Touching on one last phrase in the 1954 statements: “using all available means to obey Christ’s command, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” We have lived this over the decades, and 2020 was a perfect example. From feeding those greatly impacted by COVID 19 to training through internet courses and websites. Add to that our traditional avenue of MK schools, Sports Ambassadors, and member care forums. OC continues to serve in every way possible to bring God’s love and hope to all people.

It is fair to say that OC’s DNA is as formative today as it was when the mission first began. We haven’t drifted. Praise be to God! He first called Dick Hillis and Els Culver to his vision to reach the nations. And He continues to call men and women to that vision. Transforming nations … together!


Missions Mobilization
We seek to empower the whole body of Christ to bring a transforming love and hope to all people. The role of the OC US-MC is to recruit, send, and care for the administrative and personal needs of all those being sent from the USA. The US-MC is one of 14 Mobilization Center members of the OC Global Alliance, partnering together to effectively deploy people to serve on multiethnic and multinational OC Global Alliance ministry teams in nations around the world. We have teams in East Asia, Europe, Latin America, North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, North America (Canada and USA), Southeast Asia, Southern Africa – over 40 countries in all. We have impact ministry in many more. For more information, please email OC Mobilization at mobilization@oci.org. Or go to our Mobilization blog, Prepare for Impact, at https://prepareforimpact.life/.


One Challenge Global Alliance (OC GA)
Established in May 2010, the OC Global Alliance is a voluntary association of OC Mobilization Centers (MC) for the purpose of sharing resources and experience to fulfill a common vision, mission, values, and strategy. The US-MC is one of the 10 founding Mobilization Center members of the Alliance, partnering together to effectively deploy people to serve on multiethnic and multinational Global Alliance ministry teams in nations around the world. For more information, see https://onechallenge.org/oc-global-alliance-overview/

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