The Canadian Military Community
The Canadian military community is unique in Canada. By its nature it is an institution, a system and a distinct culture that is separate from all others by virtue of its values, history, norms, behaviours, language, social hierarchy, and social expectations. Yet, it is inclusive of persons from diverse ethnicity, spirituality, gender, age, and sexual orientation; thus, the military is a microcosm reflective of the Canadian mosaic. This community consists of those who are serving and have served in both the Regular Force and the various components of the Reserve Force, civilian employees of the Department of National Defence and their respective families. It is estimated that the size of this community in Canada, exceeds one million.
Though Canadian churches surround military installations, and many of those churches are concerned for the souls and spiritual development of members of the military community, there is a general lack of understanding of the people and an unfocused effort to reach and support them individually and as a subculture. The Canadian military employs a chaplaincy that has the mission of providing religious and spiritual support, as well as advice and care to serving military members and their families regardless of faith tradition, yet they are restrained from overtly sharing the gospel and making disciples of Jesus Christ. In addition, there is no coordinated focused effort conducted by any organization to bring the gospel to the Canadian military community other than the Military Christian Fellowship (MCF).
The MCF will become the evangelical arm of the Christian Church within the Canadian military community singly focused on the execution of the MCF mission. The MCF will pursue this mission until its completion, which will occur when every member of the Canadian military community has heard the Good News and in so doing, will have had the opportunity to accept Jesus as their Saviour and Lord – Until All. For those who accept Jesus, they will experience a continually growing relationship with Jesus having their lives transformed into His likeness and living the life abundant that He promised. To achieve this end state the MCF will become a cross-denominational fellowship of local-church disciples of Jesus who are consistently engaged in activities that help them to know, live and share the Faith within the Canadian military community.
The Military Christian Fellowship of Canada traces its history back to similar type initiatives that were initiated in Britain and in the United States. In 1948 the Canadian Officers Christian Union (OCU) was formed based on prayer and financial support from the British OCU and the American Officers Christian Fellowship (OCF). In August 1975 the Canadian OCU became the Military Christian Fellowship of Canada.
Since its inception, the mission of the MCF of Canada has been to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the military community in Canada and abroad. The MCF is interdenominational, and is composed of serving and retired military members of all ranks, civilian employees of the Department of National Defence, their respective families and other interested persons who subscribe to the MCF basis of belief, vision, mission, and values system. As Christians in the MCF, no matter what our rank or position, we are uniquely placed to reach the military community and help them discover Jesus Christ and His Good News. It is a great challenge, a special ministry, and a high calling that we accept by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Basis Of Belief
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Our statement of faith is the Apostle’s creed. We believe, therefore, that according to the scriptures, God saves by grace alone and each person must accept Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and Lord. All MCF members must subscribe to the basis of belief that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God, and the Apostles’ Creed is the simple and universally accepted statement of Christian faith.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church (which means the entire church on earth),
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Jesus gave the Church its value system when He responded to the question “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-39) This value system is profound and each member of the MCF is called to increasingly reflect its inherent virtues in their daily lives.
The Ministry Intent
Working with like-minded local churches, regional, and national churches and Christian organizations across Canada, and with military chaplains the MCF works to establish a network of small groups that individually and collaboratively provide training, and mentorship with the intent of encouraging people to consider the message of Jesus and to grow in their faith. The MCF is committed to fostering unity with like-minded local churches, building camaraderie within the military community and leveraging partner resources in a joint effort to see people become whole experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promises. Through national strategic leadership and decentralized Christian ministry, the MCF cohesively and intentionally engages with partners, stakeholders, and Christians within military community to know, live and share Jesus.