Okoboji Bible Conference Ministries provides services, events, and facilities. The greater purpose, however, is to stand among churches and Christian non-profits to introduce, to invite the laying aside of fears and stereotypes, and to partner more effectively. In other words, OBCM seeks to be catalytic, at its best when invisible. It exists, neither to promote or perpetuate itself, but rather to activate all to be better together to accomplish as much good as possible. Though specifically Christian, OBCM expresses that faith by encouraging broad cooperation to yield bigger results. In that process, the love of Christ is released.
OBCM, historically known as the Okoboji Lakes Bible & Missionary Conference, is more than a temporary annual summer event. OBCM expresses core Christian values of the conference, but does so year-round, in service to Iowa’s Lakes region and beyond.
The corporate charter of OBCM, originally formulated in 1946, indicates that besides convening the annual summer conference, the purpose of the non-profit corporation is the promotion of “the work of the Church of Christ and to provide for the interdenominational education, training, encouragement, [and] support of believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ” consistent with the purposes of a charitable organization.
To cultivate organic partnerships for effective church and community cooperation towards local, regional, and global Christian compassion and influence.
To serve individuals, churches, and non-profits to maximize the strengths of each for the greater effectiveness of all in local and global Christian service.
• Partnership: Organic partnership with churches and other non-profits in answer to Christ’s prayer for the unity of His body
• Our Region: The Iowa Lakes Region, networking for the good of Dickinson County and beyond
• Mission: Global mission, serving human need and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ
• Health: The health of individuals, families, churches, and governments as God-given institutions for society’s best
None of the priorities of OBCM stand alone. They support one another. Area families and churches are supported by both prayers and projects. Prayer reaches well beyond the limits of the Lakes Area, touching heaven on behalf of peoples and nations. Churches are connected in mission sometimes under the OBCM label, sometimes another, but always living out the vision of OBCM under any name.
Prayer…The first priority of OBCM is prayer. Christians intersect deeply, but too rarely, through prayer. OBCM has made prayer its first priority because of the words of Jesus in John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing.” A theme of OBCM over the decades was found in Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” With that understanding, OBCM engages events and initiatives to prompt Christian agreement in prayer in the belief that God hears and answers, and we join Him in the accomplishment of “infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
Family…OBCM encourages strong families. That begins with strengthening individuals of all ages from the inside out. This is currently lived out most obviously through counseling and support ministries. OBCM also partners with other area non-profits to offer a relationship, instruction, and events for teens, young adults, pre-marrieds, and marrieds. OBCM has always been a family place emphasizing the importance of valued spiritual traditions in building healthy generations under God.
Church…OBCM is not a church and is clearly chartered to never become a church. It serves to help the church be better together by convening gatherings where leaders and congregants, otherwise isolated in denominations and traditions, will find the delights of the rich breadth and depth of God’s people, the Church. There may be areas where churches will not agree, but virtually all can agree to actively love cities, regions and the world through missional Christian cooperation. Psalm 133 promises that “It is good and pleasant when God's people live together in peace! There the Lord gives his blessing of life forever.”
Mission…OBCM is not a mission agency in the sense of retaining or sending full-time, cross-cultural Christian workers. It is, however, a missional agency, assisting in mobilizing persons from Northwest Iowa to grasp opportunities for international short-term mission trips, local service projects, and the funding of various global initiatives. With local partners, OBCM has raised $22,000 to provide bicycles for medical and educational purposes in Zambia, Africa through World Bicycle Relief, more than $12,000 to purchase adequate housing for half a dozen families in earthquake-ravaged Haiti and provided on-campus, seasonal housing for a number of international students working in the Iowa Great Lakes region.