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Start a New Chapter

Why Have a Chapter

Why have a chapter of the Order of St. Luke the Physician? Couldn’t we have a ministry of Christian healing without a chapter of the Order? The answer is an obvious, “Yes, you can have a healing ministry with nothing more than Jesus Christ; but we have been exhorted to work as a Body. It is possible to work as a Body within a single congregation, but the purpose of the OSL is to work within the Church—the whole Body of Christ—to strengthen its members and offer them a context in which to ask questions and share answers. The Order seeks to develop a healing ministry in the community by extending invitations to other church people, organizing healing missions, and conducting regular healing services, in which people can gather to seek wholeness. Workshops on prayer and healing are another way that OSL offers instruction from the Bible to members and others who are interested in the healing ministry of Jesus.

How to Start a New Chapter

Any new chapter must find its call from God. It may begin with one person or with a group of individuals whom God has touched and urged into the healing ministry. It is birthed in prayer as that person or group seeks god’s will about the shape of the ministry to be established. It continues with a commitment to meet together regularly for prayer and study. The group does not need to be large in number, but its members must be committed to God and seeking his will, and to each other.

If you believe God has called on you to form a chapter of the Order of St. Luke the Physician, you should:

Contact OSL’s North American Office for the name and contact information of the Regional Director for your area, through whom you may apply for associate membership in the Order. Their Regional Director will provide you with the study materials required to prepare for full membership in the order. (These include the 26 accounts of healing from the Gospels and three books from a prescribe reading list.) Ask for a convener’s insert and a chaplain’s insert for the Handbook and a set of bylaws. These documents will give you a clear idea of how the Order works, and the duties of the convener and the chaplain who are key to the health of a chapter.

Find a chaplain for your group. If you don’t already have an ordained clergy person committed to the group, pray for God to raise up a chaplain from the clergy in your area. It is best to have someone who is committed to conducting a regular healing service for your chapter. (If though OSL believes that the committed involvement of a clergy person is important to the success of a new chapter, we also believe that Christian healing is not just a ministry of the clergy, but is also a ministry of the Body of Christ, and the lay members of the Order must have opportunity to extend their ministry to others—both as individuals and as teams.)  

Contact your Regional Director to induct members of your group into OSL as associate members. He can also help you plan a mission to let the whole community know of the presence of the Order and when it will be meeting for study, prayer, and healing services.  

Elect group officers. You will need to elect a convener, a co-convener, a secretary and a treasurer to meet for the purpose of prayer, planning, and business. This will enable you to become a provisional chapter. The attributes of a good convener are a sense of calling, love and concern for people, commitment to God’s healing ministry in the Body of Christ, a capacity to exercise the authority of Jesus to enable and encourage others to minister, patience with those who are over exuberant, experience of God’s healing power in their own life, and a sense of humor. (The terms of office for conveners and other officers may be found in the bylaws.) Other people may be added to the team, as need arises. For example, some chapters add a communications person, librarian, hospitality person, or music person. Once a month is a common meeting schedule, although the healthiest chapters seem to be those who meet weekly, which keeps them in closer contact with their support group.  

Reach out to other churches, and healing groups in your community and to other OLS chapters through any means God makes available to you, such as word of mouth, telephone, mailings (traditional and email), church bulletins, newspapers and newsletters.

Here’s a checklist to help you set up your chapter:

  1. Write the North American Office of OSL. Ask for your initial study material and the name and address of your Regional Director.
  2. Write to inform your Regional Director of your desire to start a chapter, and ask for someone who can induct those who are interested in becoming associate members. (If you intend to have a mini-mission for this occasion, you might ask the Director to suggest a missioner.)
  3. Set a time of meeting and begin the study.
  4. Set a regular time for prayer and healing ministry.
  5. Once group members have completed their initial course of study for induction, notify your Director, who will then arrange for their induction into the order as full members.
  6. Pursue your life as a chapter of the Order, always seeking the will of the Lord, and His direction for your corporate life and ministry.

If possible, have someone from your group attend the OSL Regional Conference and begin planning a healing mission for your local community. Your Regional Director can give you an idea of the missioners available. (A copy of our educational pamphlet on planning a healing mission will be very helpful for this task.) When the mission is held, those who have completed the study program may be inducted as full members of the Order. The Regional Director can also charter your chapter can Chapter of the Order of St. Luke, at that time.

Chapter Meetings

An OSL chapter meeting is a gathering of God’s people that is more spiritual in nature than religious. Common elements include music, prayer and silence, a 20-minute teaching (scripture, book report, or witness), a healing service with Communion, where appropriate, and intercessions for the sick, and a time for private prayers and personal ministry.

The goals of a chapter meeting are:

  • To invite and welcome God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and all people who will come.
  • To provide an environment of love that is safe, steady, and secure—with hope and humor.
  • To develop leadership that is a team of friends who are dedicated and dependable—who take the time to listen to the Lord and obey His bidding.
  • To receive a clear, unfolding vision of God’s will and a closer relationship with God through healing of body, mind, and spirit.
  • To receive from God the particular pattern for their common life in the Order of St. Luke, to meet regularly as a body, and to seek and do God’s will for them, wherever they are.

Principles for Successful Chapter Membership

Rule of Life

To assist us in fulfilling our purpose, the Order has a Rule of Life to help us find and follow a discipline that will lead us to growth in Jesus Christ and in the ministry to which He has called us. The Rule is shared by all in the order as a pattern of life, rather than as a legal code. It is:

  1. I will pray daily for this work, using the Lord’s Prayer with special intention that His will be done in me and in all mankind. I will also use the special prayer for St. Luke’s Day at frequent intervals.
  2. I will read from the Gospels daily.
  3. I will seek such health of mind, body and spirit as will make me capable of maximum vocation.
  4. I will cultivate whatever gifts or talents God has given me for the work of healing, by study and active service.
  5. I will receive Communion regularly.
  6. I will share this healing Gospel with others by personal witness, by subscribing to Sharing magazine, by circulating healing literature and by contributing to the work of the Order, according to my ability.
  7. I will attempt all this so far as I am able, by the help of God.

Essential Goals for Chapters

Even though goals among chapters will vary, as the circumstances to which each is called to work varies, there are the commonly held goals that all chapters should aspire to, which include:

  1. Chapters should seek members from a variety of church congregations in order to have an understanding of a range of Christian traditions.
  2. Chapters should work for an increased awareness of the healing ministry within the church by providing:
    a. Healing missions.
    b. Workshops.
    c. Healing/prayer retreat weekends.
  3. Chapters should share their experiences through Sharing magazine, the official magazine of the Order, and through Regional and North American Conferences.
  4. Chapters should strive to create an environment of love that is conducive to believing and healing.
  5. Chapters should possess a strong desire to listen for and follow the Lord’s direction.
  6. Chapters should promote teaching from Scripture, books and witnessing that presents Jesus Christ as our Savior, Healer as Light, Leader, Law, and King.
  7. Chapters should put into practice what is learned in workshops, and embrace all situations where God calls us to minister His healing love to others.

For more information about the OSL, call or write:

The Order of St. Luke
P.O. Box 780909
San Antonio, TX 78278-0909
Toll free 877.992.5222
E-mail: OSL2@satx.rr.com