DISCIPLE MAKING

Why Canada Needs Biblical Hospitality

Dr. Craig Kraft / Thursday, July 2, 2020

 

My friend Doug had no interest in Jesus or Church.   

His parents took him to Sunday school as a child, he believed in God, he knew the Christmas and Easter stories, and he was familiar with many popular Bible verses, but in his teen years he struggled to connect his experiences in life with what he knew of religion.  

I guess you could say that Doug is like a lot of Canadians.

Like many, Doug’s life started to fall apart.  His wife left him, and he missed his kids.  He lost most of the things that he valued in life and the church was the last place that he would think to turn to for help. I met Doug at a very low point in his life.  

We didn’t have much in common, and Doug was a stranger to me and an outsider to my family and circle of friends.  There was no way that he would visit our church, but he felt welcomed in our home. 

My family included him in our life and eventually he opened his heart to Jesus and a discovered a new purpose.

Loving Strangers

If you read my previous blog, Understanding Hospitality in a Western Context: Hospitality in Scripture about understanding biblical hospitality you will remember that the biblical concept of hospitality involves much more than the entertaining of family and guests in our homes. For Christians, hospitality is “extending the privileges of community to those who do not have the standing to expect it.”[1] 

Hospitality is loving strangers.

Canadians do not have to look far to see strangers. 

Dr. Sadiri Tira states: “We are all strangers to one another. Strangers are simply people who are not in our ‘inner circle.’ They are outsiders.”[2] 

It can be helpful for Christians to recognize that we are strangers here. 

  • We are all strangers to God, separated by sin and selfish motivation, but God pours out his love to us and welcomes us (Eph. 2:11-22). 
  • We are also strangers in this world, set apart to be holy (1 Peter 1:14-16, 2:9-12). 

Hospitality is the act of building relational bridges toward others through the demonstration of love and compassion.

It is unfortunate, and hurtful when I hear people talk about the Christian church in Canada as being intolerant and exclusive.  That was how Doug viewed the church, and he did not want to have anything to do with it.  

Yes, the pursuit of holiness sets Christ’s followers apart from most of the world, but Jesus was not intolerant or exclusive. 

In fact, the Gospels present Jesus as one who was criticized by the religious leaders of his day for his association with people they would have considered as strangers or outsiders (Matt 9:11; 11:16-19, Luke 19:5-7). 

The life of Jesus demonstrated one of his primary teachings, loving our neighbours (Luke 10:25-37, 1 John 4:7-8). 

The gospels present God as a good host and his loving welcome is inclusive (Luke 14). 

The Balance between Tolerance & Holiness

Canada prides itself in being a tolerant society built around the values of tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance.[3] 

Jesus demonstrated how one can balance the tension between pursuing holiness and being a friend of sinners, and he did it through hospitality. 

  • He extended loving compassion to the people around him. 
  • He served all who followed him and did not let his disciples turn them away. 
  • He broke the religious boundaries and spoke with the woman at the well, ate in the home of the tax collectors, he touched and healed the unclean, and was a friend of sinners. 

Jesus embraced strangers who were outside of his inner circle. 

Christian hospitality seeks to love individuals as God loves them without accepting, validating, or embracing their beliefs and practice which may run contrary to Jesus.

Christians continue to reinforce a misperception of the church when we argue with each other about what may appear to be trivial matters, when we try to impose biblical morals and values on others, and when we do a better job of making people aware of what we are against than what we are for. 

Christianity has a long history of being good at defining religion, but our past is a bit checkered when it comes to being ambassadors of Jesus Christ. 

One does not have to look very far in history, or in our present culture, to see our faults and failures. 

But we should not let our faults define who we are today.  We all have a history of sinfulness and failure and yet God extended hospitality to us through His Son Jesus (John 3:16).

Canadian Christians should be known by their love and acts of hospitality. Followers of Jesus should reflect the qualities of the One they are following. 

I wonder where Doug would be today if our family had not extended hospitality to him.

Who are the strangers in our neighborhoods?  “Otherness” may be defined today by ethnicity, culture, language, belief, values, politics, generation, gender and more. 

God loves our nation and He wants to see His church at work, doing what he called us to do.

If we could focus more on loving our neighbors, we could experience a new awakening of the Church in Canada.  We could shift the perception of others so that the church is know for its love, hospitality, and inclusion. 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

 


Dr. Craig Kraft is the Executive Director of Outreach Canada.  Craig and his wife Heather have four adult sons.  They were involved in pastoral ministry in western Canada for fifteen years before becoming missionaries with OC.  Craig served with OC in southern Africa and now leads the ministry in Canada. After returning from Africa, Craig assisted with the formation of the OC Global Alliance, a partnership of over one thousand missionaries working around the world.  Craig is a graduate of Northwest Baptist Seminary at ACTS and has recently completed his Doctor of Intercultural Studies degree at the Asia Graduate School of Theology.  His study has focused on diaspora missiology in Canada.  His dissertation explores the potential for revitalizing Canadian churches through the practice of biblical hospitality with refugees and immigrants.

 


 

[1] Scott Cormode, “Biblical Hospitality: Inviting Outsiders to Be Family,” Faithward.Org, November 27, 2019, accessed April 28, 2020, https://www.faithward.org/biblical-hospitality-outsiders-family/.

[2] Sadiri Joy Tira, “Who Is the Stranger Next Door? An Honest Answer from a Stranger,” Gospel Life, August 23, 2017, accessed April 28, 2020, http://www.gospel-life.net/who-is-the-stranger-next-door-an-honest-answer-from-a-stranger/.

[3] Allan Levine, “Slow Road to Tolerance,” Canada History, last modified June 19, 2016, accessed April 13, 2018, http://www.canadashistory.ca/Explore/Politics-Law/Slow-Road-to-Tolerance.


print



Wasting Seed Wasting Seed

Anybody who has visited my house knows I like to garden. A few years ago, my husband and daughter b...
Read More..

5 Reasons for Making Disciples 5 Reasons for Making Disciples

“Why should I make disciples?” Listen again, in Matthew 28, as Jesus speaks to his disciples. Here ...
Read More..

A Simple Recipe for Making Disciples A Simple Recipe for Making Disciples

When I have a bit of extra time, I enjoy cooking. I especially enjoy cooking for other people, and ...
Read More..

37 Verses on Making Disciples 37 Verses on Making Disciples

What does the Bible even say about Making Disciples? Here are 37 verses to start ... Outreach ...
Read More..

Discipling Our Nation Discipling Our Nation

No matter how well the church may have done in the past, the challenge of discipling our nation is ...
Read More..

Hospitality as Mission Hospitality as Mission

"Our homes are becoming more and more important as a centre of mission. I would say, especially for...
Read More..

A Leader’s Personal Litmus Test A Leader’s Personal Litmus Test

A ‘litmus test’ does not change the leader; it reveals the leader’s character. Here are three litmu...
Read More..

Scripture Earth: Sharing the Gospel in Diverse Languages Scripture Earth: Sharing the Gospel in Diverse Languages

The website, ScriptureEarth.org, containing one of the largest repositories of Bible resources avai...
Read More..

Taste of Weavers Taste of Weavers

Is there someone who you have wished you could connect with God? The Weavers way of engaging others...
Read More..

8 Qualities of Shepherd-Leaders 8 Qualities of Shepherd-Leaders

Here are eight qualities of a shepherd-leader we can learn from the good shepherd in John 10.
Read More..

Trinitarian Hospitality Trinitarian Hospitality

I have coined the phrase “Trinitarian Hospitality” to describe the mysterious truth that the triune...
Read More..

The Joy of Evangelism The Joy of Evangelism

If you’re like me, when someone starts talking about the need to get more involved in evangelism, t...
Read More..

Mobilizing Movements: An Interview Mobilizing Movements: An Interview

An interview with Murray Moerman, about his new book Mobilizing Movements. Murray speaks from his p...
Read More..

Mobilizing Movements to Jesus Christ Mobilizing Movements to Jesus Christ

The need of Christ above all is the impetus for the Great Commission, and the Great Commission is t...
Read More..

How Should We Then Live? How Should We Then Live?

The question is asked, “How do we move forward as a moral and ethical minority in a secular and plu...
Read More..

Opportunities & Threats for the Canadian Church: Whats Next? Opportunities & Threats for the Canadian Church: What's Next?

"What’s next?" is a big question. We may not know the next step, but do we know the right direction...
Read More..

Four Components of Disciple Making Movements Four Components of Disciple Making Movements

How can a disciple-making group lead to more groups and, perhaps, even to a disciple-making movemen...
Read More..

Stop Training People Stop Training People

Stop training.  You are probably wasting your time and that of those you are training!  Seriou...
Read More..

Whats Next? Hope Amidst the Mess What's Next? Hope Amidst the Mess

As we move into this next season, let’s not be surprised when things are messy or challenging. We n...
Read More..

Living in Hope Living in Hope

We are clinging to any sign of hope. Yet, it does not take long before we realize that these hopes ...
Read More..

The Relationship between Prayer & Witness The Relationship between Prayer & Witness

What is the role of prayer as we look to share our faith with others? I confess my tendency wh...
Read More..

Prompting of the Holy Spirit in the Early Church & our Neighbourhoods Prompting of the Holy Spirit in the Early Church & our Neighbourhoods

The early believers experienced the full scope of the Spirit’s working and speaking.  This sensitiv...
Read More..

7 Characteristics of Effective Witnesses 7 Characteristics of Effective Witnesses

Some of the most effective witnesses I've seen have surprised me. They don't look like what I imagi...
Read More..

What Crime Shows Teach Us about Being a Good Witness What Crime Shows Teach Us about Being a Good Witness

Growing up, I watched a lot of crime dramas and police shows and these days there are more of them ...
Read More..

How the Church can make Disciples...even in a Pandemic How the Church can make Disciples...even in a Pandemic

Disciple-Making Groups can be trained to function as small churches and can reproduce themselves mo...
Read More..

When You Feel like a Failure at Witnessing When You Feel like a Failure at Witnessing

Do you ever feel like me?  I know what I am supposed to do, but sometimes I feel guilty for not doi...
Read More..

Witness Witness

Being a witness to something extraordinary is nothing new. We witness the ordinary and extraordinar...
Read More..

...

4 Ways to Make Disciples Like Jesus Did
In the Great Commission, the remaining eleven are commissioned to make disciples just like Jesus made disciples - despite their failures and hesitancy. How do disciple-makers model themselves after Jesus, and how d...
Read more...
How the Church can Make Disciples in 2023
We, as followers of Jesus, are called to prioritize inviting others to follow Him. Why? Because Jesus did. Making disciples was demonstrated to be the priority of Jesus. He said, “As the Father has sent me, so...
Read more...
Making Disciples of All Nations in Canada
Statistics Canada has just released the CENSUS 2021 data on population and reported that “millions of people from all over the world have chosen, and continue to choose, Canada as their new home. In 2021, more than 8.3 ...
Read more...
Wasting Seed
Anybody who has visited my house knows I like to garden. A few years ago, my husband and daughter built me a greenhouse so I can start my plants from seed. Each precious seed is carefully placed in prepared soil and car...
Read more...
5 Reasons for Making Disciples
“Why should I make disciples?” Listen again, in Matthew 28, as Jesus speaks to his disciples. Here are five reasons for making disciples ...  
Read more...
A Simple Recipe for Making Disciples
When I have a bit of extra time, I enjoy cooking. I especially enjoy cooking for other people, and I particularly love trying new recipes. It’s a bit risky trying new recipes out on guests, but I do it all the time! ...
Read more...
37 Verses on Making Disciples
What does the Bible even say about Making Disciples? Here are 37 verses to start ... Outreach Canada is a family of ministries working together to accelerate the fulfilling of the Great Commission in Canada. We do ...
Read more...
Discipling Our Nation
No matter how well the church may have done in the past, the challenge of discipling our nation is new and fresh with each new generation...
Read more...
Hospitality as Mission
"Our homes are becoming more and more important as a centre of mission. I would say, especially for our neighbours, our home is going to be the most important opportunity they have to meet Jesus." Chris explores ho...
Read more...
A Leader’s Personal Litmus Test
A ‘litmus test’ does not change the leader; it reveals the leader’s character. Here are three litmus tests a true leader can learn from Jesus. 
Read more...
Scripture Earth: Sharing the Gospel in Diverse Languages
The website, ScriptureEarth.org, containing one of the largest repositories of Bible resources available, is a hidden jewel in the toolbox for diaspora ministry in Canada!
Read more...
Taste of Weavers
Is there someone who you have wished you could connect with God? The Weavers way of engaging others in conversation may be what you’ve been looking for. Practical. Scripture Engagement. Oral learner-friendly. Conversati...
Read more...
 

 

2 - 7201 72 Street Delta BC V4G 1M5