WELCOMING STRANGERS

Welcoming Strangers: Church Revitalization through the practice of Biblical Hospitality

Friday, August 21, 2020

Welcoming Strangers: Church Revitalization through the practice of Biblical Hospitality toward Syrian Refugees in Canada

Dr. Craig Kraft's dissertation on Welcoming Strangers. 

ABSTRACT:

Hospitality is a significant theme in Scripture and it was a significant discipline in the early Church. Canadians understand hospitality differently today than how it was understood in the early days of the church. This study was motivated by the desire to rediscover the ancient art of hospitality and see if there are any remnants in the Canadian evangelical church.

Grounded theory research is used to explore the potential for the revitalization of Canadian churches through the practice of a biblically informed contextual theology of hospitality. The study focuses on the hospitality of a sample of Canadian evangelical churches and examines their hospitality toward Syrian refugees during the Syrian refugee resettlement phenomenon between 2015 and 2019.

The study used a combination of surveys and narrative interviews to identify and understand the hospitality practices of the sample group. Hosts identified how they had been involved in hospitality toward the Syrians and how it had impacted their lives, their churches, and their relationships with others.

The research determined that the practice of biblically informed and contextually relevant hospitality with immigrants and others in need had a positive effect on the hosts. vi Churches indicated improved vitality, stronger community, and intentional mission as a result of their hospitality toward the Syrian people. The researcher concluded that the practice of biblical hospitality has the potential to bring new vitality to Christian churches. The study concludes with practical recommendations for Canadian congregations.

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