OC Director's Blog: May 2023
Dr. Craig Kraft
May 16 2023
Every year Outreach Canada hosts our annual staff Retreat in the first week of May. This year we gathered at Charis Camp in Chilliwack for four days. The theme of our retreat was Moving Forward Together. We focused on team health and managing our leadership transition in the months to come.
For me, this was a great retreat but also very emotional. I have usually been the MC and one of the main presenters at our retreats. This year I only presented on the first day when I did a session on OC Orientation, telling the story of our past and our aspirations for the future. The retreat was led by our leadership team. Each day was unique and reflected some of the character of those leading.
The two highlights for me happened at the beginning and the end. On Tuesday morning the host set aside time for people to share stories of gratitude and working with me as the Executive Director over the past fifteen years. There was a steady line of people sharing until the time had to be cut off. I was deeply touched by the stories and reminded of how important it is to serve the people you lead. Most of their stories were about times when I came alongside them to serve them or a time when we were able to do ministry together.
On Friday we finished the retreat with a commissioning service. After worshipping together, the team and our Board laid hands on Heather and I and prayed for us, commissioning us to my new calling as a leader of the OC Global Alliance. After praying for us, I passed the baton of leadership to our transitional leadership team. I had prepared a few words, but emotions overwhelmed me, and it was all I could do to pray for them as I passed the baton to some of the most capable leaders I have ever worked with.
In that moment, I remembered those special times when Heather and I were commissioned to join OC and deploy to Africa, when we were commissioned as the new Executive Director of OC, and I even remembered being called up on the stage in our church, thirty-eight years ago, being commissioned with my dad, mom, and brother to move to Canada to start Outreach Canada. Each commissioning was a big step of faith. I was launching into a new role and new responsibilities. I remember mixed emotions of excitement and fear in each of those moments. I have the same emotions today as we are preparing for the next big step in our path. Taking on this new role as the Director for Global Collaboration is exciting and intimidating. One thing I am holding on to right now is the Lord’s promise that he will direct my path and be present with us as we move forward with Him.
Looking back, I am filled with joy to see how God has been at work in my life, in my family, and in my team at OC over these past fifteen years. We have grown from twenty to over one hundred and forty personnel. We have expanded our ministry and added new teams, but we have not lost sight of our purpose: to serve leaders and disciple our nation. I expect that there will be a lot more change and pivoting in the future, but I have confidence in our board and our leaders, that they will follow the Lord and lead OC where He directs them.
Leader-SHIFT Team & OC Global Alliance Meetings
I will continue as the Executive Director of Outreach Canada until the end of the year, but our Leader-SHIFT team will be assuming most of my regular responsibilities. Our Leader-Shift Team is comprised of:
- Lorne Hunter – Outreach Canada’s Assistant Director
- Rick Burdett – Outreach Canada COO
- Lorna Johnston – Outreach Canada Leadership Team
- Ray Woodard – Outreach Canada Board Chairman
- Craig Kraft – Outgoing Executive Director
The Leader-SHIFT team meets weekly, on Monday afternoons and monthly with our larger OC Leadership team. Please remember these capable leaders in your prayers.
Craig is leading a team of OC staff to Spain this month to attend the 2023 OC Global Alliance Meetings. The Krafts, Johnstons, Moermans, and Coxes will be representing Outreach Canada and serving our global leaders from May 22 to 26.