This is my Story: Fisherman to Fisher of Men Craig Kraft
/ Monday, July 29, 2019
Growing up as a pastor’s kid seemed like a special privilege to me. I became a follower of Jesus at a very young age, and literally grew up in the church.
I know that a lot of PK’s experienced it differently, but to me being a pastor's kid meant unbridled access to all the secret places around the church campus where I would hang out on Saturday mornings while my dad was printing bulletins. I knew how to access all the roofs, storage, and crawl spaces that were full of mystery and adventure.
When I was in grade six my dad accepted a pastoral call to a church in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. It was a quiet town at that time, made up of loggers, miners, fisherman and a thriving summer tourism industry that was built around salmon fishing. I loved living there and the small town, rural setting fit me well and I dreamt of being a professional hunting guide and fisherman, but it didn’t last for long. After five years we were headed back to California.
Moving & Fishing
Our return to our sunny roots was also for a short time. My dad was asked if he would return to Canada as a missionary to help launch Outreach Canada as a sister to OC International.
The moves were wearing on me. As a high school student, this would mean moving to a new school for my senior year, a third school in three years. I fought against the idea of moving to Vancouver even though I loved Canada and had continued with my summer job on a commercial salmon fishing boat.
In the summer of 1985, my family relocated to Delta, BC, without me. I was out on the fishing boat for the summer and I arrived home to a new house, in a new country, and a new high school. I adjusted fairly quickly as our family settled into the community and dad got involved with the launch of OC.
After finishing high school, I attended Trinity Western University, Northwest Baptist College and ACTS Seminary in preparation for pastoral ministry. I was married to my beautiful wife Heather in 1989 and together we served at Northstar Fellowship, Departure Bay Baptist, and West Edmonton Baptist Churches before sensing God’s call into mission work.
Ministry in Africa
We joined OC at the end of 2003, leaving pastoral ministry to become a church revitalization specialist and trainer for southern Africa. We went with our four boys to South Africa which became our home base while training pastors and church planters in South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.
These were great years for our family, filled with adventure and great friends. It was a difficult decision when we were asked to return to Canada, but, in 2008 our family returned home from Africa to take on the Executive Director role at Outreach Canada.
Serving at Outreach Canada
Moves and changes have been a constant pattern in our lives. It is hard to believe that the last ten years of ministry at Outreach Canada has been the longest we have ever stayed put in one place. OC is a great ministry home for me.
As the Executive Director, I get to use all of my life skills and experiences in my leadership. My pastoral leadership style has helped with the development of a team who love and treat each other like family. I have opportunities to mentor young men, preach and teach as well as occasions when I can still work with pastors and churches in transition.
Our unique international experiences have also helped me to be an effective leader in our OC Global Alliance and in many of the ministry partnerships in which OC participates.
Fisher of Men
God created me with a great love for the outdoors and the patience of a hunter and fisherman. As I have grown in my commitment to be a follower of Jesus, God has given me new outlets for my passion.
I love spending time with people, usually one on one or in small groups. I love to tell stories and pursue new adventures that help people get to know Jesus. I still love to catch fish whenever I have the opportunity, but as I follow Jesus, he has called me to be a fisher of men.
“And he said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19 (ESV)