CRAIG KRAFT BLOG

Visitors or Guests? How Warm is our Welcome?

Dr. Craig Kraft / Monday, January 4, 2021

 

We all get to visit a lot of places. 

Sometimes, when we are not in a pandemic, we visit exotic vacation destinations around the world.  More commonly, we visit offices, restaurants, stores, recreational facilities, the home of friends, or even a church. 

The way we are greeted in each of these locations has a significant impact on how comfortable we are and how likely we are to return. 

A Dentist Visit

I assume that most people don’t enjoy going to the dentist.  I had to visit my dentist recently, and I have to admit that my two appointments to have crowns installed were very pleasant (Thank you, Dr. Zastre, Smilebrite Family Dental).

I look forward to going to my dentist. 

All of the staff do a fantastic job of welcoming me and seeing to my comfort, from the moment I enter the door, to the time I pay the bill and make my next appointment.  I am not just a visitor here; I am a guest. 

A Church Visit

In my work, I visit a lot of churches.  On a visit to a church last year, I had the opportunity to reflect on the experience of being a tourist in a new location. 

How do you like to be treated when you enter someplace new? 

Church Visitors

Visitors usually come on their own and are only around for a short visit to an event or location. 

When a church views new people as visitors:

  • The focus tends to be on the event. 
  • We are likely to welcome them and focus our intentions on helping them to have a good experience with us. 
  • We may offer refreshments, information, and provide orientation to our facilities and services so they may be aware of what we have to offer. 
  • We may have a “Visitors Centre” where they can obtain more information about our church and our ministries. 

In the end, we hope that they had a good experience.  I call this being “foyer friendly.”  Foyer friendly churches do a good job of facilitating pleasant visits.

Church Guests

How might our experience be different if the church treats us as a guest? 

  • Guests are usually invited and welcomed personally. 
  • We tend to focus more attention on the guest than the event. 
  • When a guest arrives at our home, for a short visit or a more extended stay, we focus on their comfort.  We will probably offer food, a comfortable place to sit down, entertainment, and friendship. 
  • Hosting a guest is about entering into a relationship with someone where their needs and comfort become our priority. 
  • Some churches have a “Guest Center” where a new person is invited to become a participant in relationships.

One Day…

One day our churches will reopen. 

As we prepare for that eventuality, churches would do well to discern the difference between treating newcomers as visitors or guests.  Friends, family, neighbors, and tourists should be welcomed into our congregations as honored guests.  We want them to have a positive and pleasant experience, but more importantly, we want them to become connected and return.  We must reach out to new people and extend hospitality and relationships.

One of the sins in our western culture today is that we have allowed ourselves to become so busy, we do not have time to welcome people into our lives or our fellowship.  Carroll goes so far as to say that failure to practice hospitality toward strangers might be a “rebellion against God”.1

As you begin to think about going back to church, keep this in mind. 

Make space for new people in your life.  Create opportunities for people to become personally engaged with your church rather than passing through as spectators.

 


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 a graduate of Asia Graduate School of Theology with a Doctor of Intercultural Studies. 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 (Carroll, Daniel.  The Bible and Borders. 2020)





Stretching out Christmas Stretching out Christmas

If you are like me, you are wishing that we could hold on to Christmas a little bit longer.  I...
Read More..

An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice LOVE An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice LOVE

The celebration of Christmas is the celebration of God’s love. Here are 3 suggestions to pract...
Read More..

An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice JOY An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice JOY

If you are like me, then you have days when it is hard to be joyful.  The pandemic has not made me ...
Read More..

An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice PEACE An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice PEACE

Peace. It can be hard to feel peace when the world around us is in such turmoil and uncertainty, bu...
Read More..

An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice HOPE An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice HOPE

Christmas will look different this year, but our Christmas celebrations can still be filled with ho...
Read More..

What will Christmas look like in 2020? What will Christmas look like in 2020?

Christmas is going to look different this year. But our Christmas celebrations can still be filled ...
Read More..

$25 $25

Consider the purchasing power of $25 dollars here in Canada: A movie at the theater with popcorn an...
Read More..
Welcoming Strangers: 4 Opportunities for Hospitality
Welcoming strangers has become one of our greatest needs and significant challenges as Christians in Canada. Here are 4 opportunities, for individuals & churches, to demonstrate hospitality to immigrants and other 'stra...
Read more...
Sharing the Gospel through Social Media
Young Canadians need to hear the gospel message, but where will they hear it? Jesus Cares Canada recognizes that social media provides a great opportunity for fresh, unencumbered access to the Gospel.
Read more...
Visitors or Guests? How Warm is our Welcome?
One day our churches will reopen. As we prepare for that eventuality, churches would do well to discern the difference between treating newcomers as visitors or guests.
Read more...
Stretching out Christmas
If you are like me, you are wishing that we could hold on to Christmas a little bit longer.  I don’t want to take the tree down or put away the decorations.  Is it ok to sing Christmas carols and eat cookies for a ...
Read more...
An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice LOVE
The celebration of Christmas is the celebration of God’s love. Here are 3 suggestions to practice Love during the advent season. 
Read more...
An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice JOY
If you are like me, then you have days when it is hard to be joyful.  The pandemic has not made me feel joyful. Like hope and peace, we can choose to be joyful despite circumstances that are outside of our control. ...
Read more...
An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice PEACE
Peace. It can be hard to feel peace when the world around us is in such turmoil and uncertainty, but God wants us to experience his peace. Here are 3 suggestions to practice Peace during the advent season. 
Read more...
An Advent List: 3 Ways to Practice HOPE
Christmas will look different this year, but our Christmas celebrations can still be filled with hope, peace, joy, love.  Here are 3 suggestions to practice Hope during the advent season. 
Read more...
What will Christmas look like in 2020?
Christmas is going to look different this year. But our Christmas celebrations can still be filled with hope, peace, joy and love. 
Read more...
$25
Consider the purchasing power of $25 dollars here in Canada: A movie at the theater with popcorn and pop. Four or five large specialty coffees. Two months of Netflix. Dinner for two at McDonalds. Today, in India, $...
Read more...
A Canadian Prayer for our American Neighbours on Election Day
A written prayer from Canada for our American Neighbours on Election Day 2020.  
Read more...
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Join us in praying this Sunday, November 1st, on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. 
Read more...
What is The Church when it is not Meeting Publicly?
What does the church look like when no one is attending? Do we identify the church by the location, facility, staff, programs, and services?  If our understanding of the church is tied to these things, then the church m...
Read more...
Why Canada Needs Biblical Hospitality
Jesus demonstrated how one can balance the tension between pursuing holiness and being a friend of sinners, and he did it through hospitality. 
Read more...
Hospitality in the Early Church
Hospitality was one of the factors that led to the discipleship and rapid expansion of the early church. The second blog in the series "Understanding Hospitality in a Western Context", this blog takes a brief look at th...
Read more...
Hospitality in Scripture
Hospitality is a powerful practice with the potential to bring restoration and revitalization to souls in need.  It is a virtue, espoused in scripture, through God’s earliest interactions with the patriarchs right throu...
Read more...
Welcoming Strangers
A biblical understanding of how Christians should welcome strangers is imperative for our day.  How do we demonstrate love toward people who are very different from us?  We must learn how to see others the way God sees ...
Read more...
15 Suggestions for Today: A Response to COVID 19
Our world is changing by the minute. We are familiar with the stories of fear and panic, but I am encouraged to see people sharing positive stories about how people are helping each other in times of crisis. Here are 15...
Read more...
The Search for Meaning 2.0: Multiple Confirmations
Part 2.0 of The Search for Meaning. How should we pray when considering major life-changing opportunities? This is Craig's story of how God provided multiple confirmations to his family as they contemplated a move to Af...
Read more...
The Search for Meaning: 5 Simple Steps
5 Simple Steps to Search for God's Unique Purpose for your Life. How do we invite or search for a unique and life-changing opportunity to serve God? Finding our purpose in a changing world need not be complicated.
Read more...
A Season for Peace
We view Christmas as a season of peace, but does December really feel peaceful?  Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace. What does His peace look like in the midst of regular life, including the difficult time...
Read more...
What does Christmas Look Like?
I know the ideal Christmas looks different to each one of us. I wonder if God has an ideal image of Christmas that he wants to develop in our minds. For many, thoughts of Christmas involve family gatherings, f...
Read more...
Giving Thanks when Life Sucks
There are so many things that happen in our lives that just suck.  How can we give thanks when times are tough? Is it really God’s will that all these bad things happen in our lives? A simple understanding of how we can...
Read more...
Diaspora. Diaspor...what?
What is Diaspora? And how should this word affect our lives & ministry? Find out more about Diaspora, what it means, and what's new at Outreach Canada with what we believe is a very important area of ministry. 
Read more...
A Prayer for the Day After the Election
A Prayer for Canada after the Election... Our gracious and almighty Father, we praise you for your powerful presence in our lives and in our world.  We praise you for your faithfulness through all of time.  We prai...
Read more...
5 People You Might Want to Thank
We all have so much to be grateful for, but sometimes we get stuck in a routine of being thankful for the same things over and over. I would like to encourage you today to share your gratitude with these five people. Yo...
Read more...
This is my Story: Fisherman to Fisher of Men
Meet Craig Kraft. The Executive Director of Outreach Canada. This is his story... 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 ...
Read more...
Our Big Thing
I am often asked to describe what OC is or what we do. It can be hard to describe, like the engine of a car. Our team is made up of a lot of different parts that work together to accomplish one big thing.
Read more...
From Risky Experiment to Great Success
In 2009, in response to its growing opportunites and challenges, One Challenge (OC) International took a big risk to respond to its growing international ministries. One Challenge International was founded in 1952 ...
Read more...
 

 

2 - 7201 72 Street Delta BC V4G 1M5