Dr. Craig Kraft
/ Tuesday, January 10, 2023
In December I announced that I will be transitioning out of the Executive Director Role at Outreach Canada and taking on a leadership role with our OC Global Alliance. 2023 will be a year of succession planning and transition, and I am glad that I have a year to work with our team and our board to transition well.
This is an appropriate time for Outreach Canada to reflect on who we are, where we are, and where we are going as a Mission in Canada. Allow me a few minutes to share a few of my thoughts and reflections as we consider the Vision of Outreach Canada Ministries.
Who We Are
We are a team of missionaries serving in the complex demographics of a post-Christian nation. Our ministries are tied to our vision of serving the Canadian church and discipling our nation. We desire to see Canadians discipled to follow and serve Jesus in their homes, workplaces, churches, and communities. When appropriate, we also recruit and send missionaries to serve in other parts of the world. We work through multiple partnerships and networks to help promote collaboration and cooperation among churches, denominations, ministries, and individuals.
Our missionaries are experts in finding creative ways to love, help, and serve others and portray Christ positively in our nation.
Where We Are
OC is uniquely gifted for ministry in the Canadian landscape because of our experience and ability to partner well with others.
As I read, study, and interact with other missionaries, academics, and leaders, I see three major themes in North American Missiology: diaspora missiology, disciple-making movements, and polycentric missions. OC doesn’t just dip our toes in these areas; we are fully immersed as practitioners, facilitators, leaders, and models in all three.
1. Diaspora Missiology
We have reported and observed how OC has a significant ministry with diaspora communities (immigrants). This has been a foundational aspect of our ministry from the beginning, and it continues to grow as Canada increases in intercultural diversity.
Lorna and her team continue to lead well and champion successful resources and partnerships for Diaspora ministry in Canada and abroad. We were recently asked by Lausanne Canada and Tyndale Intercultural Ministry Centre to co-host an event in Vancouver for Diaspora workers. We are trying to build a collaborative community among these workers to share insights, best practices, and community through stronger relationships.
We are still learning, but our team is recognized as leaders in this field.
2. Disciple Making Movements (DMM)
Disciple Making Movements is a term that emerged out of the Church Planting Movements dialogues. Recognizing that church planting is not always fruitful in the long-term multiplication of disciples, DMM emphasizes the importance of multiplication, usually on a micro level.
We have a new team of practitioners who are promoting DMM globally and locally. Jon Luesink is leading our team as we partner with 24:14 Network and others to see DMM facilitators trained in every electoral district of Canada. During the global pandemic, we also leveraged technology to launch new networks of Discovery Bible Studies internationally.
3. Polycentric Leadership
The third buzz topic in missions is polycentric leadership. This is a reaction to the past's more colonial structures of missions, with top-down authority and bottom-up reporting.
Polycentric leadership structures are flat and recognize shared leadership, authority, and responsibility. We see this in partnerships and networks where people work together toward a common outcome.
Without knowing it, OC has become a model for this through our many ministry partnerships, starting with Church Planting Canada, and extending to the MORE Network, Simply Mobilizing Canada, Loving Muslims Together, and the OC Global Alliance. We are pioneering new ways of working together, a model for the future.
Where We Are Going
We Are Growing. I believe that Outreach Canada is in a healthy place and still on the growing side of the organizational life cycle. We have vibrant leaders with a growing vision for how we will inspire disciple-making and transformation in the lives of Canadians and their communities. As we recognize the needs in Canada, our teams continue to respond with new and innovative approaches to building the Kingdom.
- The MORE Network is a great example. What started with the recognized need to do something to help support repatriating missionary kids has now become a strong network that provides family support, third culture kids support, missionary debriefing, crisis intervention, support for missionaries who are homeschooling their children, and so much more.
- The Loving Muslims Together network is another great example. It began as a handful of individuals who felt called to reach Canadian Muslims with the gospel. Today, the network has regional cohorts, denominational partners, weekly blogs, monthly prayer meetings, a national project of partnering churches that pray for local mosques, national consultations, and a growing list of subscribed members.
All our ministries have great potential for continued growth. Our ministry model creates opportunities for people to get involved as team members or associates, which opens doors for more and more people to be involved.
Our family is healthy and strong. Our current list of one hundred and forty members, staff, and associates is the largest that it has been. Not only have we grown in number, but we are growing in diversity of ages, skills, experiences, and cultures. We have outstanding team members who are recognized experts in their fields, and who are recognized across Canada for their servant leadership in many areas. We are aging. We need to continue to attract younger leaders and team members for the future, but God continues to provide us with exceptional people when we need them.
Our finances are stable and growing. Our budget continues to grow each year, and we have been able to operate in the black. While our ministry budget has grown, we also have the added blessing of owning our office space in Delta. We survived the global pandemic and saw growth in personnel and finance despite the recession around us. We have been improving the diversity of our income sources over the past decade, with growing percentages of our income coming through event registrations, project accounts, foundation grants, and service fees, in addition to traditional donations from individuals, churches, and businesses.
Planning for The Future
We expect that Outreach Canada will continue to grow and thrive in the years to come. Our ministry has not been built on the strength and talent of one person but rather a team. We have an outstanding leadership team.
God has built this ministry, and His Spirit has led us through every positive development and movement from day one.
What makes our leadership team great is their humility and commitment to prayer. These are the cornerstones of OC. None of our leaders have ever sought to create a position or platform for themselves, but rather, we have seen this as a place where God works through us to accomplish his purposes.
Recognizing that Outreach Canada belongs to the Lord and exists for His purpose, I know that God has prepared us for the leadership transition ahead of us. When Arnell Motz stepped down, God provided OC with Gerry Kraft to lead for the next 17 years. Gerry built a solid foundation and reputation for our ministry in Canada. When Gerry stepped down in 2007, God sent me to lead the team. We have expanded on our strong foundation and have built a family of ministries and networks that engage with missional needs from coast to coast. I know that as I step into a new role with the OC Global Alliance, God will provide us with the right individual to lead Outreach Canada into the next fruitful season of ministry as we:
- Recognize Critical needs and opportunities.
- Respond with innovation and relevance.
- Rally the body of Christ toward cooperative solutions.
Dr. Craig Kraft is the Executive Director of Outreach Canada. After 15 years of pastoral ministry in western Canada, Craig, with his wife, Heather, served with OC in southern Africa before returning to lead the ministry in Canada. 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. Craig loves to watch sports, work in the yard & spend time in the woods.