Introduction to Creative Hospitality

Rick Burdett /Tuesday, January 18, 2022


In November, the greater Vancouver area known as the “Lower Mainland” received unprecedented, unending rainfall creating massive flooding. Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes. In some cases, whole towns were evacuated.

Strangers were unexpectedly thrust into the lives of other strangers.

When Strangers Meet Strangers

What happens when strangers meet strangers?

Many times, it depends on the circumstances they encounter. In times like the flooding of the Lower Mainland, there are common needs, common suffering that draws strangers together. We hear and read stories of great compassion and sacrifice. Homes open up for those suddenly with no home to go to. Food gets shared, vehicles loaned, money given.

The common experience draws us to be kind and generous to the stranger.

Other times under different circumstances when there is no apparent common shared need or experience, strangers can easily ignore the stranger in front of them. We lead busy, complicated lives. There are relational touch points to be sure; we tend to find time and the means for family and friends.

Busyness tends to stifle our ability and perhaps our desire to engage with the stranger.

It is striking how we humans can so easily ignore the one universally shared common experience we have in common: our humanity. In all of creation, humans are a unique creation of God. We may not share common circumstances of how we live. We are racially diverse, economically different, politically and geographically challenged.

Yet our common human experience unites us regardless of our lack of sameness. We are all created by a loving God who loves each one of us. As humans we all fall incredibly short of being the people God intended us to be when He created us and set us on the planet.

Our human experience involves our need for love, the expression of emotions and relationships with other humans and the rest of creation. As Christians, we understand that when we have a relationship with God, our Creator, we will experience all the emotions, relationships and love we were created to have. Our shared experience is our struggle to have this relationship with our Creator.

We are strangers together with the common experience of sin and the common need for a savior.

Creative Hospitality

In the same way people reached out to strangers in the flooded Lower Mainland with compassion and hospitality, as disciples of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to share His love and gift of salvation.

For the first quarter of 2022, Outreach Canada is focusing our attention on sharing the message of Jesus by way of hospitality. We will be publishing blogs and posting on social media ways we can creatively show hospitality to the strangers among us. We invite you to engage with us on how to extend the life-giving message of love and salvation to a world that is in crisis and has a desperate need for help.

Quoting our Executive Director, Dr. Craig Kraft, whose doctoral work focused on this key area of Christian Hospitality, “Hospitality does not have to be complicated.  There are simple things that we can do to live out the words of Jesus and love one another.  I hope that you can identify with one or more of the suggestions ‘offered’ and ask the Lord to guide you as you welcome strangers into your life.”

You can check out Welcoming Strangers: 4 Oppportunities for Hospitality for opportunities, for individuals and churches, to demonstrate hospitality to immigrants and other 'strangers'.

We hope you will engage with our team members in the coming months as they share their unique insights on this vital area of service to our Lord.

When Rick Burdett was a kid, he dreamed of being a professional football player. Now, he’s the Chief Operations Officer at Outreach Canada. Before joining OC in 2019, Rick served as an executive pastor in two churches over 22 years. If Rick had a free afternoon, you might find him fishing, kayaking, bike riding or napping. Rick is passionate about working with and supporting people who are sacrificially loving lost people into the kingdom of God. He loves listening to the stories of how God is using team members to bless our culture & world.


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