Q&A with Jen Oshman (Welcome)

10 Quotes from Welcome

To purchase a copy of Welcome from Westminster Bookstore, click here. To look at more information on Welcome at The Good Book Company, click here.

Q&A with Jen Oshman

Evan: Tell us about yourself?

Jen: My family and I now reside in Colorado, where I was born and raised, but prior to this my husband and kids and I resided in Okinawa, Japan and Brno, Czech Republic. After Mark and I got married nearly 24 years ago, he finished seminary, we had our first baby girl, and we headed overseas to serve with Cadence International as missionaries. In Japan we ministered to American military members and their families and I grew a love for teaching women the Bible, hospitality, and discipleship. They were trully sweet years. During our decade in Japan we had two more daughters by birth and adopted our fourth daughter from Thailand.

In 2013 we made a huge shift and joined Pioneers International. We moved from a tropical island in Asia to the fairly dark Czech Republic in December, right before Christmas. We joined a local Czech church and set about learning the language and preparing to plant a church from our Czech body of believers. Just as that dream was starting to take shape, we were called off the mission field to come back to Colorado and care for my father who was dying from Alzheimer’s and Dementia at the time.

We landed back in Colorado, seven years ago, after about fifteen years away. Our daughters had never lived here and they were ages eight to eighteen. It took us some time to adjust, but God has been merciful! The Lord saw fit to plant a church through our family, here in Parker, a suburb of Denver. We didn’t see this season of stateside ministry coming, but it has been a tremendous joy. Our church, Redemption Parker, turns six years old this week! Lastly during this season in Colorado, I have enjoyed writing a few books (Enough about Me and Cultural Counterfeits, in addition to Welcome) and hosting my weekly podcast on current events and trends called All Things. God has been so kind to us on all three continents!

Evan: What led to you writing this book?

Jen: Our church plant is part of the Acts 29 Network, so when my friends and fellow authors in Acts 29 told me about this new series with The Good Book Company, I was elated to be invited to join. I had read Tony Merida’s original book, Love Your Church, in late 2020 with other women in my church who are leaders. It was immensely encouraging, as we were all reeling from the pandemic and a particularly divisive year. I knew I wanted to be a part of helping others love their churches well.

I’ve had the joy of practicing hospitality on three different continents, in three very different contexts. We’ve been so privileged to form deep friendships with missionaries and church planters all over the world. I have seen up close what it looks to welcome others into one’s life, home, and church in so many different cultures. Part of the fun in writing this book was recounting those stories and examples from all over the globe.

Lastly, I was not raised in a Christian home, so I have distinct memories, as a preteen girl, of walking into church for the first time with my mom. I remember what it was like for the church and its faith to be so foreign to me. I remember what a huge difference it made to receive a kind embrace, a personal invitation, and the heart-felt interest in my life on behalf of my Sunday school teacher. I know what it is to be welcomed well and I hope to pass on the joy and necessity of that to every reader.

Evan: What do you hope readers will take away from Welcome?

Jen: I hope when readers finish this book they will feel energized by the welcome that they have experienced in Jesus. Our Savior stopped at nothing to make us his own. His welcome of us is the most radical and scandalous welcome in all of history. He gave his very life, so that we who are surrendered to him might join his family. My prayer is that I, and every reader, will remember the welcome of Jesus and be moved by Him and His Spirit to welcome others.

It’s easy to get complacent, or to feel ill-equipped or shy. But Jesus welcomed us and tells us to go and do likewise. I hope people will read this with others in their church and honestly evaluate not just their greeting team (though that’s part of it), but more importantly, the way they and their whole body welcomes others in.

Welcoming is so much more than waiting on the inside of a church for people to come to us. Welcoming is going toward the outsider, it’s pursuing the marginalized, it’s being a city on a hill in the midst of a dark generation. My prayer is that readers will feel equipped and encouraged to welcome others into their lives, homes, and church—and ultimately into a relationship with Jesus himself.

Thank you so much Jen! I pray that the Lord blesses your labors for this book and may the church be moved to welcome others because of what Christ has done!

Evan Knies is an elder of North Hills Church in West Monroe, LA. He is husband of Lauren and father to Maesyn. He is a graduate of Boyce College and Southern Seminary.

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