Faith News Niagara presents another instalment of "5 Questions", the continuing segment where readers can get to know the local ministers of the region a little better.

Today's 5 Questions article with Noel Walker is from an interview from November, 2017.

1 What is your name, the name of your church ministry, and the length of time you've been at that ministry.

Kevin: Kevin and Karlene Klassen, and the name of the church is Emmanuel Grace Church. And the length of the time... it's interesting, it began as a Bible study, basically…

Karlene: October, 2011.

Kevin:, six years now. And as far as it being our full-time place of ministry and church vocation, it's been about 3 1/2 years.

I was pastoring at St. Ann's Community Church when we began this Bible study. I was an interim pastor there. It turns out that they were looking for an interim, and so one thing led to another. We were there for 3 1/2 years.

God used a lady in my life just to say, "Kevin, if you could articulate what you feel God's call on your life is, what would it be?" And I basically described what we have here at Emmanuel Grace. That was my passion and heartbeat. It's always been for the church.

I felt God say let's start this, so we started this Bible study on Monday nights. And everything was going well. We were at this place where some people wanted us to stay full-time. We were at this place of thinking, well, either we choose to stay long term here, because things are going great and we love the people, or we have to let them move on... like, you know, stop dating and either ask the girl to marry you, or move on! And just in prayer, we felt the Lord saying, "no, I want you to take Emmanuel Grace and the Bible study."

So we just ventured out in faith. We were a small group at that point, and we just said, okay Lord, we don't know how this is going to look, but okay. We just ventured out and started this church plant. It's nondenominational, but under a covering of this couple we've known for about 20 years, in a ministry called Freedom Ministries International, down in the States.

2 What is your favourite pastime: reading, sports, outdoors, etc.

Karlene: I actually like to garden. I also love to read and study. So presently, I just started learning Hebrew. And I love it.

Kevin: for me, I enjoy golfing. That's a typical pastor thing, right? (Laughs.) I really enjoy sports, so in my younger years, before the body started feeling like that of a middle-aged man, I liked to do things like volleyball, basketball, different things like that. But I really enjoy getting out there and golfing with the guys. Other than that… I read, but that's more for study purposes. But as far as just past time stuff, it's pretty simple: I like going on walks and just chilling and relaxing. I love walking and praying. Even when I worked with Penner Lumber down the road here, and I worked there for many years in between things, I would just walk and pray, and enjoy life.

3 Favourite all time (or current) Bible book, Bible story, or Bible passage, and why

Kevin: I've always loved John chapter 9. It's the story of the guy who was born blind, and Jesus heals him. I love all the stories with blind people. For some reason, they would always just hit me. For instance, the story with blind Bartimaeus crying out, "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!" That story, especially! Because at the end, though this blind guy probably had no education, no nothing, he stood for Jesus. And he didn't answer (the Pharisees') questions: you know, like, "whether he's the son of God... whether he's this or that, I don't know; I do know that I was blind and now I can see. That's what I do know."

Karlene: One book that really impacts me is the book of Acts. I was brought up in a traditional, conservative church background, and then I went to YWAM when I was 19, and everything changed. It was just encountering the Holy Spirit in a way that I hadn't before, and recognizing that God can empower me, and fill me in a way so that it's not work. He empowers us to do his good work. So, yeah, it's just about how the Holy Spirit comes on us in power, and how we need to be continually filled. I didn't really understand that before. That definitely impacted me, and it continues to challenge me to also help others to grow in that understanding, because I know many people who don't necessarily believe or understand the power of the Holy Spirit yet.

4 Briefly describe the series of events that brought you to your church, your current role, ministry in general

Kevin: I just always heard a calling on my life to be a pastor, from the time I was young. And I've always had a heart for the church. Now, I understand evangelizing. I want to see the lost saved. But I guess the role that I play in that -- because we all are different, right? Some are pastors, some evangelists some apostles, prophets… it's the five fold ministry in Ephesians, and all that -- the role that I play, my heartbeat, is to see the church become everything that she is meant to be. If the church is everything she is meant to be, the lost would be reached, the sick would be healed, injustices would be solved, and atrocities would be stopped. So my heartbeat is to see you become everything you're meant to be, to see you walk in your giftings, whatever that gifting is. And if you don't know I want to help you find it.

Karlene: Even as a teenager, I wondered if I was supposed to be a missionary. I went on some short term missions with YWAM, but Kevin wanted to be a pastor. While we were dating, I was wondering if God was at work. In the end, I just was sensing that God was saying, "you need to surrender that desire and put it on the table." I thought maybe I wouldn't be able to do it.

So we got married, went to Bible College, and then God kinda orchestrated it so that Kevin could be a pastor in a different country! So that was pretty cool.

I think God has just given me a heart for people of other nations. But I never thought I would have a heart for Muslim people, actually. I've actually began a relationship this year with two Muslim women in St. Catharines. And I love it. And actually, tomorrow I potentially will give another New Testament to one of them, and we'll practice our English and reading and stuff. So anyway, all that to say, I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be able to do cross-cultural mission in the midst of being in a church in Niagara.

5 Briefly describe how you met Jesus

Kevin: I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ at like three years old. And I talked to my mom about it, and she said, yeah, it was genuine. Like, she asked me questions, and I understood. And I can't remember any time in my life where I thought that this wasn't real, I never thought I had to rededicate my life. But one thing God has said to me a number of times is, "You're not who you are solely because of the decisions you make, Kevin." I come from a Christian heritage, and because of the decisions my parents, grandparents, and my great grandparents made, well, I've been building on their decisions as well. And so, yeah, I came to Christ when I was young, and it was real, right from the get-go.

Karlene: I grew up in a Christian home as well. I always wanted to learn about God, and I loved going to Sunday School and Church. But I can't really remember making a decision for Christ as a kid until... my first memory of making an actual decision to follow Jesus is when I was 14 and I went to a Christian camp. They made it very clear, and I wasn't sure (about the future), and was afraid, and so I chose to give my life to Christ. And I know from that point, I wanted to be in the Word, and I wanted to pray unlike I ever had before. So that was how I met Jesus. And then in YWAM, that helped me understand the Holy Spirit's role in the whole relationship too, where I didn't really understand the power of the Holy Spirit before.

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Kevin and Karlene Klassen minister at Emmanuel Grace Church.

5 Questions: Kevin & Karlene Klassen, Emmanuel Grace Church


Promoting God's work, sharing God's resources

December 2017

“If the church is everything she is meant to be, the lost would be reached, the sick would be healed, injustices solved, and atrocities stopped.”


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