At Winter Conference, we sat down for coffee and a chat with the Reverend Peter Klenner, pastor of All Saints Community Church in White Rock, British Columbia. Fr. Klenner and his wife, Jenny, are from Australia, where he served as Executive Director for Youth For Christ, Western Australia for a number of years. After attending Regent College in Vancouver, the Klenners decided to stay in Canada, founding All Saints Community Church White Rock in their living room in 2007. Pull up a chair and join us as we hear about what the Lord is doing in Fr. Klenner’s life and ministry.
What gets you up in the morning (energizes/motivates you)?
What motivates me is simple obedience. Even in my ministry, I try to view everything through the grid of simplicity and obedience. Moment by moment, I try to live in the present tense. I have a Type A personality and have had to learn to go with the flow.
I strive to live a simple Christian life, which ends up being pretty countercultural. We haven’t had a TV for 30 years, I’m not on Facebook, and I don’t text. A lot of the disciplines in my life are there so I can have integrity of relationship. Relationships are hugely important to me. I am much more interested in who people are than what they can do.
What is your daily devotional rhythm, or what does your own spiritual formation look like on a daily basis?
Each day I am trying to practice the presence of God. Like Brother Lawrence, my desire is to grow until I am aware of the presence of God all day long.
On a weekly basis, I have a rhythm: On Sundays I worship, on Mondays I observe a Sabbath, and on Tuesdays through Fridays I start most days with the Scriptures as I prepare for my next sermon.
What is the most encouraging or memorable thing that happened in your life and ministry in the last year?
In general, I love watching people in our community grow spiritually, and not just in knowledge. People come and go all the time, even in our small community, so numbers don’t really motivate me. But I love watching people understand not just what the Gospel says but what it says to and for them.
What person has most impacted your life, and why?
Eugene Peterson has had the biggest influence in the last few years. I got to know him personally when I was a student at Regent.
Peterson has influenced my definition of pastoral ministry. In his book, Working the Angles, he uses geometry as a metaphor. If you ask most pastors to define ministry, they’ll do it in terms of teaching, preaching, and administration. Peterson compares these to the sides of a triangle. They are important, but they can’t shape your ministry. What shapes the triangle are the angles, which in ministry are prayer, reading scripture, and journeying with people. You have to work the angles to shape the triangle.
What is one accomplishment in the past that you are proud of, and what is one thing that you would like to accomplish in the future?
Whenever we set goals for the church, we begin by seeing who God sent us and build ministries around that. When we moved into our current church building, we were blessed to have Archbishop Yong Ping Chung and his wife, Julia, with us. Before we had our first service, Julia prayed over each of the pews. When she reached the pew four rows from the back, she said “God is going to fill this pew with a family of children.” Sure enough, a family of four began attending our church and sat in the pew Julia prayed for. Soon after, another woman came and said she wanted work with kids. We have eight to nine kids coming every week now, and it is all God’s work.
In the future, I want to keep following the great commandment to go into the world and make disciples.