Father’s House: Building Trust, Sharing Christ

Father’s House: Building Trust, Sharing Christ

An Interview with Debbie Kunst

A church plant out of Evangel Assembly in Edmonton, Father’s House is reaching out to the people of Edmonton’s downtown core, “Finding and sharing freedom through the love of Christ” as their motto encourages. Debbie Kunst gives us a look at what God is doing in and through them to bring the hope of the gospel to those they meet, along with help for practical needs.

How was the idea for your outreach conceived?

Sixteen years ago I was asked to take on outreach as part of my portfolio. Our church, Evangel Pentecostal Assembly, was located in the suburbs of Edmonton. We were a large church situated in an area that was mostly affluent and comfortable. I began to build a team of people with an interest in reaching out to the inner city of Edmonton. We were going to go where the poor and homeless of our city gathered and our goal was to engage people with the message of Christ’s love. 

Who were the people on the team helping to lead and facilitate it?

The team of people that came together was a very mixed group. At first we were a few women, a couple of men, my son, daughter, and some of their friends.  We knew we could not go empty handed so we put together a few sandwiches, some hot chocolate and brought a folding table to serve on. We had met together to plan and pray for several nights and then one evening we set out to do “outreach”! Honestly, I didn’t even know exactly where we were going, but I felt God would lead us to the right spot … and He did!

What was the most rewarding thing you remember about what happened next?

Something we realized at the start of our outreach was that we could not just do it for a few weeks or months and then fizzle out! We were there to build relationships with people and they would be trusting us. We could not fail! Very quickly, the ministry grew to the point of us feeding more then 150 people lined up a block long. Someone volunteered to cook hot food, a team of ladies came forward to make 450 sandwiches, and we began to give clothing, shoes, blankets, toiletries and copies of the Bible! It felt like we barely breathed a prayer request of what we needed before God supplied! One night, early on in the ministry, a man came to me asking for boots. At that time we had only just begun to bring a few clothing items with us. I told the man we had no boots but that we could pray and ask God to supply some. We gathered in a circle to pray and while we were praying one of my team members began tapping me on the shoulder! “Pastor Debbie, look!” A man had driven up in an SUV, opened the back hatch and said, “I have boots here. Can you use them?” The boots were brand new, still in boxes with various sizes. The gentleman we had been praying with went home with warm feet and a sense of awe in a God who loved him just that much! God continues to meet our needs in amazing ways.

What was most surprising?

When we began this outreach, it seemed that it was mostly women lifting and carrying heavy tubs of food and clothing. I began to cry out to God to send us some men. He did! One of our young adults had started working with Youth for Christ. He began bringing high school students to “help feed the homeless.”  Soon we had 12 to 15 youth joining our team. In the end it was an outreach in more ways than one. Many of those students came to a knowledge of Jesus and grew in their faith. Today the men far outnumber the women on our Tuesday night Inner City Team.

And most surprising—four years ago, Evangel decided to plant a church. Guess where we planted? In the inner city of Edmonton! Now I am here full time with a loving congregation that continues to reach out to our community. Who knew?

How would you encourage others wanting to see God reach people’s hearts in other communities around Canada?

What do you hear God saying to you? What dreams, visions or ideas are floating around in your heart? Don’t be afraid to step out, even if it’s just baby steps! Look for people who will go with you and who have a similar dream. Be ready to stay the course and do not give up too soon. Be sure you know what your goal is. What are you aiming for? How will you measure your success? Is it a “God success”? And pray. Don’t stop praying. Never take God’s blessing and provision for granted. Keep Him at the centre of what you are doing. And remember, He is always doing more then you will ever see! Sometimes, He lets you have a glimpse and that’s awesome!


Debbie Kunst is the lead pastor of Father’s House in Edmonton, Alberta. Visit http://www.edmontonfathershouse.org/info.html. Photo © istockphoto.com.


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