Over the past few years, I’ve been working with YWAM Kona off and on. And, when I’m here in Hawaii, I attend a church called, the Pu’uanahulu Baptist Church, also known as the “Little Red Church” because of its color. Since the church is near one of the largest YWAM bases in the world, students and staff come, and since this church is a historical landmark, we get the tourists, and of course there are the regular local Baptist attenders. On an average Sunday, we probably have 25-30 adults in the sanctuary, which is really just a one room school house with a Sunday school out on the lawn for the kids. I’ve filled in preaching there from time to time and have attended since 2007… when I’m in town.
So, through a series of events relating to his family and the Lord’s leadings, my good friend, Derek, who pastors the church, is taking his family and moving to Colorado, ending his time on the island. Since I spent several days up at his place recovering from a recent hernia operation, I was “in on” these conversations with Derek and his wife. As I spent time with them, processing and thinking about how we as believers try to hear from and obey God, the logical question was, “Who will pastor the church when you leave?” Almost as soon as I asked it, I felt a strong impression that it would be me… like God was challenging me to at least be willing. So I decided if it were needed and if it were possible, I’d do it. I wondered if I’d even qualify-never having been to seminary and not being ordained. I thought, “I HAVE done weddings, lead worship, preached, and already know most of the congregation, but would I be qualified? I doubt it.” All this was running in my head, so I asked it out loud, just so I could at least turn speculation into reality.
As is often the case, things in Hawaii are more relaxed, and it’s absolutely possible. You don’t need to go to seminary to become a pastor here. It’s about being the man the church “puts forward” combined with an interview and ordination process that happens in front of a panel of Baptist pastors working in Hawaii. Assuming that all goes well, you’re all set…
So over the past couple weeks, I’ve been preparing for this process and this morning (Sunday), I had the honor of being unanimously voted “in” by the congregation. My Mom and sister, Birgitta, were even there! My involvement with YWAM will change as I make the transition over the next few months, but since the church commitment is only about 20 hours a week, it’s possible to continue my volunteer work on a part time basis. They have the interview set for February 20 and, assuming I get past that, the ordination ceremony the following afternoon. Derek’s last Sunday will be March 6 and I trust God to move me along and light the way one step at a time…
“Mahalo” and blessings to you!