August 2022

Aloha Hope Honolulu!

May this month’s Pastor’s Letter find you and yours filled with thanksgiving for what God has done for You, joy for Who God is to you and what God is making you to be in Him, and hope for today and tomorrow no matter what the news or the world around you might show or tell you, in Jesus’ Name!

From Legacy and CAWKI to Worship, Discipleship & Witness (Continued)

Last month, I began writing to you about a discussion our church council and oversight teams had during a recent joint meeting. We agreed that continuing our transition from a legacy church model that used to meet at the Kahala Theaters to even more of a Disciple Making Movement will probably cause discomfort for those who have grown accustomed to Church As We Know It (CAWKI): a format where people attend a weekly 60-90 minute long service, sing along with a worship band, watch and listen to a religious performance, and give some money before going back to their lives. However, our consciences won’t allow us to go back to what used to be "normal" before the pandemic.

If you’ve been joining us in person or online, you may be familiar with the graphic below. It shows how the Western Christian Church moved away from the apostolic foundation of right relationship with God and people and instead encouraged right behavior and right belief that led to right choice. Whereas mature faith in Christ was once measured by love for God and others expressed through words, works and relationships, the Evangelical Church has largely emphasized knowledge over wisdom and faithfulness even in its selection of leaders. This has even contributed to a kind of ageism that values youth, charisma, and expression over what only results from a lifetime of worship, prayer, discipleship, and service at home, work, and play.

IMAGE

As I learned how the structure, programs, and activities of the legacy church model are incapable of making and multiplying disciples because of how entertainment and engagement through events are necessary to sustain sufficient interest and momentum for gatherings, I found myself grateful for how so many of you have been involved in leading, hosting, and gathering as MiniChurches. Why am I so grateful for this shared experience? We are already familiar with the next step in our transition from a legacy church to a Disciple Making Movement: a renewed emphasis on MiniChurch.

Why do I say "renewed"? It has been my observation that while many of our MiniChurches continue to be places where circles of relationship continue to grow in worship, discipleship, and witness, various events and influences, at least since the last presidential election and COVID-19 pandemic have adversely impacted the attendance, frequency, and tone of our MiniChurch gatherings. What kind of renewal am I hoping for our MiniChurches? Even for those who have come to see their MiniChurch as their "church," I pray that we might find practical ways to encourage those who are not part of our MiniChurch towards healthier communities by developing right relationship with God and neighbor as the Word, Spirit, and People of God help us to grow in both right behavior and right belief as the Return of Christ draws nearer.

Applying CARS: Connection, Appreciation, Rest & Skills!

As we continue to learn and practice right-brain and relational skills at our tables and in our breakout rooms, let’s also try to put these into practice in our individual lives and when we gather as MiniChurches. Remember our definition of MiniChurch: two or more people, gathering at least once a month, and devoting their time together to at least one of three pairs of spiritual disciplines—devotion to the teaching of the apostles and to the fellowship, devotion to the breaking of bread and prayer together, devotion to giving towards the needs of others and praising God. If you would like to learn more about "whole-brained worship and discipleship," watch our last DMN series about developing capacity for connection, appreciation, rest, and skill for meaningful relationship with God and one another here [hyperlink "here" to https://vimeo.com/705998776].

Our "Masks Welcome" Stance

As students return to school and many of us continue to care for our elderly parents and young children who have not been vaccinated, I’m grateful for the witness of our love for God and one another through our health checks and "masks welcome" stance. Yes, while I understand and share the concerns of those dealing with the loss of personal rights or inconvenience, my fear of God and belief in the coming judgment and kingdom of God helps me to respect and imitate those who continue to honor and care for the elderly and vulnerable around them. Christ said very clearly, it is by the love we show for one another that we will be identified as His followers (John 13:34-35)!

Thank you for continuing to join me in prayer and working with one another so that our words, works, and relationships might increasingly resemble and represent the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. May the steadfast power, love, and faithfulness of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be revealed to, through, around, and beyond each of us, too, in the Name of Jesus Christ! Amen!

Pastor Corey