Aloha Kalikimaka, Hope Honolulu!
As Christmas draws near and 2022 comes to an end, it seemed good for me to share some updates on what’s going on with Hope Honolulu:
Advent and Christmas Eve Celebration
After working our way through the Gospel of Mark (since Mark’s narrative of the good news of Jesus Christ was based on Peter’s eyewitness account) and Peter’s First and Second Letters to the Churches, we began working our way through 1 John. This book was written by the apostle John near the end of his life here on earth and focused on reminding the believers of his time about the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the Person and Message of Jesus Christ. Working our way through 1 John, while somewhat unconventional, is a great way to remind one another of who Jesus is and what He has said, done and promised as we celebrate His birth in just a few weeks. In keeping with the celebration of Christ’s birth, we will not meet on Christmas Sunday but instead host a Christmas Eve Love Feast on Saturday, December 24th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. We hope to see you there!
2022 Annual Report
If you weren’t with us live or online on Sunday, November 27, 2022, you missed our annual report. If you’re interested enough to read this far, please allow me to briefly share a few highlights from our report:
a) We confirmed Joel Kumabe to join our church council effective January 1, 2023. Joel has served in executive roles in various industries locally, is a licensed Foursquare minister, has served as a senior pastor before and leads a MiniChurch with Hope Honolulu. We’re very glad and grateful for Joel. And while I’m expressing gratitude for Joel, I also want to acknowledge Ron Nishihara as he steps down after serving thirteen (13) years with previous leadership and agreeing to serve an additional five (5) years in the transition on our council and as our Vice President. I look forward to what God will do through Ron as he seeks to take on a teaching elder role while continuing to lead a MiniChurch!
b) While our live celebration attendance has continued to average around 46 people since last November, our Zoom attendance has dropped significantly. We’re prayerfully considering the following for 2023: continuing to use Zoom to both broadcast and record our live Sunday gatherings to replace my weekly teaching videos, ending our weekly hosting of Zoom breakout rooms, and continuing to provide weekly Sample Discussion videos. The weekly Zoom audio will eventually find its way to our weekday radio broadcasts on KGU-FM 99.5.
c) Our income has dropped 20% from 2021 to 2022 even as we increased our spending to fulfill our monthly financial obligations. This has been a trend for other churches that lease or rent meeting spaces as we do.
d) Nevertheless, in 2023 we will press onward, forecasting a 45% increase in income which we hope to see through the sharing of our space with another church or two as well as adding a weekday service to augment our present Sunday morning gatherings.
e) Despite our aging and shrinking congregation, however, we will strengthen our focus on prayer and meaningful relationships, continue to partner with our district as well as Foursquare churches in Japan, and trust God for the fulfillment of our vision for 100,000 tables of disciples.
f) We continue to be thankful for how God has helped us to host Zoom simulcasts week in and week out since January 2, 2022. We are grateful for the opportunities to host our District’s international reception, coaching new minister candidates, renewing our Hope for You broadcast on KGU-FM 99.5, and for how God has both granted us favor with our landlord and hope for the future!
Celebration Sabbath: January 1, 2023
We will not be hosting services on Sunday, January 1, 2023, but will begin again in earnest on Sunday, January 8, 2023. This is an expression of our continuing effort to appreciate our volunteers and move church out of "the fourth place" and into our homes, workplaces, and where people gather and play.
Loving Everyone Big and Small, Young and Old
I’m grateful to report that our live Children’s Church during Sunday morning celebrations has gone well thanks to our Children’s Church Team. If you’ve been joining our live celebration gatherings, you’ve likely noticed that we encourage children to remain with their parents during our worship times because we want children to have the opportunity to see and hear their parents worship God, too, before they go off to their own time of worship and learning. If you have been with us in person, you have also probably noticed that far fewer people are wearing colored wristbands, but that’s not because we have stopped our health and temperature checks at the door!
We’re still checking everyone—staff and guests—but only using the colored wristbands for parents and children who are part of Children’s Church. We will continue to be grateful for your cooperation and consideration in shared witness of our love for God and each other as we continue with our health checks and "masks welcome" stance. As I have written and said many times before, choosing to fulfill our responsibilities rather than exercise our rights may make our church gatherings a little less inviting to some, but God’s Word is clear: it’s our love for one another that proves we are Christ’s disciples (John 13:34-35)!
I pray that the steadfast power, love and faithfulness of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit would be revealed to, through, around and beyond each one of you, as we remember the birth and promise of Jesus Christ and remind those around us of the wonders of God’s love, in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen!