New Hope East Hawaii
Nestled in one of the most beautiful places on Earth is the small town of Keaau, Hawaii. With a population of just over 2,000 and comprising less than three square miles, the scenic municipality is home to New Hope East Hawaii, pastored by Scott Shiroma and his wife, Christie. Along with their two daughters, Kayla and Britney, they have mastered the art of what it means to minister in local style with lots of love.
“To minister in a local style includes a lot of food—and free food, too,” says Pastor Scott. “Whenever we can serve food, people tend to stick around, and that is when I get to sit and get to know them better.”
The church enjoys holding outdoor activities that double as outreaches. Case in point, the picnics they host for local families, during which they conduct water baptisms. The truth becomes clear: God loves you, and so do we.
“Every week, I try to sit with someone new, and I also encourage our leaders to do the same,” explains the 45-year-old pastor. “There is someone in our church who always invites [new people] over for a meal. When people get sick, we as a church take turns bringing meals to the family.”
Pastor Scott’s heart for people became the fulcrum of his call to ministry. He told Foursquare.org he never had a particular desire to become a pastor; he did so out of obedience to God, his main desires all along being to get to know God better and help others.
“I have a great passion for people,” he explains. “I find myself drawn to love the ones who seem to get in trouble a lot; I don’t know why. I find myself always wanting to give people one more chance when everyone seems to have given up on them.”
At New Hope East Hawaii, serving others is a family activity. Pastor Scott notes that his wife and daughters have gotten up early every Sunday without complaining, and they help prepare for the services. Christie and Britney help with the meeting setup, make coffee and hot water for tea, and help prepare the food line. Kayla helps set up the sound and plays for the worship time every other week.
All the work is well worth it. Pastor Scott tells the story of one man who was thinking of visiting, but was burned out with church. After coming for a few weeks, however, Scott says he found his passion to serve the Lord. He soon developed a discipleship plan and equipped the teachers to implement it.
“Seeing people give their lives to Jesus and [experiencing] authentic life-change” is what it’s all about, Scott says. That, and “[watching] people find joy in serving the Lord,” are among his most joyful moments.
By: Bill Shepson, a Foursquare credentialed minister and freelance writer in Los Angeles