News Articles

VBS partnership boosts sister churches

WAIPAHU, Hawaii (BP)–What does a church do when it can’t host its own Vacation Bible School? It gets creative.

At Hawaii Christian Baptist Church just outside Honolulu, Vacation Bible School is a key strategy for reaching neighbors. Born six years ago and constituted as a church just last year, the congregation meets in the Waikele Community Park Recreation Center. The building is a small but easily accessible site surrounded by lush playing fields and trees in the booming suburbs west of the capital.

“The reason our church wanted to have Vacation Bible School is that we believe it is one of the best ways to reach out to the community for Jesus Christ,” said Rudy Gomintong, pastor of Hawaii Christian.

Plans to hold their first VBS last year were nearly derailed because regular park programming made the facilities unavailable to the church. Undaunted, Gomintong went to a sister congregation, Waipahu Community Christian Church, and found a solution. Hawaii Christian would provide the staff and Waipahu would host VBS for both neighborhoods.

The experience was a good one, and this year the partnership continued.

“Many adults work during the day and many children are in year-round school systems, so it’s very difficult to reach them any time but in the evening,” VBS director Danny Catlin said.

Jerry Wooley, LifeWay’s VBS specialist, commenting on Hawaii Christian’s successful VBS, said, “I hear some churches tell me they can’t do VBS because they don’t have a place. Hawaii Christian debunks that. Share space with another church.”

Gomintong and many in his congregation are of Filipino descent, one of the largest ethnic groups in the state. Unlike other areas of the United States, there is no racial or ethnic majority in Hawaii. Those of Asian ancestry account for 41 percent; white, 27 percent; two or more races, 20 percent; native Hawaiian, 9 percent; and others, 3 percent.

The pastor said the diversity of Hawaii’s population actually provides a big plus for their summer outreach efforts.

“All the children in different ethnic groups are very willing to come out to VBS,” he said. “We also wanted to reach out to their parents and make the most of this opportunity to develop relationships and reach out for Jesus Christ. We find Vacation Bible School is a stepping stone to getting to share the Gospel. It’s our hearts’ desire to reach out.”
Polly House is a corporate communications specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    About the Author

  • Polly House