Pastor Greg Laurie and his wife Cathe are best known for running two Harvest Christian Fellowship churches at Riverside and Irvine on the outskirts of Los Angeles. But they also run Harvest at Kumulani Chapel in an open-air building on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
They took it over from a friend seven years ago, so it already had many regular churchgoers. Pastor Greg stressed to CBN News: “We did pray about this! It wasn’t as easy as you would think and everyone thinks, oh Hawaii, of course, you would say yes. But you know this was a pre-existing congregation and now they’re going to have a video feed, and that’s what we give them, we give them a live video feed of what’s happening in California and it has worked beautifully.”
“The church has doubled in size and since we took it over, we’ve seen some 2,000 people make a profession of faith to follow Christ,” Greg rejoiced. He and Cathe make several visits to the Maui camp every year, often to baptise new members of the flock at the beach. Dozens recently lined up after a Sunday service to take the plunge which is in increasing demand thanks to the popularity of the Jesus Revolution movie.
The Lauries say what makes Kumulani unique is that at any given service, visitors from mainland USA and other countries make up around 30% of the congregation. “It’s amazing, every time we come, we meet people from all over the country and in some cases, all over the world and it’s a joy to be here with the flock that live here on Maui. It’s a very special place, the people are so friendly, this congregation has open arms for everyone,” Cathe remarked.
CBN News reports Maui is another mission field for the Lauries to preach the Gospel and baptise new believers. Although Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth and people come from all over the world to enjoy it, it’s also a place where people come searching for something. Even if they don’t know what it is, Pastor Greg knows it’s Jesus they’re looking for.
“I think sometimes people think, ‘If I lived in Hawaii, I’d find what I’m looking for.’ And people come and there is a lot of things the Island offers but it’s not in Hawaii, it’s not in the bottom of the ocean, it’s not in flying a rocket into space, how many homes you own or all these things, it’s in a relationship with God – that’s what people are really looking for,” he proclaimed.
Cathe explained: “It doesn’t take very long before you realise you just keep coming up empty, over and over again. So, what we want to do is preach the Gospel in such a way that they don’t see it as just this church thing that you do on Sunday and you check the box, but it actually becomes a living, breathing part of your life.”
After losing part of his leg in a motorcycle accident while living in California, Shawn Lewis told CBN News he lost his faith. Then he came to Maui five years ago to find himself and met Jesus instead. “I got into adaptive surfing. These guys surf a lot here and it’s just a really great fit for me and the guys. We have so much fun in the water. This church has helped me out so much, it’s a blessing,” he acclaimed.
Shelly Voelker who moved to Maui in 2015 from Missouri said: “We came with some friends who kept inviting us and we hadn’t found a church home yet and we haven’t looked back since, we come here every Sunday.”
Stephanie Mirich who runs the women’s and children’s ministries at Kumulani says this is a very special congregation. “The Aloha spirit is everywhere and that’s what really opens up people’s hearts, everybody feels like family,” she said.