Hawaiian church founded by professional surfer celebrates baptizing 2,000 people in 7 years

A worship gathering held at Kumulani Chapel in Maui, a congregation affiliated with Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. | Harvest

A Hawaiian church founded by a professional surfer now affiliated with Pastor Greg Laurie’s Harvest Christian Fellowship recently celebrated having baptized as many as 2,000 people over the last seven years.

Harvest at Kumulani Chapel, located on the island of Maui, was visited by Pastor Laurie and his wife, Cathe, late last month to mark seven years since the congregation joined the Harvest network.

Laurie had taken over the church at the request of Ricky Ryan, a pro surfer who founded the Kumulani Chapel in the early 1980s, with it starting out as a small Bible study group.

In an emailed statement to The Christian Post, Laurie said, “Ricky wanted to retire and asked me if we would be willing to bring Kumulani into the Harvest Church family.”

Pastor Greg Laurie speaks at a worship gathering held at Kumulani Chapel in Maui, a congregation affiliated with Harvest Christian Fellowship. | Harvest

Laurie added that “it was not as easy of a decision as you may think,” as the distance between the Hawaiian chapel and Laurie’s California-based main campus is considerable.

“They were going from a hearing a live preacher to a live video feed of me and my son, Jonathan, speaking from our church in California,” Laurie said.

“We encouraged the leadership to come to California and see how it worked, which they did. After months of prayer, we decided to do it. We finally merged and renamed it ‘Harvest Kumulani.’”

While most Sundays the congregation listens to a virtual message from Laurie, the Harvest senior pastor does occasionally visit the chapel and lead worship in person.

Since the chapel became a Harvest campus, the congregation has doubled to approximately 1,000 regular attendees, with about 2,000 people having been baptized at the chapel since 2016.

Laurie told CP that he attributed this growth to the “beautiful, family-like feel” of the congregation, as they “each meet with each other constantly and generally do life together.”

“They live out their faith and impact those around them,” he added. “They do so much for the community, including a church preschool and outreach events through the year, including Thanksgiving where over 1,000 people are provided a free meal with all the fixings.”

According to Laurie, one of the unique aspects of Harvest Kumulani is the large number of visitors they get every week, with the Harvest leader estimating that about 30% of those present for worship are vacationers to Maui.

“Jesus told us to ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel,’ but in a very real sense, all the world comes to Maui to vacation,” Laurie said. “Many come to this beautiful island looking to escape, but many end up at our church receiving Christ into their lives.”

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