Why We Exist
Hawaii is the only state in the nation that is experiencing faster growth in church attendance than in its population, but the number of people who attend evangelical churches in Hawaii remains lower than 8%. Could the reason be that we have lost our sense of awe and wonder at the gospel?
Every church is driven by something. Some of us are driven by doctrine. We want to stand for a certain set of beliefs; a certain system of theology. Some of us are driven by experiences. We want to experience God in powerful, mystical ways. Some of us are driven by relevance. We want to do whatever it takes to contextualize Christianity to the culture. On the other hand, some are driven by holiness. We want to do everything we can to be distinct and set apart from the culture. Other churches are driven by social justice. We want to love and bless and serve the poor and needy and marginalized.
All of those things are attractive to us because they emphasize an implication of the gospel. God wants us to have strong theology, he wants us to experience him through worship and prayer, and he wants us to bless the poor and marginalized.
The problem comes when we reduce the gospel to any of those things. Then one church becomes the “theology church” down the street from the “social-justice church.” Above all, we should be gospel churches!
That’s why Paul said to the Romans, “I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome” (Romans 1:15). He knew that believers need the gospel just as much as pagans do. As Tim Keller says, “We never get beyond the gospel in our Christian life to something more advanced. The gospel is not the first step in a stairway of truths; rather, it is more like the hub in a wheel of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C's but the A to Z of Christianity.”
As Bryan Chapell summarizes the epic story of the gospel, “God has fulfilled his promise to send a Savior to rescue broken people, restore creation’s glory, and rule over all with compassion and justice.” This means the gospel isn’t just a visa stamp on your passport to show the immigration officer when you get to heaven. It should shape every facet of life and ministry now: “The gospel … has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:5–6).
Unfortunately, the gospel just isn’t enough for many people. We’re always trying to add something to God’s grace. Soon, the issues that drive our churches (such as strengthening families, pursuing social justice, or even studying theology) can start to take on gospel-level importance in our minds. Don Carson discovered this danger early on in his ministry. He says, “People don’t learn everything I teach them. What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasize again and again and again and again. That had better be the gospel.”
And that’s why TGC Hawaii exists. We believe a gospel-centered faith and vision changes everything about a church. When leaders and congregations are enraptured by the undeserved grace of God expressed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, incredible things are bound to happen.
Who We Are
The Hawaii Regional Chapter of The Gospel Coalition is a council of pastors united by our Confessional Statement and Theological Vision for Ministry, which details a gospel-driven approach to individual and church life.
What We Do
Our goal is to multiply gospel-centered churches across the islands and around the world. Our strategy has three parts:
- CONNECT pastors and leaders through fellowship and networking events.
- BUILD leaders and churches through training events and conferences.
- EQUIP leaders to multiply new gospel-centered ministries and churches.