Serving the Lord in Hawaii for over 60 years
Pioneers in the Pacific
While pastoring in Quincy, Massachusetts, the General Council Missionary Director, Noel Perkin, requested for Rev. and Mrs. Eldon Vincent to go to Honolulu to pioneer a church. A few days after arriving, the Vincents were introduced to Brother and Sister Woodrow Yasuhara, who were at that time attending a Holiness Church.
On February 23, 1947, the first service was held in the old Lincoln School auditorium across from Thomas Square. Eventually, an empty lot at the corner of Lunalilo Street and Victoria Street was purchased. Services were held in the open air under a canopy on the front lawn of the lot.
A business man (at that time), Mr. Frank Fasi, was donating ten 20′ x 52′ quonset huts to worthy organizations. The Vincents applied and received one, moving it onto the property in April, 1948. For the next few months, services were held in the small quonset. Then in June, it became necessary to move into the church building even though it was not completed.
The first Island-wide Convention on the Assemblies of God in Hawaii was held at Honolulu’s First Assembly of God in May, 1950, at which time the new church building was dedicated on Sunday afternoon, May 21, with Brother Noel Perkin as speaker.
During Pastor Sturgeon’s tenure, there was a need for dressing up the old church building. The congregation worked together, cleaning out the basement and re-decorating the main auditorium.
The building program of the high-rise apartment on the rear of the church property was a much-planned program, which was finally accomplished by a miracle. The members of the church who had so faithfully supported the Lord’s program over the years were given the first opportunity and priority in price to purchase these apartments, which was quickly taken advantage of.
The Sassers arrived in Honolulu to take up the pastorate in February of 1973. Responding to an invitation to come and pastor First Assembly found them immediately involved in the building of a high-rise condominium and increased parking facilities adjacent to the church property. Renovation of the church and the building of additional educational facilities were also accomplished during the four years of Pastor Sasser’s tenure.
The church grew in spirit and in number during this time, and with extended hands, opened their doors for the Samoan and Korean community to hold services. The “Golden Fellowship” ministry was formed under the direction of Pastor Henry Kahalehili. Daily radio programs on KAIM with Pastor Sasser blessed the community with good teaching from the Word of God.
Growth and expansion
In September of 1976, Dr. and Mrs. Roy G. Sapp were elected to pastor First Assembly of God. Pastor Sapp reorganized the Aloha Kindergarten into the Aloha Day Care and Pre-School, which in turn became the forerunner of Christian Academy, formed in 1980.
1977 was a year of ministry explosion. The third floor of the main building was remodeled to provide classroom space for the adult Sunday School, which was revamped and called, “School for Christian Growth,” under the direction of Pastor James Morocco (now pastor of King’s Cathedral and Chapels).
Spurred by the rapid growth, Pastor Sapp sought God for a way to minister more effectively to the body. In 1979, the first home Bible study groups were formed so that the people would be ministered to in a small-group environment. This was the beginning of our small group ministry, known today as Net groups.
Under Pastor Sapp, the congregation grew considerably, reaching nearly 2,500 people, with five services held each Sunday. Ministries continued to grow to reach the various age levels and needs of the people. ACTS XXIX was founded as a Discipleship Training Center under the direction of Pastor Doug Gugudan. The Music Department continued to grow and impact the community with the production of “The Witness” and “The Singing Christmas Tree.”
It was soon apparent that the church had once more outgrown its facilities. After considerable prayer and intercession, God directed the church to relocate to Red Hill, where the church presently resides. To purchase the Red Hill property, the Lunalilo Street property, and a residential property on Thurston Avenue owned by the church were sold. The congregation pledged and gave sacrificially in finances, time, and labor towards the purchase of the new site and the construction of the new church facility.
1990 to present day
In October 1990, though the facilities were not fully completed, First Assembly moved to its new home at 3400 Moanalua Road on Red Hill. A multi-purpose building was constructed that is now the home of First Assembly’s main campus, church offices, and Christian Academy school.
Upon Pastor Sapp’s retirement in 1994, Associate Pastors Klayton and Sharon Ko were voted in as our Senior Pastors at the annual business meeting in August 1994. A year later at the annual business meeting in 1995 they were confirmed by a majority vote as Senior Pastors by the membership.
Being raised up in First Assembly of God has proven invaluable in helping Pastor Ko to carry on the vision from the previous pastors into newer heights.
Pastor Ko began his ministry at First Assembly of God in 1984, as Pastor of Charisma, a College-age group. In 1987, he launched a discipleship ministry called Christian Discipleship Training (CDT) which still helps the church in fulfilling its mission of making disciples of all nations. In 1989, when Charisma and Singles Christian Fellowship was merged into one group, Pastor Ko was appointed as the Pastor of a newly formed singles group called Island Christian Singles. During 1991-1993 in addition to his many ministerial responsibilities, Pastor Ko was asked to add to his portfolio the role of Church Administrator, and later in the final year before Pastor Sapp’s retirement, he became the Superintendent of Christian Academy School in 1993.
With a passion for the Lord and a vision for the lost, Pastor Ko’s greatest desire has been to see the church come back to a place of holiness and hunger for more of God. His prayer is for the glory of the Lord to be seen in the church in fulfillment of God’s prophetic call that First Assembly of God be a Lighthouse to the Pacific.
In 1998 First Assembly sent its first missionary team to Uganda, Africa. As of 2012, First Assembly of God has active missions projects in over nine different countries. In 1999 we launched our first regional center in Kahalu‘u, and have since added four more. In 2003 our church held its first Encounter weekend, and we continue to hold multiple encounters every year, impacting hundreds of lives.
New things happen every day! If you’re not yet a member of our church, we encourage you to join us as God writes the next chapter in our history.