Mission to serve

In Bruce Baumgartner’s truck, sitting outside Calvary Chapel Lihue church on Thursday, was an oven. It was one of those commercial ovens, ideal for preparing food for many.

The pastor of the church (that recently opened at 3-3100 Kuhio Hwy) believes it will receive a lot of use, from serving the congregation after services or for special events, to serving the homeless and the hungry, too.

“We really did a lot of work to make this a great, full-time facility,” Baumgartner said on another hot, muggy afternoon.

Calvary Chapel Lihue took over the former restaurant site and turned 4,200 square feet into a sanctuary, office space, children’s ministry area, and a resource center, too.

There’s still quite a bit of work left on the kitchen, with many pieces of equipment and appliances needed, but it will happen, he said, smiling.

“That’s the only piece we have,” he said of the commercial oven.

Calvary Chapel Lihue had been meeting at a warehouse in the Lihue industrial center for two and a half years, when it was founded.

“It was a wonderful starting place, but we knew it needed to be temporary,” Baumgartner said. “From the very beginning we made plans to find something of our own we could move into.”

The sanctuary holds close to 200, and is already running close to capacity for the 9:30 a.m. Sunday service. The church is considering adding a second service.

Baumgartner likes the location just off Kuhio Highway. Visibility is good, access is easy and parking is plentiful.

As well, it’s an area where there are people passing by who sometimes need a hand.

“There’s a lot of people in need here,” he said. “They’re recognizing what we’re here for.”

The church has shirts with the words, “How can I pray for you?” printed on them. It’s not just a rhetorical question. Calvary Chapel Lihue wants to step out, arms wide open.

“That’s one of the focuses of what we want to be,” he said. “If people passing by are feeling down, we want them to stop in.”

The church offers ministries for youth, women, men and college students. It offers Bible studies, too. The resource center, next door to the sanctuary, carries books, CDs, DVDs, shirts and other items. Some can be purchased, others borrowed.

The paid staff, and we’re not talking a whole lot of money, is Baumgartner. He depends on, and receives, lots of help. “Everyone is volunteer, basically,” he said.

The Calvary Chapel church founder is Chuck Smith, based in California.

As people were raised up and sent out, the church has grown. Today, there are thousands of Calvary Chapel churches around the world.

Calvary Chapel Lihue, Baumgartner said, is associated with those churches, kind of a “fellowship.”

But there are no political or governmental ties. Each church stands on its own. The church emphasizes verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book study and teaching of the Bible. It has a contemporary worship with a focus on family involvement’s.

“We all commit to being united together under that umbrella, the teaching style, the teaching doctrine,” he said.

Baumgartner arrived on Kauai about 10 years ago to be part of Calvary Chapel Kauai in Kapaa as assistant pastor and worship leader. He remained there seven years before church leaders decided to plant another church, and asked Baumgartner about being senior pastor.

He agreed and made the move to Lihue.

“The Lord kind of put it on my heart at that time to do that,” he said.

Calvary Chapel Lihue’s slogan, if you will, is “seeking to know Him and make Him known.”

“We also want to be a ‘how can I pray for you church,’” he said.

Baumgartner said the church wants to be out serving the community, whether that might be cleaning up public housing, delivering food to seniors or collecting supplies for students.

Another shirt the church might soon carry, Baumgartner said, may read, “How can we help you?”

“That’s who we want to be,” he said.

Info: (808) 245-WORD or www.cclihue.com

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