Christian Colleges in Hawaii

Hawaii's religious landscape provides a host of resources for Christians. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 63% of adults in the state identify themselves as Christian, and the largest denominations represented among Christians in Hawaii are Evangelical Protestant (25%) and Catholic (20%). With 44% describing religion as "very important" and 28% attending religious services at least once per week, opportunities abound in Hawaii for Christian students seeking fellowship.

63% of adults in the state identify themselves as Christian, and the largest denominations represented among Christians in Hawaii are Evangelical Protestant (25%) and Catholic (20%). Pew Research Center

Christian students can choose among four private Christian colleges in Hawaii: Southern Baptist, Mormon, Catholic, and Protestant. The state is also home to Hawaii Theological Seminary through which students can pursue a certificate in biblical studies, although the seminary does not confer academic degrees. Bible colleges in Hawaii offer additional church-based continuing education classes in biblical studies.

On-campus programs at Christian colleges in Hawaii include liberal arts, cyber security, criminal justice, business administration, and theology. Online programs include general studies, education, psychology, theology, and business administration. Some state colleges also offer coursework in religious studies for online learners. Christian colleges match their secular counterparts in academic rigor, while offering Hawaii Christian college students additional opportunities for religious studies in areas such as theology, ministry, pastoral studies, and Christian counseling.

Online Christian colleges offer many benefits for students interested in approaching their studies from a Christian point of view. While each school maintains its own unique mission and vision, in general you can expect an education that fosters practical skills while integrating Christian principles. Flexibility and work-from-home convenience rank among the chief attractions for many distance learners, as online programs enable working professionals and students with church or parenting obligations to access asynchronous (pre-recorded) classes at any time.

Cost savings provide another incentive to enroll in online programs since students can avoid the costs of commuting and on-campus housing. Many Christian colleges in Hawaii also provide spiritual counseling and support for online learners through live streams of worship services, discussion groups, synchronous group prayer sessions, and online forums.

Online Christian colleges foster leadership skills appropriate for the ministry, offer an enriched sense of belonging and community among like-minded peers who share similar religious values, and often offer a smaller student body than many secular colleges, meaning more opportunities for personalized attention from instructors. Choosing to enroll in an online Christian program in Hawaii can provide a strong foundation for your future, blending Christian teachings with academics in a way that works for your schedule.

A college education represents a significant investment of time and funds, making it imperative to consider a variety of factors in your decision. To find the right Christian online college for you, start by looking at academic rigor, availability of program offerings and specific classes that match your interests, and opportunities for spiritual growth and nourishment. Does the school offer a liberal arts education? What makes this school unique? How does it help nurture and grow students' faith? Are degrees focused on Bible studies or ministry? Other factors to consider as you investigate schools include:

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

Christian students can choose among a variety of religious education options in Hawaii: theological seminary, Bible school, church-based studies, or a divinity program within a larger university. A seminary (also called a divinity school) is a graduate-level institution of advanced theology and specialized training tailored specifically toward preparing students for Christian leadership roles, such as ordained clergy, ministry, pastoral counseling, or parachurch roles. Seminaries focus on academic depth in Christian education.

Bible schools (also called theological institutes or Bible institutes) are Christian institutions that offer undergraduate education with a Bible-based curriculum. They are typically affiliated with Pentecostal, Evangelical, or other fundamentalist denominations. Fewer in number than seminaries, Bible schools focus on breadth in Christian education and practical training for ministry. Some Bible colleges offer associate degrees, diplomas, or certificates in specialized Christian subjects. Some Christian online colleges are not accredited, and therefore students who enroll are ineligible for federal financial aid.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

As you investigate online Christian colleges, bear in mind the importance of selecting an accredited institution. It's critical to understand accreditation and how it can affect your future, particularly with respect to financial aid and policies for accepting transfer credits. You can refer to the database maintained by the U.S. Department of Education to verify the accreditation status of Christian institutions of higher education.

Six agencies conduct regional accreditation, each according to the relevant geographic region; the applicable agency for Hawaii is the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Schools apply for accreditation voluntarily, undergoing rigorous peer evaluations conducted by independent agencies to ensure a strong educational foundation. Accrediting agencies fall into three categories: regional, national, and specialized. Six agencies conduct regional accreditation, each according to the relevant geographic region; the applicable agency for Hawaii is the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. National accreditation focuses primarily on specialized institutions and programs, such as career-oriented or religious education. Both regional and national agencies evaluate higher education institutions as a whole. Specialized accreditation agencies focus mostly on approving specific program types, such as nutrition, law, counseling, or education.

The nationally recognized and interdenominational Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) provides accreditation for undergraduate Christian institutions in Hawaii. ABHE evaluates schools' theology and Bible studies coursework, ministerial training programs, and student spiritual development offerings.

For job seekers attending Christian colleges in Hawaii, Hawaii's thriving economy and robust employment outlook are encouraging trends. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Hawaii reports a record low 2.1% unemployment rate -- the lowest of all 50 states -- and a $52,050 annual mean wage for all occupations statewide. Recent data and projections from Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism also indicate continuing economic expansion and positive labor market conditions.

Hawaii's fastest-growing industries are in food and drink services, with healthcare, social assistance, and business services not far behind. Tourism, a major influence for Hawaii's economic outlook, continues to expand as record numbers of visitors arrive to enjoy the Aloha spirit of the islands. Property values also continue to rise as international trade and global economic conditions improve the overall outlook for the Hawaiian islands.

With an impressively healthy labor market, employment prospects for Hawaii Christian college graduates appear promising. Students interested in pursuing community, social service, and religious careers after graduation can explore the following table for recent information from the BLS regarding average wages and employment rates for a cluster of related occupations.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Hawaii
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 370 $20.56 $42,760
Marriage and Family Therapists N/A $29.55 $61,470
Mental Health Counselors 290 $22.90 $47,630
Rehabilitation Counselors 180 $17.99 $37,420
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 1,790 $26.56 $55,250
Healthcare Social Workers 1,000 $28.46 $59,190
Social and Human Service Assistants 1,750 $16.59 $34,500
Clergy 500 $29.51 $61,380
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 410 $26.12 $54,330
Religious Workers, all other 60 $15.39 $32,010
Source: BLS, May 2016

Students enrolled in Hawaii Christian colleges can pursue scholarship funding through a variety of sources. Hawaii residents can also pursue scholarship options based on residency in the state. The list below includes a sampling of scholarships of interest to students attending Christian colleges and students residing in the state of Hawaii.

Christian Scholarships

Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship $3000

Who Can Apply: The program provides need-based aid to members of the Presbyterian church (U.S.A.) attending accredited institutions of higher education full time at the sophomore, junior, or senior level with a GPA of 2.7 or better. View Scholarship

Baptist Life Scholarships $1,000

Who Can Apply: The foundation awards scholarships to full-time students pursuing undergraduate or graduate study at accredited higher education institutions. Applicants must be insured on a Baptist Life certificate for at least two years before applying. View Scholarship

Clare Boothe Luce Foundation Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: The program offers undergraduate scholarships, research awards, graduate fellowships, and professorship support to women majoring in mathematics, science, and engineering. Preference is given to students attending Catholic schools with strong science programs. View Scholarship

Ruth K. Jacobs Memorial Scholarship $1,500 per year

Who Can Apply: The fund supports full-time music majors at the junior, senior, or graduate levels who intend to prepare for careers in church music ministry. Students must demonstrate academic merit and a primary interest in youth choral music. View Scholarship

Pacific Area Scholars Program Full Tuition & More

Who Can Apply: Brigham Young University-Hawaii offers a prestigious award to students enrolled in Mormon church schools in the Pacific area who rank among the top 5-10% of their class. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Hawaii Residents

Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation $18,000

Who Can Apply: The foundation awards scholarships to students with strong academic records, financial need, and demonstrated leadership ability who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in business or a related area. View Scholarship

Hawaii Community Foundation Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: The foundation awards scholarships to residents of Hawaii with a GPA of 2.7 or better who plan to attend an accredited higher education institution as an undergraduate or graduate student. View Scholarship

Hawaii Education Association (HEA) Student Teacher Scholarship $3,000

Who Can Apply: Scholarships support HEA members or their descendants enrolled in full-time student teacher programs at the undergraduate or graduate level. View Scholarship

National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Foundation Regional Scholarships $3,500

Who Can Apply: The foundation awards sponsor four college students who demonstrate strong performance in education, community service, and leadership. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

Students enrolled in Christian colleges in Hawaii can use the detailed national USA Churches and Church Finder directories to help locate community churches that suit their needs. You can search for churches in Hawaii using filters set by city, denomination, keyword, church size, or worship style.

Get Connected

Networking with other Christians in Hawaii can provide fellowship, professional support, and information about employment opportunities. Featured below are three networking websites to help you get started.

  • Christian Business Network Operating at a national level, CBN fosters collaboration among Christian business people. Founded in 2002, the group provides member promotional services and professional networking groups.
  • Christian Hospitality Network The CHN website offers a searchable database of over 100 inns, retreats, and other lodging accommodations for Christians, and provides discounts for missionaries and pastors.
  • University of the Nations Kona The University of the Nations, founded on biblical principles, offers professional, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual training, including a Youth With A Mission ministry group.

Find Christian Ministries

If you find it difficult to find a Christian college in Hawaii affordable enough to suit your financial situation, you can consider public (non-Christian) universities. Most branches of the University of Hawaii system offer student organizations, ministries, or informal meetups, and students may also attend Christian churches within a reasonable distance from campus.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ With over 2,300 campus and city ministries in over 50 cities, Cru offers resources, programs, and spiritual guidance to connect and engage people with the Bible.
  • Chi Alpha Founded in 1953 and sponsored by the Assemblies of God, Chi Alpha is a network of campus Christian ministries with over 300 chapters across the nation.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Founded in 1947, IFES provides services and support for student ministry through initiatives focusing on leadership development, evangelism, strengthening national movements, and expanding global ministry programs.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes Established in 1954, the FCA serves coaches and athletes at all levels, using the platform of sports to spread the Bible's teachings.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association CCMA's mission is to provide networking, formation, resources, and empowerment for Catholic campus ministers. Members receive access to training opportunities and discounts on graduate study at affiliated institutions.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. As a student-led organization of Lutheran students based in Chicago, LSM connects youthful Christian leaders across the nation.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship As the official campus ministry organization for the Presbyterian church, RUF places seminary trained ministers on college campuses and plants churches in college towns.
  • UKirk UKirk serves as a central hub providing support, community, resource-sharing, and connection for those who advocate, lead, and support Presbyterian higher education ministries.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCMLife is a nationwide Baptist network of collegiate ministries, including campus and church groups. The organization connects college students and the academic community to the church's mission.

Public Universities in Hawaii with Christian Ministries

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa: Students at the UH Manoa campus can attend Thursday faith-based meetings of the University of Hawaii Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ).
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo: While UH Hilo does not offer any official Christian organizations, Hilo is home to a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the school also receives visits from Baptist student ministers.
  • University of Hawaii at West Oahu: Students at UH West Oahu and Leeward Community College can join Campus Light for Christ for fellowship, events, and networking with other Christian students.
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