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:
Financial Aid Eligibility
Values and Lifestyle Expectations
Employment and Further Education
Resources for Online Students
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.
|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|
|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|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||410||$26.12||$54,330|
|Religious Workers, all other||60||$15.39||$32,010|
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.
Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship $3000
Baptist Life Scholarships $1,000
Clare Boothe Luce Foundation Scholarships Varies
Ruth K. Jacobs Memorial Scholarship $1,500 per year
Pacific Area Scholars Program Full Tuition & More
Scholarships for Hawaii Residents
Fukunaga Scholarship Foundation $18,000
Hawaii Community Foundation Scholarships Varies
Hawaii Education Association (HEA) Student Teacher Scholarship $3,000
National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Foundation Regional Scholarships $3,500
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.
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.
- 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 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 Student Movement U.S.A. As a student-led organization of Lutheran students based in Chicago, LSM connects youthful Christian leaders across the nation.
- 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 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.