We are called together by Jesus,
to worship Jesus,
and make disciples like Jesus.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20


Grassroots Church began in a living room in 2006 with a vision to see Jesus bring his freedom, healing, and joy to the peoples of Puna and the world.

On Easter 2007, Grassroots Church launched Sunday morning services at the Akebono Theater. Over the years we have been the home to many island travelers and have had the privilege of discipling them for a season and then sending them back to the mainland and into the nations.

In 2010, we sent out Ahshuwah Hawthorne our founding pastor to do disciple-making missions work among refugees and since then we have been led by a team of bi-vocational pastors who serve the church in various ways.

In 2013, one of our pastors Matt Purvis opened the Tin Shack Bakery in Pahoa with his wife Noelle and another family from the church. Grassroots has since moved its offices to the bakery property and now hosts many of its community events at the bakery as well.


We live in a egalitarian culture that has seen the abuse of authority and so seeks to avoid it all costs. Our culture is often afraid of being in authority because of the responsibility that it brings and afraid of being under authority because of the perceived loss of freedom that comes from trusting others enough to give them influence in our lives.

At Grassroots Church we seek to structure our community not by the fears and agendas of our culture but by the revelation of God in the Scriptures. We believe that church leadership is a high calling and that not many should become teachers because they will be held to a higher standard by God (James 3:1). We believe that Jesus has given two offices for leadership in the local church: elders who lead through teaching and shepherding and deacons who lead through service and support. The qualifications for these offices are explained in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and can be summarized as being sound in doctrine and above reproach in character. We believe that the office of elder is open to qualified and called men and that the office of deacon is open to both men and women who are likewise qualified and called.

At this time in the life of Grassroots Church, both of our pastors are bi-vocational and they practice team leadership as they equally share the responsibility of leading Grassroots Church under the headship and authority of the Senior Pastor Jesus Christ.

Pastor Matt Purvis

Pastor Matt Purvis
Matt was born and raised a missionary kid in the Philippines, and lived in Orange county prior to moving to the island in 2005. Living like the typical prodigal son for several years, God finally pulled him back, (to quote C.S. Lewis on his own conversion) “kicking and screaming, the most reluctant convert.” Matt now lives with his wife Noelle and their two young daughters in Nanawale. Together they own and operate the Tin Shack Bakery in Pahoa Village. Matt serves the people of Grassroots through teaching, discipleship and his wife serves in the music ministry.


Pastor Steve Schaefle
Steve moved his family to the Big Island in the Summer of 2007 where he worked from home for a financial services company. He and his wife Fran have a heart for children and together they have nine children including two adopted siblings and have had numerous foster children staying with them. Most recently, Steve has taken a position as a financial advisor with a nationwide firm and hopes to help people realize their objectives both spiritually and financially. Steve serves the church through teaching and discipleship.