This is the team that makes our church the blessing that it is!



Matt Sanders has been senior pastor since 2015. His desire is to see Waialae Baptist become a disciple-making and disciple-sending community of believers.

Matt and his wife, Cheryl, grew up in Hawaii and have lived most of their lives here. They have ministered in various capacities at churches in Hawaii and Texas over the past 35 years. They have three daughters.

Matt has a Ph.D. in theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, a master of arts in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of Hawaii. His favorite theological topic is anything to do with the Trinity. He taught Greek, theology, and New Testament as a professor at Southwestern for 9 years. He has also taught for Wayland Baptist University, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and Pacific Rim Christian University.

In addition to pastoring, Matt serves as president of the Hawaii Baptist Foundation, which manages funds, promotes planned giving, and provides financial support to churches and other ministries.

In his spare time, Matt likes to run, coach running, lift weights, and play golf poorly.





John Kaneshiro has been the associate pastor of discipleship since 2021. John and his wife, Erica, both grew up in Hawaii and spent most of their lives here on the island. They have three kids who love drawing, playing music, and singing. John has a Master of Divinity in Preaching and Pastoral ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from Wayland Baptist University. He enjoys meeting new people, especially young families, and ‘talking story’ with them about Jesus. In his spare time, he enjoys surfing, playing drums and guitar, and spending time with his family. John and Erica are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of what Jesus is doing here in Hawaii. Their passion for Waialae Baptist is to forge relationships and grow as a church community that joyfully participates in their Great Commission calling together. – Soli Deo Gloria.




Jon Taguchi bio photo

Jon Taguchi has been the worship director since 2023. Born and raised in Honolulu, he joined the staff after working in the Hawaii Department of Education for 30+ years as a teacher and educational officer. His wife Charlotte was born in Seoul, South Korea, and later immigrated to Hawaii in 1983.

Jon has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese language, a professional diploma in elementary education, and a master’s degree in educational administration all from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In addition to his position as worship director, Jon presently also works as a part-time adult education teacher specializing in English language learning and mathematics. In his spare time, he enjoys e-biking and spending time with his two dogs.

Jon and Charlotte are grateful for the privilege and honor to serve and grow in unity with others here at Waialae Baptist Church.





Stacy Hirano has been serving as church administrator since November 2016 and youth director since 2013. Stacy graduated from the University of Washington School of Law and practiced law in the areas of civil litigation, administrative, real property, and natural resources law. She has served on a number of boards in the community and currently serves on the Hawaii Baptist Foundation board.

Stacy and her husband, Eric, have two young adult sons and a dog.  She enjoys participating in the many opportunities to study the Bible at Waialae Baptist Church, playing table tennis with the youth and kids on Wednesday nights, and composing and arranging music.



Nancy Powers Grant was raised in Wai-Kahala and felt the calling to come back to the area in 2019 where she became a member of the Waialae Baptist Church Community. In 2022, she became the church’s preschool director.

She seeks to create a high- quality, experience rich early learning program that fosters strong connections with each child’s family, the Waialae Baptist Church family and God’s eternal kingdom family.

Nancy earned her early learning teaching degree from MSU in Denver, Colorado.  She has served in the capacity of preschool director in Colorado, Hawaii island, Maui and now, Oahu.

She lives with her husband, Robert, and her dog and cat.  Nancy has three grown children and five grandchildren.

Nancy loves fellowship and discipleship opportunities within our church family.  She regularly participates in worship services, Bible study lessons and small growth groups gatherings.  She also loves spending time with her family, going to the beach, singing, dancing and playing the ukulele.




Cheryl Sanders is serving as the Wai’alae Arts Program Director. Cheryl has many years of experience performing musically, teaching music, directing choirs, and coordinating and leading worship services. She has a music education degree from the University of Hawaii and has done post-graduate work at Oberlin University, the University of Hawaii, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Most recently, Cheryl served as an assistant to the worship leader at McKinney Memorial Bible Church where she helped organize and prepare music for the worship team, played keyboard and piano, and directed a fine arts program. In addition to her passion for God and music, Cheryl has a heart to use music to help people in the special needs community, not only to use music as therapy, but also to develop ministry potential in all people.