Meet Our Staff

Matt Sanders

Matt Sanders became senior pastor in August 2015. Most recently, he served as a professor at The College at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Matt and his wife, Cheryl, grew up in Hawaii and lived most of their lives here. They have three daughters, Kiyomi, Ariel, and Keiko. Matt has a Ph.D. in theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, a master of arts in theology from Southwestern, and a bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of Hawaii. His favorite theological topic is anything to do with the Trinity. His desire is to see Waialae Baptist become a disciple-making and disciple-sending church all to the glory of God. In his spare time, Matt likes to run, lift weights, and play golf poorly.

Cheryl Sanders

Interim Music Minister

Cheryl Sanders is serving as interim music minister beginning in September 2015. 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.

Marissa Yanaga

MarissaMarissa has been serving as Program Director of the Alec and Belle Waterhouse Lecture Series (ABWLS) from March 2012. She also served as Program Director for ABWLS from 2003-2007 before she and her husband, Shelby, moved to the mainland to attend school at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Marissa and her family have been long time members at Wai’alae Baptist Church. She also graduated from Hawaii Baptist Academy ( x99), Biola University ( x03), and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ( x10). Marissa and her husband have a two-year old daughter, Evangeline, and their son, Benjamin, was born in September 2013.