Former youth pastor Steve Knapp returns to old stomping grounds

Pastor Steve Knapp in front of Imperial Community Church

Steve Knapp preached, and along with his wife, shared their missionary work Sunday, May 28, at Imperial Community Church in Imperial where he served as youth pastor from 1977 to 1979, before moving to Hawaii.

Knapp was raised in Los Angeles before coming to the Valley to live with his aunt, Lois Patterson, in 1964. His parents had both died: his mother to leukemia in 1960 and his father to a brain tumor four years later.  They had been missionaries to Venezuela.

Knapp graduated from Imperial High School, Imperial Valley College, Biola College, Talbot Seminary and the International Graduate School of Theology.

Knapp served as treasurer at I.H.S. where he also lettered in track. He played baritone in band and sang in choir. He became an assemblyman on the I.V.C. student council and again served as treasurer.  He taught in Christian schools for a total of 14 years in Maui, Newport Beach, Temecula, Oahu, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

Upon completing his education, he taught in Christian schools for 14 years in Maui, Newport Beach, Temecula, Oahu, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

Besides teaching, Knapp served as associate & youth pastor in Irvine, Honolulu & Mililani, and Imperial. He and his wife Kori have led multiple mission teams to Hawaii, Maui & Kauai; along with mainland mission trips to Brooklyn, NY; Cincinnati, OH; New Orléans, LA; and to the Navajo Nation in AZ.  International trips have included Cambodia and Vietnam.

He noted the ironic reality that out of the “wasted teen years” of his life – having spent most of that time in rebellion – came an adult who spent the entirety of his adult life working primarily with teens!

“Must be a God thing,” Knapp said.

This summer, the Knapps will reprise a ministry in upstate New York at a Christian Camp. Camp Shoshanah (Hebrew for “Rose”) is a Messianic outreach of Ariel Ministries. The goal of this ministry is to evangelize and disciple Jewish believers. The camp is a high-level instructional exercise in teaching believers the scriptures within their Hebrew context.

While in the Valley visiting, he made good to eat plenty of Mexican food he craved while away. He also enjoyed seeing the desert.

“I am so tired sometimes of seeing blue (ocean) and green (lush vegetation on the Islands),” Knapp said

He has recently been appointed Hawaii District Pastoral Care Director in the Evangelical Free Churches of America, a pastor to pastors in the Hawaii District.

Knapp’s wife, Kori, was born at the U.S. Army Hospital in Honolulu. Kori grew up in Japan, Virginia, Texas and Oahu. Her grandparents came to Hawaii as Filipino immigrant sugar plantation workers. Her mother personally witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Kori earned two degrees and a B.A. in Christian Education. She is a pre-school teacher by trade and now works as a Para-Professional Tutor with special education students in the public school near her home.

She and Steve have four children and four grandchildren. They just spent two months with their eldest daughter Amy who married to a computer expert in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It is a desert as well, flat nothingness for miles with camels raised for food.