On July 6th, 2014, a new United Methodist congregation began in the Huntsville area to reach the Korean immigrant population. Meeting within Asbury UMC in Madison, the congregation is called J.O.Y. UMC. The name is the acronym of Jesus First, Others Second, You Third.
Rev. Hong says, “J.O.Y. UMC believes that we will experience a real joy in our lives if we can put Jesus First, Others Second, and Yourself Third. This is our motto identifying ourselves as the disciples of Jesus. Since the beginning, our congregation has repeated this motto during our Sunday worship service.”
From the very beginning the J.O.Y. UMC congregation has considered how to overcome the downsides of Korean cultures by seeking some alternative biblical models of power in the church, through calling each other brothers and sisters (which is revolutionary in the context of the Korean churches), empowering people by giving them a voice (5 minute-speech), highly valuing small groups as a place of discipleship and accountability, actively participating in missions (Downtown Rescue Mission, and supporting two seminaries in Nepal), and reaching out international community in Huntsville/Madison area (hosting International Tea Party at Asbury UMC).
J.O.Y. UMC has been growing from two families to more than 30 attendees for Sunday worship service, as of August 2015. J.O.Y. UMC believes that God will be drawing more Korean people to the church as the strive to make this church much healthier. Furthermore, J.O.Y. UMC will be planning to make their congregation bilingual to reach out more actively to international people including Americans married to Korean ladies.