How We Started
Almost 30 years ago, Madison began to grow from a small sleepy cotton town to a bustling suburb of nearby Huntsville, AL. Cotton fields were slowly turning into new homes, stores, churches, and schools. This growth influenced the desire to plant a church in the middle of these quickly expanding neighborhoods. Asbury United Methodist Church was launched on March 2, 1986, when three hundred and sixty one people gathered in a warehouse and Rev. Marcus Long preached the first sermon in what would become one of the most impactful churches for the Kingdom of God in the Tennessee Valley. Through Rev. Long’s leadership and the dedication, vision, and unified efforts of the first people to call this church home, Asbury has continued to move forward by strategically and intentionally making significant investments in the Kingdom work both in the Madison area and around the world.
As God began to move in the hearts of the people of Asbury, they heard His call to expand. As people faithfully responded to God, they gave three times the amount of money above the goal that was set in order to begin Asbury’s first building on Hughes Road. What seemed insurmountable at first became possible with God’s vision and the people’s faithfulness and generosity.
Asbury continued to grow through the 1990’s. In 1994, the average worship attendance was 898 people each week. To expand our capacity to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ, Asbury continued to grow through building the Faith and Hope buildings as well as adding additional worship services. In 1997, God brought Dr. Alan Weatherly to Asbury to lead the way into the future. Under Dr. Weatherly’s leadership, the church grew from under one thousand to our current average worship attendance of 2,300 every weekend. In the almost twenty years of Dr. Weatherly’s leadership at Asbury as the Senior Pastor, the church has seen over 1,200 baptisms and over 1,500 professions of faith.
In recent years, God has been calling Asbury once again to align herself with a greater Kingdom vision. This vision has centered around three simple, yet profound words: JESUS, PRAYER, and MISSION.
It is Jesus Christ who is the hope of the world. Without reservation, we seek to live in such a manner as to enable the Holy Spirit to work through us to redeem the lives of those who are far from God and to build up the church into the very likeness of Jesus. As such, our identity begins with JESUS.
When one of the teachers of the law came to Jesus and asked Him which is the most important commandment, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). At Asbury, we recognize that if loving God is the greatest commandment, we better get this right! Loving God means cultivating a relationship with our Savior, praising Him, talking to Him, listening and asking. Loving God means developing a life of prayer – actually becoming a pray-er. Loving God means seeking to grow in the awareness of his continual presence in our lives. As such our identity is formed through developing a life of PRAYER.
As He continued His conversation with the teacher of the law, Jesus said that the second command is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:31). Throughout the gospels, Jesus made it clear that our neighbor is literally our neighbor, our coworker, the stranger and even our enemies. No one should be excluded from receiving the love we have to offer. We fully embrace this commandment and seek to love our neighbor by doing all we can to be used by God to touch them with the healing, transforming love of Jesus. We don’t wait for people to come to us; as the church we go into the world on this MISSION of love.
So here it is, this is who we are: JESUS, PRAYER, MISSION