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 361 people gathered in a warehouse. 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. The church family faithfully responded to God, gave three times the amount of money above the goal that was set, and began constructing 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 1990s. As people were drawn to the Asbury family, they continually sought to expand their capacity to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ. In 1997, God brought Dr. Alan Weatherly to lead the way into the future. In the twenty years of Dr. Weatherly’s leadership at Asbury as the Senior Pastor, the church now averages 2,200 in attendance, has seen over 1,200 baptisms, and over 1,500 professions of faith.
During each season in the life of Asbury’s growing family, we have sought the Lord for His vision for us. In 1986, we started out with the vision, “See What God is Doing”. Years later, we adopted the vision of “Growing God’s Family”. Then, God led us to “Jesus. Prayer. Mission”. In recent months, He has brought us to a place of preparing for our future, including becoming a multi-site campus. It is our desire to build firmly on the strength of our past, and discern God’s call to love Him and love our neighbor. With this, we spent time in prayer with a team that began to sense He was speaking to us through Thessalonians 2:8 “…so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives, as well.”
What came out of a long and prayerful process was the following vision statement about what we believe God wants us, as a local church, to live into for the coming season:
We are generously sharing our lives and the gospel so that all people may fully awaken to the presence of God.
We believe God has called us to live generously, knowing that generosity reflects the nature of God. We share our lives with each other in the Asbury family and experience authentic community. We also unashamedly share and live out the gospel with all people. All people means people who are here and those who are not; people who come from the same background, and those who do not; people who live in Madison, Harvest, Huntsville and the greater Tennessee Valley and those who do not. We will go next door and around the world in the power of the Spirit to share the extravagant love of Jesus knowing His heart is for all people to fully awaken to the presence of God.