Meet Your Pastor and family from the Georgia United Methodist Church. Interview at Northwest Public Access TV.
Pastor James Koo was born and raised in Korea. He earned a B.A. in Sociology from Korea University and an MBA from the Graduate School of International Studies at Yonsei University and Techno-MBA at the Graduate School of KAIST in Seoul, Korea. After working as a marketing manager at Samsung Electronics, he sensed a call to ministry and entered Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA where he received a Master of Div. and a post-graduate degree (Th.M.) in Homiletics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, MA. He received at his Doctor of Ministry in “Preaching, Worship, and Spirituality” at Drew School of Theology in Madison, NJ.
He is passionate about preaching and discipleship and has a zeal for seeing people grow in their faith and reach their potential as Disciples of Christ.
He has been called to serve congregations across the state since 2003 including Immanuel KUMC in Atlanta, GA as a youth pastor, Rainbow UMC in Portland, ME as a youth pastor, Tyrrell Charge UMC in Columbia, NC, Cokesbury UMC in Stedman, NC as a Sr. Pastor, and Fremont UMC in Fremont as a pastor. He has been a Pastor at Georgia and St. Albans Bay United Methodist Church, VT since July 2018.
He enjoys traveling, reading, a conversation over a nice cup of coffee, table-tennis, and loves to try different ethnic cuisines. He and his wife, Esther-Kim, are blessed with three children, Hanbin, Eunbin, and Wonbin.
We Have a Mission
Why does the church exist? According to Matthew’s Gospel, the risen Christ made it clear: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (28:19-20).
Based on this “Great Commission,” our United Methodist Church has stated its purpose: “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs” (From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church—2008, p. 87.
So the mission of our congregation is to make disciples. This is a four-fold task….We could abbreviate our mission as one of welcoming-worshiping-nurturing-sending. (See The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church—2008, p. 88, and Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2005-2008.
We reach out to people and welcome them into the church
We have a direct responsibility for people of the “world” around our church, the community in which we and others study, work, shop, play, and so forth. In this world are people with many hurts, doubts, and questions. There are some who are new in the community and feel a little lost, some who are proudly self-sufficient, and others who are in desperate circumstances. Our mission is to reach out to them, listen to them, accept them, share the gospel in word and deed, invite them into the family of faith, and joyfully receive all who will respond.
We relate people to God and help them deepen their relationship with God
The second task in making disciples is to offer people opportunities for growing closer to God. Whether they are visitors or old-time members, just beginning the journey of faith or well along the road—all are in need of God’s love in Christ. Through worship, prayer, study, and honest sharing, we help one another discover that the Holy Spirit is not far off but present with us, wanting an open and loving friendship with each of us—not only friendship but commitment as well. Through our congregation’s various ministries we encourage one another to give our selves to Christ, to ground our lives in the living God.
We nurture people in Christian living
Third, our congregation’s mission is to nurture people of all ages in the Christian faith and to help them practice the disciplines of discipleship. The church exists not to serve itself but to serve the world. We come to church not only for our own personal enrichment but also to prepare ourselves to do the work of love and to get ready to be Christ’s disciples in the community. Through worship, baptism, Communion, Bible study, prayer, and other means of grace, we’re strengthened for ministry.
We support people in their ministry
As members of the congregation, we are sent into the community to serve those in need and to make our community more loving and just. We believe that the Holy Spirit empowers and guides us in these ministries and that wherever there are need and suffering, we meet Christ, already at work. But still, we cannot be effective in ministry on our own. So the congregation exists, in part, to surround and support each member in his or her ministry. We do not always succeed in our efforts to be faithful disciples in the world. But with the loving support of the community of faith, we can continue to grow.
The Ministry of All Christians
All Christians are called by God, through their baptism, to be in ministry in the world. Therefore, the term minister is appropriately used to describe any Christian who responds to God’s call to reach out to the world and its people through loving acts of service. The ministers of the church are called to serve in a variety of ways.
We Are All Called to Minister
Though our gifts vary widely, we’re all called to and engaged in the one ministry of Jesus Christ. Some aspects of our ministry are easy and come naturally. Some are difficult, involving long hours, tough work, perhaps with conflict, perhaps with disappointing results. What drives us? What keeps us going? The list includes at least these three things:
• the memory of Jesus’ life of service to others, which inspires us to follow him in ministry;
• the assurance of God’s gracious love for us, which empowers us to love others;
• the promise of God’s coming reign on earth, which draws us into action directed toward this vision.
Dr. James Koo, Pastor