A 2017 Series on Apostolic Leadership in GNJ
Mission: A group of dedicated and gifted lay leaders and members greeted Rev. Dr. Brandon Cho when he began his ministry at Morristown UMC in July, 2014. These eager visionaries were ready to take their church into a new future, re-imagining and developing new ministry strategies and action plans. The congregation embraced the Team Vital resource and for the following 18 months, Cho worked with the local Team Vital team and the congregation to improve and upgrade the quality of existing ministries and develop innovative new ministries.
The church leadership adopted a vision statement: “To become God’s beloved community, change lives and transform communities” and they focused on the five essential markers of vitality: worship, making new disciples, small groups, mission, and giving.
“It was important for the congregation to move deeper, higher, and wider in the ministry,” said Cho. “I am grateful that this congregation is developing such selfless disciples for the mission of the church.”
They started a new bilingual ministry, Nueva Esperanza (New Hope) to reach and reflect the nearly 35% Hispanic and Latino population of Morristown. Pastor Charles Perez was appointed as a new Associate Pastor to lead the ministry and he started with a creative sports ministry for young people, small group home ministries and inspiring worship services. The ministry began reaching new people with baptisms, youth confirmations, reception of new young adult members and the blessing of a new young people’s soccer team.
In response to immigration fears, both pastors worked in partnership with other clergy and civic leaders to create a “fair and welcoming community” in town. Now, Morristown UMC has begun Communities of Hope training along with Dover First UMC, Dover Grace UMC, UMC of the Rockaways and Wharton United Community Church in the Morristown-Dover area. The team is seeking new, creative ways to build relationships with neighbors, develop innovative and life-changing community mission and nurture mission partnerships with local organizations.
“Is it possible to develop a healthy union between tradition and innovation for a historical church like Morristown UMC?” asked Cho. “The answer is yes, with God’s help.”
Apostle: Rev. Dr. Brandon Cho sees his pastoral ministry as Christ-centered, Spirit-led and mission-driven. His vision and passion for ministry are inspired by his multi-cultural upbringing and his “Rainbow Spirituality” which promotes harmony, unity in diversity, bridge-building of all peoples and unyielding hope for tomorrow.
He is a 1.5 generation Korean-American pastor who grew up in Honolulu and was called to ministry at age 15. He attended Hawaii Loa College (now Hawaii Pacific University) and earned his Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees from Claremont School of Theology near Los Angeles and a Master of Sacred Theology from Drew Theological School.
Cho served the Cal-Pac Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church pastoring various local churches and as Santa Barbara District Superintendent and Dean of the Cabinet. He was the first Executive Director of the Korean-American National Plan of the United Methodist Church and is married to Rev. Dr. Jennifer Cho, the new Senior Pastor at Bridgewater UMC.