|History of Joy|
|About JOY / Who We Are|
In 1994, Pastor Danny Han came to lead the English Ministry (EM) at the Presbyterian Church of New Jersey (PCNJ) in Palisades Park, NJ. Under his leadership, the ministry flourished from a small group of 10 to over 90 people. However, after five years, Pastor Danny sensed God’s calling to start a new church for a new generation. Since he enjoyed unparalleled favor from the PCNJ leadership, his desire to start a new church did not spring from bitterness. Rather, Pastor Danny became convinced that the future of the second generation Korean-American and Asian-American church belonged to independent second generation churches rather than under first generation churches. Due to the hierarchical Asian culture, the first generation church leaders were, at times, slow and resistant in enabling the second generation leadership to mature. As a result, much of the second generation—some who had already entered their 30s—had an overgrown youth mindset and displayed little ownership of the church. In its current course, there would be no way for the second generation to win their generation for Christ.
After Pastor Danny announced his intention to resign from PCNJ, God worked in a miraculous way through Reverend Chang Kil Kim by allowing Joy Christian Fellowship (JOY) to be created with the mother church's blessing. The Lord was merciful and gave the church a beginning marked by His favor. At that time, JOY was one of fewer than five churches in the entire U.S. that were planted by the first generation Korean church with its blessing. Pastor Danny took this extraordinary beginning to be a great affirmation from God that the creation of JOY was His will.
With an initial 50 members, JOY was created on November 1, 1999 by God's unmistakable hand.
The name “Joy Christian Fellowship” is significant, as Pastor Danny wanted to bring God’s joy to a depressed generation. He envisioned the story of the prodigal son unfolding in the second generation, as he saw a melancholic people returning to a Father who gladly celebrates their return.
After some difficulty in finding a worship location, JOY settled on a tiny office owned by Korean Campus Crusade for Christ (KCCC). Having separated from the protective prayers of the mother church, JOY stood spiritually naked and vulnerable. Thus was born Friday intercessory prayer meetings where JOY took to bended knees as it began its journey. During this time, God impressed upon our hearts to look down the generations. And a young JOY church set out to care for the future generations by starting Christian clubs throughout Bergen County called “Harvesters.” Eleven clubs were created across high schools that provided our youth with a means to worship and fellowship together. Some are still in existence today.
One year later, JOY moved from the office room of KCCC to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Englewood, NJ. Pastor Danny believed the church was placed there to reach the poor, and members took to nurturing the community through teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), helping high school students with SAT preparation, and feeding the poor.
Within one year, the church grew from 50 to 90 members. Then the growth suddenly came to a halt for the next year and a half. Always driven and disciplined, Pastor Danny did everything in his power to grow the church, but it was to no avail. Just then a series of revelations from the Holy Spirit came quickly to him: one, he either had to quit ministry or really do it all for Jesus, regardless of the apparent success or failure of the church in man’s eyes; two, he needed passion and love for Jesus; and three, he knew Jesus to be the most lovely person. If he could know Jesus intimately, he’d really love Him.
With a public confession to the congregation, Pastor Danny announced a new direction for the church: to seek intimacy with God. By divine coordination, Pastor Danny was then introduced to Bob Hartley who would bring transforming intimacy and healing to JOY. In 2003 during a winter retreat where Bob spoke, the Holy Spirit brought the power of prophecy, ministering and encouraging the church members to pursue intimacy with the Lord. There were great breakthroughs as a weakened people were uplifted and “melancholic” hearts became “merry.”
Ironically, as Pastor Danny took his eyes away from numerical growth to focus on intimacy with God, the church started to grow.
In 2003, 170 people of JOY moved its services and operations to the Presbyterian Church at Tenafly, NJ. Shortly thereafter, in the continued pursuit of intimacy, Marveling Place began. What followed were a second service, early morning prayers, the first Sunday school, and KPCA youth retreats, which served as a great opportunity to further JOY's vision in raising the next generation.
JOY catapulted an energetic youth conference in 2004 called Joyful Noise. Through the conference, JOY wanted to bring the message of God’s great joy to the youth of the region. The first conference was held at Felician College with singer Charlie Hall and speakers Winkie Pratney and Bob Hartley. Hundreds of children came together to celebrate the Father’s unconditional love and joy over them.
Turning to missions, JOY sent out seven teams to six different locations around the world: Qatar, Thailand, Philippines, China, New Orleans, and Turkey. JOY also hosted the “Ask for the Nations” missions conference with George Verwer to bring about global missions awareness to Asian Americans.
As the church began to grow, Pastor Danny consulted Joshua Kang, the senior pastor of Lakeview Church, who shared about the multi-site model for churches. After much prayer and research, God gave confirmations that the first satellite church would be in Edgewater, NJ, which was virtually a new city without a single church. Two key verses came to Pastor Danny:
Luke 5:38 (NIV) “…new wine must be poured into new wineskins.”
Particularly through the latter verse, God spoke to Pastor Danny: JOY was not supposed to build a mega-church and ask people to come. Instead, JOY needed to go where the people were and plant churches. Pastor Danny knew that as he began planting the Edgewater church that he would start a third site shortly thereafter.
In 2007, JOY began the second campus in Edgewater, NJ with about 70 members. Within 3 years, the congregation grew to over 200 members. During this time, JOY launched the Church Home Campaign (later called the JOY Home Campaign) to raise funds for a permanent home that would serve the community and the world around.
This year also marked the launch of the Connections Conference that was created to build bridges between first-generation and second-generation Korean-American pastors and among peer pastors in the New York and New Jersey area. Pastor Danny believed that because of the broken relationship, the second generation was severed from the rich heritage of the first generation leaders. The conference started healing and promoted unity among the pastors, with the ultimate purpose of releasing blessing upon the Korean-American church at large.
In January 2009, after confirmatory words and visions, Pastor Danny announced the planting of the third campus in Manhattan. Several people volunteered to lead this effort, forming its foundation on Acts 2:1 by meeting in the Upper Room for continual prayer. The leaders prayed for the Holy Spirit to move in their lives and through New York City and for Acts 2:42-47 to become their reality.
Acts 2:1 (NIV) “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.”
Finding a place of worship posed a great challenge. The leaders wrestled in prayer, and they received many strategies and visions from God, including a series of marvelous visions of a red brick building that led them to Mercy College.
Steadily from their first service in September 2009, the weekly attendance of 70 people began to grow. The foundation of JOY Manhattan continues to rest on God's promises for the city and from the power of intercession. Many unemployed attendees have received jobs; others gained physical and inner healings; and many others have come to deeper relationships with Christ. Lives have been extremely touched by TLC (tender loving care) small groups where people experience a strong bond of camaraderie and friendship. Members are looking to each other for prayer and for accountability to live victoriously in NYC.
As of Fall 2010, the church has already outgrown Mercy College, and hopes to move to a larger location. As they participate in God’s story of redemption and love for NYC, they hope to activate more TLC groups and intercession; expand in local missions; and partner with other existing churches and organizations for the coming revival in NYC.
The Three Core Values
JOY wants to produce followers of Christ who seek intimacy with Christ, who are connected vitally to a community of believers of JOY, and who pursue their mission/calling from God. These three core values of JOY work from the inside out as three concentric circles.
At the very center is intimacy, the highest calling that represents personal devotion with Christ. Intimacy with Christ is the spiritual spring from which everything flows.
Matthew 22:37 “To love the Lord with all our heart.”
After intimacy, there is community. Spiritual life does not happen in isolation but in a community. That’s why God gave us the church, and we must be vitally connected in relationships with one another, encouraging and ministering to each other mutually.
Finally, everyone has a calling/mission from God, whether it is inside church, in the marketplace/home, or abroad. We must find what our calling is and pursue it in order to bear fruit. We want to produce Christians who are powerfully impacting the world both locally and globally.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”
JOY wants to produce followers of Christ who are continually growing in intimacy, community, and calling/missions.
From the very beginning, missions has always been a high priority for JOY. God had planted in Pastor Danny’s heart a burden for world evangelism before the church was formed. He saw the need for the church of Jesus Christ to reach out to the poor, just as Jesus did with the unreached people groups who did not have a viable indigenous church.
It was then that a member, Steve Siebert, made a trip to the Philippines and felt convicted of the Lord’s call to minister to the homeless in the city of Manila. Inspired by the Word of God in Isaiah 58, he went on to pursue the dream the Lord had given him—to be a blessing to the poor of Asia.
Subsequent years saw the Lord bring JOY to partner with Operation Mobilization–Korean American Mission and thereafter Operation Mobilization USA. It was to be the start of a long-term relationship that led to the sending of our very own JOY member and former staff, Jeanette Yoo, to Central Asia.
Also about this time, God placed in member Elyse Yu’s heart a burden for the Chinese. She initially committed a year to minister in Asia. As God would have it, a year became two and now, she is convinced of her call to serve the people for as long as God would have her there.
In addition to the 3 full-time missionaries who sprang from JOY, there are countless others who participate in various short-term missions trips annually. JOY also supports missionaries and mission organization stationed in various parts of world.
Following God’s Word in Matthew 6:21 (NIV) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” one-third of offering is given to missions. This has enabled the church to do many wonderful things. The history of missions at JOY has been marked by the Lord’s goodness and grace to His people, for He has chosen to use the little that we have for His glory.
Looking Toward the Future: The Joy Home Campaign
The journey of building God’s house began in the early 2000s when the church saw that its members were starting to purchase homes for themselves while God’s house remained a place of transitory nature—a rental unit where the plans and future were dictated by the whims of the building owner. JOY came to realize the need to build God’s house first before building ours, effectively honoring God. King David had realized that he had built his own house while the ark of God remained in a tent, and he had repented. We needed to do the same.
In 2006, we had initiated the JOY Capital Stewardship Campaign (CSC) though which we had mobilized the church members to commit to building God’s house through prayer, financial sacrifice, and celebration. The 3-year campaign was successful and led to the creation of the Joy Home Campaign (JHC) in 2010. The JHC is currently in the process of further raising awareness of our vision and collecting financial pledges from its people. Lord-willing, we will be in the position to build His house in the near future.
JHC is first and foremost about honoring God. This campaign is about turning away from self-centeredness and shifting our priority and energy towards honoring the King of Kings through celebration and sacrifice. When JOY seeks to honor God first, God will bless the church in unimaginable ways.
Second, JHC is a critical enabler to carrying out the mission and vision of JOY: “to win our generation and prepare the next.” A church home will enable JOY to impact more lives here locally as well as globally, both now and in the future generations to come. By God’s grace, countless souls will be saved, hearts and bodies will be healed, relationships will be mended, and powerful revivals will break out as JOY prays ceaselessly in the house of prayer. JOY’s home church will serve as a training ground for not only its members but Christians all around the world—a “David generation” will be raised up as JOY invests now in the future of the children. God has graciously allowed JOY to align itself with His vision. His plan is to use JOY to revive our generation and prepare the next. Now is the time to firmly step up in a unified way and move in step with Him. Building JOY’s home of worship is the first critical step.
Third, JHC will serve as a personal spiritual journey for its members. JOY is excited about how God will supernaturally provide a new house of worship. But it is during this process where He will teach, move, and meet JOY members individually. The transformation will not only be tangibly apparent when the church is built at the end, but the hearts of JOY’s people will be radically transformed during the course of this campaign.
JOY must respond resolutely with unity and strength to boldly step into alignment with God’s movement. He has magnificent plans to use JOY to honor His name. And building a home church is a necessary step in fulfilling His plans and vision for the church.
During 2008 to 2010, Pastor Danny took time to mentor five youth pastors. Although the youth pastors grew from the experience, Pastor Danny realized that the future leaders needed more than mentoring: they required training. He is currently coaching the JOY staff, and sees the three church campuses in Tenafly, Edgewater, and Manhattan as a seedbed of training. In this way, JOY people will be trained and can then go out to the surrounding regions and even the world to train others, planting churches in need and transforming people’s lives.