Values & Goals

For 200 years, Asbury First United Methodist Church has been a dynamic part of the Rochester community. More than a place of worship, we have a record of real engagement. Our goal is to make a difference, and our members help turn that goal into reality every day through active ministries, education for children and adults, as well as participation and innovation throughout the greater Rochester area.

Our Mission

Love God and neighbor. Live fully. Serve all. Repeat.

What We Believe our values our goals
How to Join The Dreamscape

What we believe

As an inclusive Christian community, we believe that our faith is shaped by the witness of Scripture, the insight of reason, the wisdom of tradition, and our personal experience of God in Christ. We represent diverse theological perspectives and faith experiences. This diversity enhances our common quest to be one in Christ.

We value the gifts of all persons, and encourage each to use his or her gifts in responsible stewardship and service to others. We care deeply about each other and express this love with support in times of sorrow and celebration in times of joy.

We stress community worship as a weekly expression of faith in God. Additionally, we offer numerous opportunities for personal spiritual growth and outreach to others.

To find out more about what United Methodists believe, click here.

Our Values

Asbury First’s values represent a description of our guiding principles. These statements are standards of behavior, which are inherent in all we do. We value:

Being Open to All

We believe we are all equal in God’s eyes and are all one in Christ. We extend hospitality and encourage full participation for all regardless of any perceived defining characteristic.


We believe we are at our best when we connect to God together through preaching, prayer, and song. 
We strive for excellence in all we do, especially in our worship experience.


We believe we are better together; fellowship and care are keys to love and life.


We believe everyone deserves hope and fullness of life. We endeavor to practice mercy and work for justice in our local and extended community.


We believe we—adults, youth, and children alike—are called to grow in our faith both as a community and as individuals through education, regular worship, meaningful fellowship, a commitment to service, and celebrating rites of passage together.


We believe what we have is a gift from God. We share our gifts with an open heart to help meet needs 
at Asbury First, the Rochester community, and throughout the world.


We believe we must care for the human, physical, and financial resources with which we have been entrusted.

Our Goals

Our mission, values, and vision were identified from our shared dreams but also provided the platform upon which our dreams were clarified. Once the framework was set through the hard work done on the mission, values, and vision, the Dream Team re-examined the dream data to suggest our missional goals for the years ahead. We articulate these goals under the banner of our core values and express them below as future states—as if we have already done more good in each of these areas.  

Each goal has a number, a title, a concise description of the desired state, and an assignment of responsibility.  An asterisk (*) indicates those areas for which we believe additional resources (human, structural, or financial) may be required. 

  1. Being OPEN TO ALL

    1.1 Accessibility: Our buildings are fully accessible to those with physical needs for all areas used in church activities. Responsibility—Trustees*

    1.2 Diversity: Our church in word, practice, and worship is reflective of a diverse set of cultures and perspectives. Our congregation, staff, and lay leadership reflect our Greater Rochester community. Responsibility—Church Council, SPRC, Hospitality, New Task Force/Committee*

    1.3. Hospitality: All who enter Asbury First for any reason (whether worship, programmatic activity, or spiritual or other need) encounter a unique sense of warmth and welcome within our community. Responsibility—Hospitality, Staff, and Leadership


2.1 Attendance: Our weekly worship attendance is at 1,000, an increase of approximately fifty percent from 2017. Responsibility—Worship and the Arts, Communication Team, Hospitality

2.2 Technology: Our worship experience is faithfully expanded through digital media.
Responsibility—Technology, Worship and Arts, Communication Team


3.1. Connection: All who desire one have a place within the Asbury First community beyond worship.
Responsibility—Discipleship, Communication Team, Church Council, Volunteer Coordinator* 

3.2. Care: People within our Asbury First community receive the right care at the right time in the right place.
Responsibility—Staff, Congregational Care

3.3 Communication: Information is communicated effectively to all audiences inside and outside our community.
Responsibility—Communication Team*, Church Council, Staff, Technology


4.1. Strategy Alignment: The Outreach Taskforce report, “A Way Forward” has been faithfully implemented.
Responsibility—Outreach, Church Council, SPRC, Pastors


5.1. Faith Development: A clear pathway for discipleship is available for all in our community. Responsibility—Discipleship, Pastors

5.2. Celebration: We grow our faith through the celebration of life’s rites of passage together. Responsibility—Discipleship, Staff, Communication Team


6.1. Time: All members of our community volunteer in some way (either within our Asbury First community or outside our community). Responsibility—Leadership, Volunteer Coordinator*, Technology

6.2. Talent: All members of our community are able to use their talents and leadership abilities within our community to serve others. Responsibility—Nominations, Volunteer Coordinator*, Program Staff

6.3. Treasure: All members of our community give financially (and pledge) to Asbury First as they are able with many members tithing. Responsibility—Stewardship, Planned Giving


7.1. Endowment: Our endowment is currently at $10M. Responsibility—Trustees, Planned Giving

7.2. Capital Improvements: A 15-year revolving plan and process is in place to manage capital improvements.

7.3. Structure and Systems: Our structure and systems are organized in a missionally effective way.
Responsibility—Church Council, Leadership, Technology, and SPRC


How to Join

While you are welcome to fully participate within the life of the congregation whether you are a member or not, many wish to make a formal commitment to membership. We encourage all members to worship regularly; to grow in their faith by participating in small fellowship or outreach groups, classes, or other opportunities; to serve God with their hands by serving both in the church and in the world; and to give in proportion to their gifts

If you wish to become a member of Asbury First, we offer a new member orientation class, usually once in the spring and once in the fall. The class will help you better understand what it means to be a United Methodist in general and a member of Asbury First in particular. We'll introduce you to the many ministries and programs in which you might like to participate. Our hope is that this will be a learning process for you, and that you might begin to see where your gifts might be best utilized. Asbury First, like any church, is only as strong as its members and we are committed to helping our members, and those interested in membership, find a way to use their God-given gifts.

Following the class, we celebrate your membership with a formal welcome during a Sunday service and a luncheon. If you have never been baptized into a Christian Church, we would baptize you during this service as well. 

While you do not need to register for the new member orientation class (please see the events calendar for the next one), we would love to know that you are coming. If you know that you would like to come to the next one, please contact Deb Bullock-Smith in our church office, at 585-271-1050 x117, or email her at

The Dreamscape

The mission, vision, values, and goals of Asbury First were accepted by popular vote on June 25, 2017 as part of our DREAMSCAPE plan. In addition to the DREAMSCAPE plan, the Asbury First Ministry & Space Task Force presented their recommendations for updates to our campus, which will assist in growing our ministries and community impact. To see the plan, which is now in effect, click here.

Click here to learn more about the Dreamscape

Continuing Our Way Forward

A task force of Asbury First neighbors recently completed an update of “A Way Forward,” the 2016 document laying out the strategy for our church community’s Outreach ministries. On June 12, 2023, the Asbury First Governing Board accepted the update, titled “Continuing Our Way Forward.” The report has three major points: It asks that we all start using the biblically based term “neighbor” rather than other terms that subconsciously perpetuate a power differential between helpers and those who need help. It describes how we might start working on seeking justice for those afflicted by poverty. And it streamlines the governance of Outreach so there’s one umbrella group carrying out strategy and overseeing initiatives across the outreach ministries.

Click Here to Read "Continuing Our Way Forward"