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The Korean Methodist Church grew out of foreign mission work that began in the late 19th century. It became fully autonomous in 1930, retaining affiliation with denominational bodies in America, which later merged into what is now the United Methodist Church. The Church celebrated its centennial in 1984.

In spite of difficulties during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910-1945, and the devastating Korean War that followed the tragic division of the country in 1945, the Church has continued to thrive. In the period 1960 to 1980 Korea was transformed from a predominantly rural society to an overwhelmingly urban and highly industrialized country, which has challenged the Korean Methodist Church in terms of its evangelism and social action. An Annual Conference in the southern part of the country was formed in 1991 as a result of evangelizing efforts. Another Annual Conference was set up to undertake the "Evangelistic Unification Movement," which aimed at evangelizing North Korea and rebuilding churches in the northern part of the peninsula (1993-1995). After going through a phase of rapid growth, the membership of the KMC stabilized in the 1990s. In the years 1996-98, the KMC undertook a major effort for world mission and contributed to global cooperation by hosting the first Asia Methodist Convention in 2001.

To light the fire of revival again, an evangelistic campaign "3 Million Believers Evangelism Movement" was launched in 2002 in an effort to increase the membership to three million. The Honam Mission Conference in 2003 brought together 40,000 Methodists from all over the country in Kwang Ju City, 310 kilometers south of Seoul, to evangelize the people in this area where there are few Methodist churches. It was the climax of the campaign, and became a successful example of fulfilling the evangelistic needs for the next decades.

The main campaign of Korean Methodism for the period 2004-2008 was "The Korean Methodist Church Giving Hope to the World". It includes the continuation of the "3 Million Movement" focusing on domestic mission and evangelism, and setting up a new system for social work and social sanctification, and encourages Korean missionaries all over the world to preach and witness the word of God among the nations, and to respond to global leadership in mission. A major event for the participation of the KMC in global mission was the hosting of the 19th World Methodist Conference which took place in Seoul in 2006, under the theme "God in Christ, Reconciling".