Pre-Conference Workshops Offer Something for All


By Laura Lea Williams, Mississippi Conference Staff
Photo right: Participants in a 2015 pre-conference workshop.   
United Methodists, beyond members of the Mississippi Annual Conference, may participate in workshops Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the Jackson Convention Complex.  These pre-conference workshops will begin at 1 p.m. in the 2nd floor classrooms of the Jackson Convention Complex with each workshop lasting 1 hour 15 minutes.

The first round of workshops support the "Focus" as chosen by each congregation in the 2015 Charge Conference report. They were asked the question: In the coming year, on which one of the following are you focusing to better form your faith community? A list will be available to help you determine the appropriate workshop based on your 2015 Charge Conference report. 

The Rev. Kerry Powell is co-leading a workshop on shared leadership within the congregation. He will concentrate on improving this from a clergy's perspective while Tommy Dean will be emphasizing improvement from a lay member's perspective. During this workshop Powell and Dean will assist the attendees in identifying areas that can be improved for leadership. Powell hopes that the attendees of the workshop take away a simple understanding of how to revitalize church leadership.

"Church vitality can be broken down to achieve ultimate success. It's very easy to break things down to achievable goals, and that's what I hope people will understand," said Powell.

The Shared Leadership workshop isn't the only workshop in response to Charge Conference 2015 available. Here is a complete list of these special workshops:

  • Evangelism with Latoya Thompson and Rev. Marcus Thompson
  • Giving/Generosity with Delmar Robinson and Rev. Keith Keeton
  • Missions with Rev. David Cumbest and Rev. David Newton
  • Shared Leadership with Tommy Dean and Rev. Kerry Powell
  • Small Group with Morgan Roberts and Rev. Lindsey Robinson
  • Vital Worship with Emily Barlow and Rev. Ben Barlow
These are not the only workshops available. The other pre-conference workshops presented are designed to improve your church's congregation by introducing members to tools and strategies that can assist the growth and revitalization of their church.
Additional workshop opportunities include:
  • Church Marketing: How to Effectively Reach Your Community with UMCOM, Tamica Smith Jeuitt and Jasmine Haynes
  • Communicating Faith in the 21st Century: Using Social Media with UMCOM, Tamica Smith Jeuitt and Jasmine Haynes
  • Doing No Harm: Advocacy Ministries in The United Methodist Church with Reverends Kathy Price, Bruce Case, Susannah Grubbs-Carr, Eric Pridmore, and Rick Brooks.
  • Faith Community Formation Resources (MissionInsite & Vital Signs) with Jane Horstman
  • First Timers with Rev. Trey Harper and Dora Washington
  • Generosity 101 with David Stotts and Rev. Mike Hicks
  • Grants 101 with Rev. Eric Sanford and Rev. Peggy Gibson
  • Men's Ministry: More than a Meeting with Gil Hanke
  • Phases of Children's Ministry with Rev. Karie Sue McCaleb and Mike Howington
  • Praise His Name in Dance:  Starting a Church Praise Dance Ministry with Kayla Gilmore
  • Safe Sanctuary with Dawn Flowers and Rev. Vickie White
  • United to Stop Domestic Violence with Wendy Mahoney, Kay Barksdale and Carl Tudor
  • "Wake the Sleeping Giant": Being Relevant and Revitalizing in the Real World! with Rev. Wayne Hill
  • Youth: It's Just a Phase so Don't Miss It with Mike Howington
One leader, Jane Hortsman, Mississippi Conference staff in the Office of Faith Community Formation, hopes that her workshop enlightens members on the various tools the Conference offers.

"MissionInSite and Vital Signs are both tools that any church can use," Horstman said. Horstman also added that she hopes the congregations use these tools to aid in their church's growth and revitalization stating that they can be used to the church's benefit whether they are a large church or a small church.

Dr. Dora Washington, who is co-chair of the session of annual conference planning committee, as well as, co-leading the First-Timers' workshop, hopes that everyone can participate. "These workshops have, in the past, shown a tremendous value for the local church. The workshops help increase knowledge and energize congregations to do more vital ministry," Washington explained.

Leaders of all 1,000 United Methodist congregations in Mississippi are encouraged to participate in these Holy conferencing opportunities! For more information regarding workshops, including descriptions, please visit