The Rev. Stephen L. Vinson has been appointed vice president for development at Tupelo-based Mississippi Methodist Senior Services.
Vinson has more than 15 years of administrative experience in human service agencies. A Tupelo native, Vinson served as a United Methodist pastor for more than 20 years. Maintaining his relationship with the church is important, Vinson said, because "The church keeps me focused on why we do what we do: God calls us to help those in need, regardless of their age or financial status.
"While in parish ministry, I saw many older adults who faced an uncertain future because of declining health and depleted financial resources," he said. "I recognized many elders needed specialized help the local church could not provide, but agencies like Senior Services can."
Today, Vinson said he feels a calling to serve in specialized ministry, just as he did to serve the parish. "Some people don’t understand why I no longer serve as a pastor. In fact, they think I left the ministry. "I feel like I’m more in ministry today than ever before. In some ways, I feel like the first two decades of my ministry were a time of preparation for what I’m doing today," he said.
Vinson holds bachelors and masters level degrees, and is a graduate of the National Planned Giving Institute. He is an active member of the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries, and has served as a peer reviewer for two national accrediting bodies.
He has raised significant charitable support for the construction and operation of new facilities, as well as existing programs. Vinson has been involved in the development of innovative programs to serve those in need, and said, “I consider it a real blessing to be involved with an agency that’s on the cutting edge of ministry to our elders. The Green House concept is the most exciting thing I’ve ever heard of.”