Couple gives restoration tips


Special to the Advocate

Drs. James and Molly Scott made quite an impression on the Mississippi Conference.


The clergy couple spoke at two seminars for A-29 district teams on April 28 and 29. At the second event, held at Bethlehem United Methodist Church in New Albany, those attending said the couples’ comment drew frequent “amens” from the more than 250 in attendance.


The Scotts, both clergy members of the Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church, wrote the book Restoring Methodism. The events were sponsored by the Mississippi United Methodist Foundation, the New Albany District and the conference Office of Congregational Development.


In their book, the Scotts call for United Methodists to return to their early heritage by making and implementing 10 decisions. These are thought by the Scotts to be essential to Methodist churches’ efforts in moving from decline to transformation and vitality. The Scotts also ask that United Methodists focus on three essentials as set forth by founder John Wesley: repentance, faith and holiness. 


The Scotts also call for a renewal of the role of the laity as leaders in the denominations as local elders and local deacons with positions as they held in early Methodism.


The first event was held April 28 at the conference office in Jackson and was attended by 20 A29 district team members from various districts. The Scotts led the teams in discerning how they could use Restoring Methodism to help lead churches in the process of responding to A2 Indicator assessments.


At New Albany, extra chairs and tables had to be provided to accommodate the large crowd. The New Albany gathering included persons from the Senatobia and Tupelo districts, also. New Albany District Superintendent Jerry Beam and the district A29 coordinated this event. 


Some in attendance were so impressed that they purchased Restoring Methodism and ordered the CD that may be used to help lead a church in exploring this text. Local church leaders plan on using these resources to help transform their churches. 


“This large gathering of our people proves that people are hungry for a word of hope and restoration,” said Dr. Embra Jackson, administrative assistant to the bishop.


Jackson termed the gatherings a success not just because of the attendance, but because of “the presence of God’s spirit and the possibility that ‘these dry bones can and will live again.’”


Two more gatherings are planned in response to the A2 assessments and efforts to transform churches. The two events are part of the first conference Transformational Leaders’ School for teams of lay and clergy. Sponsored by the Office of Congregational Development, the sessions are scheduled for Aug. 25 and Nov. 3. 


“The Discovery Church Journey” on Aug. 25 will be led by Dr. Doug W. Ruffle, congregational development coordinator for the Greater New Jersey Conference.  The November event will examine the L3 Incubator.


Both events are free if participants register before May 30. District A29 teams will receive priority. The sessions are set for 9 a.m. at the Mississippi United Methodist Foundation building in Ridgeland.


Contact Jackson at 601-354-0515 or 1-866-647-7486 for more information.