Path 1 Visit Confirms MS Conference Sees the 'Big Picture' for Outreach


By Jasmine Haynes and Tamica Smith-Jeuitt

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. along with several cabinet members recently met with Path 1 executive director, Candace Lewis and her team to discuss strategic plans and objectives

Path 1 directors
From left to right: General Board of Discipleship executive director of fund development, Scott Gilpin, Path 1 executive director, Candace Lewis 
and associate executive director, 
Doug Ruffle
for the Mississippi United Methodist Conference to create new places for new people. Lewis conducted a day-long consultation with the cabinet and explained that the Mississippi Conference is well on its way to putting all the puzzle pieces together to make a beautiful picture of what the kingdom of God will look like in the nearly
1,100 United Methodist churches in Mississippi.


"The pieces include a visionary bishop, district superintendents that are open and willing to lead in new and exciting have the director of lay ministries, communications and people that lead small membership churches all at the table together, so all the different parts that make for an effective conference are working with each other, and that really helps visions move forward in annual conferences," said Lewis.


According to New Albany district superintendent, Rev. John Moore, the meeting was not only beneficial for conceptual development on a conference level but also for setting goals Path 1 meetingin local houses of worship.  "We need to assess churches where they are and to rethink where our ministries need to be, not only to reach the people who are already in the church but also to begin looking beyond ourselves and how we can reach others," said Moore.


Consequently, Moore has created a plan of action based on the allowances of paragraph 213 of the 2012 Book of Discipline which describes how district superintendents can create a task force to do an "extensive study of the past, present, and potential ministry" in existing churches.  The task force can also assess the mission opportunities and needs in surrounding communities.  Moore has identified one lay person and at least three second-career clergy who have the willingness and possess the skill-sets from their first careers to aid him in analyzing how to better serve the spiritual needs of all persons located in the New Albany District.


Path 1 is the denominational church-planting movement encompassing national, regional and neighborhood levels of The United Methodist Church.  In addition, Path 1 seeks to cultivate the leaders, develop the systems and implement the strategies necessary to regain the healthy denominational habit of starting one new church a day.