Small Membership Church Development

Just as Mississippi is a rural state, the Mississippi Conference is a conference of small membership churches. In 2005, 60 percent of the churches in the conference had 100 or fewer members, while a third of congregations had 50 or fewer members.

Equipping and nurturing churches of small membership is a key initiative for the conference. In January 2007, the conference launched Effective Small Membership Churches, a new training opportunity for small-membership churches selected from a pool of applicants.

Five-person teams from each church will attend five 24-hour sessions (Friday evening through Saturday evening) over a nine-month period at Wood Institute in Mathiston. Each session will be led by teachers, authors, and leaders in small-membership church ministry from across the country. Strong, effective churches of small membership from within Mississippi will also provide leadership.

Effective Small Membership Churches is a joint effort of many groups in the conference:

  • Parish and Community Ministries
  • Ethnic Local Church Concerns
  • Rural Life Ministries
  • United Methodist Rural Fellowship
  • Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century
  • Wood Institute
  • Connectional Ministries