Pre-conference Workshops

Pre-conference workshops create opportunities for clergy and laity to access resources and share them with their local churches. These resources help connect puzzle pieces that create vital and welcoming congregations, inclusive worship and faith communities that embody love and The POWER of We. The workshops listed below will be held Wednesday, June 3, 2015 on the second floor of the Jackson Convention Complex. The complex is located at 105 E. Pascagoula St. in Jackson, Mississippi.

*Check back frequently. Information will be updated as details are finalized.


Three workshops will be offered Wednesday morning, for two hours each, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

Workshop: A Church-Based Healthy Living Program

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Presenters: Dr. Rick deShazo, Professor, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Leigh Skipworth, Program Administrator, University of Mississippi Medical Center, School of Medicine

Lee Burdine, Coordinator, Mississippi Annual Conference Health and Welfare

Healthy living requires attention to body, mind and spirit. In Mississippi, our environment promotes being overweight or obese, conditions now driving an epidemic of poor health for adults and children in our state. The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) has developed a faith-based healthy living program, which can be implemented by lay Community Health Advocates in local churches. UMMC faculty and staff function as trainers to teach future Community Health Advocates to take blood pressure, measure blood glucose, provide basic dietary counseling and refer those with abnormalities to appropriate health resources. This presentation will provide general information about the content of the Community Health Advocate training program, how individuals and churches can participate and the role of Community Health Advocates in moving congregations toward healthy living.


Workshop: Domestic Violence Awareness

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Presenter: Ginger Grissom, Executive Director, Wesley Community Center, Inc.

This two-hour workshop is essential for church leaders who want to learn, not only the signs and symptoms of domestic abuse, but what they can do about it. System failures allow many individuals (men, women and children) to fall through the cracks and go unnoticed by those that could provide help. The Church needs to learn how to fill in the gaps and listen and guide them to places that can assist them in escaping domestic violence. Advocacy takes a little time and a strong commitment. In this workshop, we discuss various strategies and techniques used to empower victims of domestic violence. We promote problem solving, safety planning and support groups for victims of domestic violence. Advocates receive instruction in service provision, crisis counseling, hotline operation, communication and listening skills. Participants learn that this problem belongs to all of us and, through The POWER of We, we, the Church, can make a difference.


Workshop: Stewards of Children: Adults Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse 

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Presenter: Mike Duggar, President and CEO, Methodist Children's Homes of Mississippi

As adults, we are responsible for the safety of children. It's important to teach children how to recognize and avoid risky situations, but it's unrealistic to think that a child can fend off sexual advances by an adult. Fortunately, we can protect them - by insisting on prevention policies in our youth serving organizations, by recognizing signs of sexual abuse, and by confronting and stopping abuse if it occurs. Stewards of Children addresses child sexual abuse in the context of today's issues. It features a combination of survivor stories, expert advice and practical guidance and shows how a simple, five-step approach can protect the children from sexual abuse.


The remaining workshops will be offered Wednesday afternoon, in one hour and 15-minute blocks. Some workshops will be offered more than once. The afternoon workshops are:

Workshop: 5 Priorities for Building Faith in the Next Generation

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Presenter: Mike Howington, Youth and Family Ministry Coordinator, Mississippi Annual Conference

Generations come and go, but they are all connected. As different as each generation seems to be, every generation shares similar history, common desires, universal values and a connected story. History really does repeat itself even though styles change, cultures morph and the message of truth evolves. Join Mike Howington in discussion of connecting the Millennial Generation to the bigger story. These Orange principals, based on the book, “5 Priorities for Building Faith in the Next Generation,” will show that every generation can connect to the bigger story.


Workshop: Africa University Up Close and Personal

Time: 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Presenter: Rev. Jimmy Carr, Co-chair, The Mississippi-Africa Partnership

Martha Scarborough, Co-chair, The Mississippi-Africa Partnership

We will have the opportunity to see the campus of Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe as it is today through video. We will celebrate the Mississippi Conference’s footprints on the University for the past 24 years. The group will get direct reports of what it is like to be a student at Africa University as some of the AU Choir members share information and testimonials. They will answer questions as needed. The Mississippi-Africa University Partnership will be discussed.  Questions related to the partnership will be answered so that participants will feel informed and understand the mission emphasis for our conference in 2015-16. Join us for a great time of learning.


Workshop: Exploring Sabbath: Practical Methods with Children and Families

Time: 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Presenter: Megan Snider, Minister to Children and Families, Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church

Incorporating sabbath into our hectic and often high energy ministry programs can be challenging but is not impossible. During this workshop we will explore various avenues of sacred rest and how they can be translated into ministry-particularly with children and families. Through a variety of hands on learning experiences we will engage in different methods of practicing sabbath including creative arts, breathing techniques and more. If your church is looking to enhance teachings on spiritual rest or you simply need to take a break, join us as we learn together.


Workshop: Disability

Time: 4:00 p.m - 5:15 p.m.

Presenter: Dr. Scott Crawford

Rev. Eric Pridmore, Senior Pastor, Poplarville First United Methodist Church

You are invited to join us for an engaging and enlightening workshop on Disability Ministry. Our Mississippi Conference is committed to the work of disability ministries in the local churches throughout our state. Approximately 60 million persons in the United States have a disability. This means 20 percent or one out of every five persons has a disability. The rate of physical and mental impairment is actually increasing and our congregations need to be engaged in ministry to all persons of all abilities. We are excited that Dr. Scott Crawford of Broadmeadow United Methodist Church will help lead this workshop. Everyone with an interest in making disciples and ministry with individuals and families with disabilities are invited to join us for this valuable workshop.


Workshop: Disaster Response 

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Presenter: Rev. David Cumbest, Mississippi Annual Conference Coordinator for Disaster Relief 

Have you ever seen a disaster and wondered “How can I help?” Disaster response in Mississippi invites you to be a part of conversation regarding training and collaboration for future disasters in Mississippi—tornados, hurricanes, floods or earthquakes. All are invited to come join our team. Whether you have trained through UMCOR or have simply sensed a calling, this workshop is tailored for you.


Workshop: Evangelism Through Worship

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. 

Presenter: Bishop James E. Swanson Sr., Resident Bishop, Mississippi Annual Conference

The purpose of this pre-conference workshop is to expose the participates to the ever increasing need to create an atmosphere in the worship experience where those that are present will sense that you have spent time preparing for their appearance and that you have an expectation that the Holy Spirit will be present as well. The outcomes will be an inviting spirit, that beckons everyone to feel welcome in that space, to sense belonging and a desire to be with your congregation as you journey with Christ. 


Workshop: First-Timers Workshop

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Presenters: Rev. Steve Casteel, Senior Pastor, Clinton First United Methodist Church and Executive Director and Host of The United Methodist Hour

Latoya Redd Thompson, East Jackson District Lay Leader 

Are you a first-time voting member to the annual conference? We have some helpful information for you from registration to budgets. Steve Casteel and Latoya Redd Thompson will facilitate this conversation.


Workshop: Giving/Generosity

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Presenters: Rev. Mike Hicks, Executive Director of the Mississippi United Methodist Foundation, Inc.

David Stotts, Treasurer/Director of Finance and Administration/Conference Benefits Officer, Mississippi Annual Conference

Struggling to fund ministry and mission afflicts many of the churches of the Mississippi Annual Conference. We can no longer assume people are going to give. How are we going to create new generations of generous givers? Join us for some practical guidance.


Workshop: In Mission Together: Making a Difference without Damage 

Time: 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Randy Russ, IMT Partnership Coordinator with Global Ministries 

Our traditional approach to missions often focuses on need-based, short-term relief resulting in unhealthy dependency.  “In Mission Together” is a new vision for missions built on asset-based, long-term development.  The IMT 50/50 Partnership Covenant encourages equal participation, 50/50, as the body of Christ by utilizing everyone’s skills and resources. This prevents dependency and fosters self-sufficiency by addressing systemic issues rather than treating symptoms.  In this workshop, Rev. Dr. Randy Russ, IMT Partnership coordinator with Global Ministries, will explore how the local church can become more effective in missions across town and around the world through the IMT 50/50 Covenant.


Workshop: Mission Engagement

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Presenters: Rev. Dr. Joey Shelton, Senior Pastor, Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church

Rev. Emily Sanford, Associate Pastor, Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church

Rev. Eddie Spencer, Pastor to Church and Society, Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church

Lay participants from Galloway Memorial and St. Mark's United Methodist churches

In-reach leads to outreach: a holistic approach. What is mutuality in mission engagement? Whose budget? Pay attention: bloom where you are planted. Piggback and connect. Tell the story: Faces of Grace.


Workshop: Revitalization 

Time: 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Sharma Lewis, Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District Superintendent, North Georgia Conference

Working with the office of congregational development and the district Strategic Growth Team, Rev. Dr. Lewis will describe the process of revitalizing new churches in your district. She will discuss best practices and key learnings from her experience in the Atlanta/Decatur/Oxford District in the North Georgia Annual Conference.


Workshop: Small Groups

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Presenter: Rev. Timothy Thompson, Administrative Assistant to the Bishop For Faith Community Formation 

This workshop is for clergy and congregations who are looking for ways to develop deeper discipleship. Small groups are made workable without losing their essential dynamic as a Bible-based community of accountability. Thompson wants to resurrect class meetings/small groups and give them new meaning, showing their relevance for the church today and how they may be a perfect means for church renewal. Those attending this workshop will be better equipped with a shared language to talk about the work of the Holy Spirit among them and a structure for holding themselves accountable through discipleship.


Workshop: Shared Leadership Between Clergy and Laity

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Presenters: Rev. Warren Coile, Saint Mark’s United Methodist Church

Rev. Karie Sue McCaleb, Pastor to Children and Families, Saint Mark’s United Methodist Church

Shared leadership is one of the most important keys to vibrant and fruitful congregational ministry. Too often, pastors are left alone with the large task of visioning, organizing and implementing ministry as the congregation has minimal interaction, which can potentially cause issues within the life of the church. Shared leadership is a way to connect the dots to involve everyone for a broader view of ministry through the theological lens of the "priesthood of all believers." This workshop will address the ways clergy and laity can connect together, share leadership through visioning together and dream big for a much larger impact for present and future ministry.


Workshop: Status and Role of Women

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Presentation: Rev. Susannah Carr, Chair, Mississippi Annual Conference COSROW Committee

Becky Posey Williams, Senior Director of Advocacy and Sexual Ethics, The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, Chicago, Illinois

The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women invites you to join in an interactive presentation addressing your concerns around issues related to sexism in The United Methodist Church. As well as talking about what it means to live in a community of faith from a position of respect and integrity of our neighbor, we will also address the realities of appointment of women in clergy leadership positions.  We encourage all clergy and laity to be a part of this most important time as we listen to one another and offer strategies for effectively meeting these challenges in our Mississippi United Methodist churches. This workshop will be led by Rev. Susannah Carr, chair of the Mississippi Annual Conference Committee on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) and Becky Posey Williams, senior director of Advocacy and Sexual Ethics, The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women in Chicago, Illinois.


Workshop: UMCom’s Tools for Increasing Your Church’s Vitality

Time: 2:30 p.m. -3:45 p.m.

Presenters: Caitlin Congdon, Director, UMCom Communications Training and Development

Craig Catlett, Training and Development Specialist, UMCom

Based on the book, “Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World,” this training encourages church members to work together to discover new steps and tools to increase vitality in their congregation by focusing on leadership development, worship, small groups and missions.


Workshop: UMCom’s Welcoming

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Presenters: Caitlin Congdon, Director, UMCom Communications Training and Development

Craig Catlett, Training and Development Specialist, UMCom

The Welcoming training is designed to expand your own understanding and lifestyle of welcoming: “extending the radical hospitality of Christ to everyone, all the time, both inside and beyond the walls of your church.” You also will find additional resources to help you lead others in establishing and maintaining a dynamic welcoming ministry that transforms your congregation and engages your community.  Participants will learn what it means to be welcoming and hospitable. They will also be given tools to assess personal and congregational welcoming levels and learn how to reach out to the community.  


Workshop: Funding the Ministry of the Mississippi Annual Conference 

Time: 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Presenter: David Stotts, Treasurer/Director of Finance and Administration/Conference Benefits Officer, Mississippi Annual Conference

As we progress through annual conference, you need to know how the connectional mission and ministry we do together is funded. After all, as a member of annual conference, you will be asked by your local church members just how that works. Join the conference treasurer to learn about the funding plan that is made up of apportioned mission shares and the direct invoicing. You will learn why these two processes are so different. Also as a result of attending this session, you will be better equipped to vote on the funding plan on Saturday morning.

Workshop: Vital Worship

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Presenter: Michael Kemp, Worship Arts Director, Christ United Methodist Church

Lex orandi, lex credendi is a 5th century Latin maxim which translates, "as we worship, so we believe."  This phrase was later expanded to include, lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi – "as we worship, so we believe, so we live."  Turned around this phrase reads, our lives reflect what we believe and who/what we worship. So who or what are we really worshiping? In this workshop we will look at what the Bible teaches about worship and focus on applying these principles in our local context.  Only then can we hope to experience vital worship.

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