A Model of Generative Leadership: Skipperville UMC
The Skipperville United Methodist Church, located in Dale County 10 miles north of Ozark, was founded in 1882. Over the past 134 years, this church has been known as the ancestral home for many outstanding Methodist ministers. Ministers with family roots in the Skipperville United Methodist Church have included Dr. Charles Mathison, Dr. George Mathison, Dr. John Ed Mathison, Dr. Ovie Mathison, Dr. Paul Mathison, Dr, Si Mathison, Rev. Herbert Whatley, Rev, Bryant Wilson, Rev. Cullen Wilson, Rev. Gloria Wilson, Rev. Robert Wilson, and Bishop Mike Watson. In addition, the late Dr. Jerrell Mathison and his wife, Dr. Joyce Mathison, served as medical missionaries to Ethiopia. Dr. Hubert Searcy, President of Huntingdon College from 1938 to 1968 was reared in the Skipperville United Methodist Church.
Located next to G. W. Long High School, the Skipperville United Methodist for many years has taken pride in partnering with the school to meet the educational and spiritual needs of thousands of children and youth in that area. Through its rich history, the church has been defined by its emphasis on education and spiritual growth. It is not surprising that a large percentage of the church members have graduated from colleges, universities, and seminaries and returned to the Skipperville area to create a contagious climate of Wesley’s emphasis on a keen mind and warm heart.
The Reverend Freddie McCain was appointed minister in Skipperville in 2007. He and his wife, Inez, could never have dreamed of the nurturing influence that the church would have upon the life of their son, Chris. The church invited him to speak on Children’s Sabbath, serve as a Youth Bible Study Teacher, and provided for him so many other opportunities to develop his leadership skills. As a direct result of the nurturing Skipperville congregation, Chris is now serving as the Youth Director at the First United Methodist Church of Ozark while completing his degree at Huntingdon. He has been recommended by the Skipperville church as a candidate for the ordained ministry.
It is significant that Chris is embarking upon this journey into the ordained ministry the very same year that Dr. George Mathison retired as the last minister in the Alabama-West Florida Conference with family roots in the Skipperville church. When you think of the powerful influences of both clergy and laity that claim Skipperville United Methodist Church as their ancestral home, you realize how well the church has fulfi lled its mission, “To share God’s love in word and deed to make disciples of Jesus Christ to change individuals, families, communities, and the world.”