Helping Students' Faith Stay Strong


Central Methodist University in Fayette has a multifaceted relationship with the Missouri Conference. Each year the Missouri Conference provides the school with almost $200,000 from apportioned giving from local churches. Linn Memorial United Methodist Church is a prominent building at the center of campus. Saint Paul United Methodist Church is a historically black church located a block from the heart of campus. But another direct impact of United Methodism that CMU students experience is a ministry with the campus chaplain. 

Rev. Scotty Wall has been the campus chaplain at CMU since moving to that position when appointments changed in July. Before coming to CMU, he was an associate pastor at First UMC in West Plains. 

Originally from Mississippi, he came to Missouri in 1993, and earned a degree in music. He had worked with church plants of non-denominational churches in Indiana before becoming associate pastor of First UMC in West Plains in 2016. While there, he also taught music for Missouri State University on their West Plains campus. 

Wall was a conservative evangelical until 2006. Then, when he started learning more about the United Methodist Church, he realized it aligned much more closely with his beliefs since growing up.

He knows how important it can be to find faith again after losing it. And he’s looking forward to the opportunity to help CMU students do just that when they need his assistance.

“When I was in college, I kind of threw God out and didn’t come back to God for a while,” Wall said. “And when I did that, my life got off track, but when I started incorporating faith back into my life, it helped me navigate through many things.”

Wall says that finding God and faith again helped him “get out of the ditch” and led him to believe he was being called to ministry to help others out of the ditch. He went on to earn his master’s in theology at Bethel Seminary in Minnesota and became a pastor.

“I love working with students, always have,” he said. “I love the philosophical discussions on whether God is real or relevant. I think I’ll love that aspect at CMU and working with students to figure out who they are.”

Recently, Missouri Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Scott Burdin, had just purchased a load of flood bucket supplies when he got a
call from Wall, looking for a mission project for his college students. Burdin took the buckets and materials to CMU, and it took about 35 minutes to unload them with help from the women’s soccer and softball teams. Then the next day, the chapel service started with three songs and a prayer for people affected by disasters, then the students went to work. Wall shared how his community had been impacted by flooding when he was an associate pastor at West Plains. 

“We put out a call for buckets and got them right away and gave them all out, then we got some more,” Wall said. “It was one way we could help people get back on their feet. You must let people know it’s not just the end of something. It’s the start of the next thing.” 

The buckets will be inventoried as part of a hub network that the Missouri Conference participates in, partnership with the United Methodist Committee On Relief so that buckets can be deployed immediately in the event of a disaster. 

Wall is working with Rev. Bill O’Neal at Linn Memorial, to consider ways they may be able to develop some mission experiences that would include both CMU alumni and current students. He has also been working on developing a cohort with some other universities. They start sophomores on a discipleship development path that culminates with a trip to Jerusalem when they are seniors. 

Wall is looking for opportunities where students can help the church. In addition to working with Linn Memorial, he is also looking for ways to work with Saint Paul UMC. Beyond Fayette, he’s looking to get back into visiting churches. 

Recently the band from CMU went to Ashland UMC in St. Joseph and played during both worship services. 
Wall and his wife, Laurie, have three children — ages 23, 20, and 18. The youngest is a freshman at CMU. Wall’s hobbies include playing and listening to music, exercising, hiking, and kayaking. Wall said he plans to be “outreach-focused” in his position and open to “conversations about God. I want to start conversations and extend an open invitation to chapel.”