Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Strength for Service

Hi everyone!

I know, I know...I said I would blog weekly and I have not lived up to my promise. I have been going in a million different directions, but plan to be committed to this blog in 2010!

I wanted to mention one of the ministries of United Methodist Men. It is called Strength for Service.

Over a million Strength for Service books were distributed during WWII and the Korean conflict before it went out of print. Fifty years later, a young man named Evan Hunsberger was inspired by his grandfather's worn copy and began working to republish the book as his Eagle Scout project.

With a few editorial changes and some additional contributions, Strength for Service, was released in 2002. To date, it has been distributed to over 400,000 people of all denominations. The General Commission on United Methodist Men works on the distribution and fundraising for this worthy project.

The Commission is constantly receiving letters and emails of appreciation from Chaplains and others from around the world. One such note is posted below:

"I work with basic training soldiers-as well as drill sergeants and some other soldiers. I get many requets for religious reading material-especially since the basic training soldiers aren't allowed to read other materials-so this book really helps. It is a great durable book that can go anywhere with them. Thank you for this ministry you provide our soldiers. It is a real blessing, and can certainly have eternal value! May God bless each of you involved with the Strength for Service project."

-Chaplain (Captain) Doug Hoover

2-10 Infantry Battalion

Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

As always, let's remember those who are serving our country so bravely!



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Marketing Efforts for UMM

Hi Friends,

My job is really fun right now...I mean, really fun. How often do you hear a person say that?

I enjoy new projects, new ideas and new creative opportunities. The Board and Staff at the GCUMM is giving me the support and encourage to think big and initiate change in terms of our current marketing efforts.

What will this look like in 2010? Well, the first new thing you will notice is a completely updated website and logo. Also, UMM will have new print pieces, a new presence in social media, and new videos that clearly tell the amazing story of this ministry.

United Methodist Men is making a difference in the lives of men, youth, churches and families. There are INCREDIBLE stories to tell and people to engage in these efforts. I feel so lucky that God, in His divine planning, put me in this place at this time. It is a gift for me to come alongside such a great group of people and tell the story of United Methodist Men in a new way.

God is good, and He has certainly blessed me.

Check out our new website in January.

Blessings to you this week,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Very cool experiences...

Hi everyone-

Wow! I have been all over the place in the past eight days! Last Monday, I flew to Dallas for a number of meetings in the Dallas area and Shreveport, LA. Other than my complete inability to get around without a navigation system in my rental car, the trip was awesome. I met AMAZING people who continue to confirm that this marketing/pr/development position for the United Methodist Men was the RIGHT decision for me.

While in Dallas, I had coffee with Mary Brooke Casad from the Connectional Table (within the United Methodist Church). She is a precious person and I know that I will enjoy working with her for a long time through the connection of the UMC. (I just hope her LSU Tigers aren't able to beat my Crimson Tide in a few weeks!)

I met the team of guys who work with Greg Vaughn on the ministry, Letters from Dad. We (UMM) promote and endorse Letters from Dad in United Methodist Churches around the world. This ministry is blessing families and making a difference in the spiritual lives of men.

I also met Dr. Gene Getz. I couldn't believe the amount of quality time that Dr. Getz gave me. He is a real pioneer in men's ministry and an amazing man of God. Dr. Getz has written over 50 books, one of which is The Measure of a Man. We (UMM) also strongly endorse this book as a teaching tool in men's ministries in local churches. Dr. Getz gave me about 15 books while I was out there. I just left his office so encouraged and excited about my own spiritual journey.

While in Dallas, I met a group of men from First United Methodist Richardson. They are like, the model of successful men's ministry. These guys have really good hearts and I look forward to sharing the story of their ministry efforts through our revised website that will launch in January. (Yes, we are going to launch a completely new "look" to our website and many new marketing materials really soon. More details coming.)

So before I wrapped up Dallas and drove to Shreveport, I had breakfast with Andy James (UMC Reporter). I learned a lot about the Reporter and had a great visit with Andy. I also visited with Bishop Bledsoe, bishop of the North Texas Conference. He was gracious, encouraging and kind. A funny story...I set the appointment with his assistant. All she told him was that "Bari from United Methodist Men" wants to meet with you. Well, when I walked in his office, you can imagine his surprise. I was not what he was expecting! :)

From Dallas, I was off to Shreveport with a visit with Judge Carl Stewart and his wife, Jo Ann. What a couple! I can not say enough about these wonderful people. We dined at a seafood restaurant near downtown. I learned about their family and careers and community. What quickly stood out, though, was their commitment to the Lord and their commitment to people. I want to invest in others and be a difference-maker just like them. Judge Stewart was on the UMM board for eight years and provided great leadership, especially in the area of Scouting.

So, I flew home on Thursday....Worked all day Friday in the Nashville office. I caught up around my house on Saturday and then was off again on Sunday to Gulf Breeze and Panama City, FL. (My husband, Clif, traveled with me this time. He is serving as my living, breathing navigation system! :)) We leave here today and head to Birmingham, AL for meetings and then back to Nashville to wrap up the week.

Yes, I'm busy. But, I love what I do. I love people. I love the people of the United Methodist church. I love the wonderful Lord we serve.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Modern Day Circuit Riders

I have been thinking this week about the original Circuit Riders in the Methodist Episcopal Church. They were clergy in the early years of the United States who traveled to certain geographic areas to minister to settlers as well as to organize churches. The term Circuit Riders is very Wesleyan and an important part of the church's rich history.

I have specifically though about the correlation between the work of the early clergy, or Circuit Riders, and the work we are doing here at the General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM). Because this is a global ministry to and through men, many of us in the office travel a lot. We are visiting certain geographical areas to minister to church members and individuals as well as to share the stories of the United Methodist Men. As a member of this ministry team, there is such joy and fulfillment in meeting new people, giving and receiving encouragement, and finding ways to continue to share the gospel with others around the world. We are, in a sense, modern day circuit riders.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gideon-one of my favorites!

Hi Friends!

Sorry it has been a while...I plan to update the blog weekly from this point forward. :)

I had the joy of visiting First United Methodist Church in Birmingham, AL last weekend. The new minister, Reverend Keith Thompson, provided a great message that really encouraged me. Reverend Thompson preached on Gideon from the book of Judges.

God called Gideon to lead an uprising against the Midianites, who were oppressively ruling over Israel at that time. Gideon raised an army of 32,000, but after several tests by the Lord, the army consisted of only 300 men. God did this so the people of Israel would not boast to Him that they saved themselves by their own strength. At night, Gideon and his 300 men lit torches, blew trumpets and shouted, "For the Lord and for Gideon." Then they stood by and watched as the enemy ran, crying out as they fled.

What a testament to trusting God when things seem impossible! I can only imagine how nervous and anxious Gideon and the 300 faithful men must have been when they surrounded the Midianite camp and began blowing the trumpets.

I thought about how often I tell God, through prayer and meditation, that I trust Him with all my heart. Do I? I just know this...I want to be a Gideon. When I'm presented with the impossible, I want to be found faithful in my total assurance of God's goodness and plans for me.

Last week, I found myself expressing to someone who Jesus is to me and the role He plays in my life...He's my protector, my ever-present help in time of need, my rock, my shield. It is amazing to just let go in faith and let the Holy Spirit work in your life. The tender ways that Jesus makes Himself known to me are incredible. I have a peace that I can't adequately describe to people who have not yet experienced it themselves. Just think: the God who protected Gideon against the Midianite army is the same God who sent Jesus to die on the cross for you and me.

To God be the Glory!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

God is Good!

Hello Friends!

My name is Bari Watson Eason. I work for the General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM) in Nashville, TN. This is a global ministry that seeks to help men grow in Christ, so others may know Christ. I am honored and humbled to have recently been hired as the Director of Marketing and Development for the GCUMM.

Although I don't know a lot about blogging, I'm excited to use this tool to communicate with you. There are so many GREAT things happening today in men's ministry for the United Methodist Church! I'm really blessed to be the story-teller, the communicator and the cheerleader for all the work being done to reach men's hearts and make them disciples of Jesus Christ.

Through this blog, I will write about my travels. I'll write about meeting with supporters and friends of the ministry. I'll talk about my personal experience and growth. I'll explain some really cool new concepts for men's ministry that will have a huge kingdom-impact on all people within the church.

Right now, though, I'd like to tell you a little about my journey to this place...

I grew up on a farm in small town Alabama. I have a wonderful family that I dearly love. I was raised attending my Papaw's small country church, where I gave my heart to Jesus at the tender age of seven. Life for me was never the same. God molded my life, transformed my heart and set me on a path to do His good work.

I attended The University of Alabama where I had the privilege to serve as Miss University of Alabama during my senior year. This title opened doors to many churches and youth groups where I got to tell others about God's goodness and mercy on my life.

I attended graduate school at Alabama and developed a skill set in Public Relations. My first job after graduation was at The University of West Alabama in Livingston, Alabama where I served as Director of Marketing and Development. I had three great years working at the university and building friendships with almost everyone in that small town.

In 2005, I made a move to Nashville, Tennessee. I accepted a position with Belmont University as the Director of Athletic Marketing and External Affairs. Again, God poured out the blessings on me. I found more friends than I could ever have imagined. Soon, Nashville became a second home to me.

During the past several years, a still small voice often stirred in my heart that someday, somehow I was destined to serve the Lord through ministry. What would that look like? I really didn't know. However, this past spring, through many circumstances, God led me to the GCUMM. I am honored to be in this newly formed role. I'm honored to be serving with a team of incredible people. Together, I pray we can increase the awareness of the power of ministry to and through men and youth. I also hope we can raise operational funds that will expand the ministry outreach and reduce our dependency on World Service Funds from the UMC. Ultimately, though, I hope we will see lives transformed through the healing power of Jesus Christ.

Blessings to you this week!