By Kara Witherow, Editor
Don Barnes is the newly elected president of the South Georgia Conference’s United Methodist Men.
An active member of Cordele First United Methodist Church, Barnes has served as South Georgia’s United Methodist Men’s secretary for more than a decade and has been involved in men’s ministry at the local, district, and conference level.
Barnes will formally assume the role on June 7, at the end of the 2021 Annual Conference session, but has already begun to work on a transition of leadership as he fills the remaining three years of the late Henry Holt’s term of service. Holt, who was elected Conference UM Men president last August, died January 30.
“I have known Don Barnes for many years and he truly is a servant leader,” said Donald Rhodes, past South Georgia UMM president. “He will focus on helping our men grow in Christ so that other men may come to know Christ. I am excited about working with him in the coming years to grow our UMM ministries and missions.”
A lifelong Methodist, Barnes’ formative years were spent at Warwick United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Karen, have been married 42 years and have two daughters and three granddaughters. Barnes, who graduated from Crisp County High School and attended Southern Technical Institute in Marietta, has worked in the engineering field for the past 30 years. He currently works at Cordele Metal Works.
A guiding verse in Barnes’ life is Joshua 24:15.
“We have to choose this day who we will serve,” he said. “I think that’s a daily process.”
As a young man, Barnes was greatly influenced by older men who were involved in the Conference’s United Methodist Men, among them Carson Bass; Dennis Odom; B.I. Thornton, Jr.; Roy Lifsey; Larry Price; Chuck Cowart; and Donald Rhodes, and attended his first UMM retreat as a college student.
Barnes believes the UMM should be an active ministry, making disciples and being the hands and feet of Christ.
“My goal is, as much as possible, to have us involved in a grassroots level, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak,” he said.
To do that, he plans to work closely with the existing leadership and reach out and involve younger men. He appreciates the guidance and support of Rhodes and other UMM leaders.
Barnes also points to Henry Holt and his legacy and says he had looked forward to what Holt – a devoted follower of Christ, active member of St. Mary’s Road UMC, and beloved figure in the Columbus area – would have brought to the UMM.
“We’re looking at trying to bring as many men together – maybe not physically yet – but at least in ministry, as possible.”