Long-time Pastor Dr. John Ed Mathison teamed up with Coach Willie Spears to write a book on serving. Bip or Apron is independently published through Amazon’s self-publishing platform Kindle Direct Publishing. The 191 pages are a collection of articles written by the two authors who have written over eleven other books.
Dr. John Ed Mathison retired in June 2008 after serving 36 years as senior minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. At his retirement, Frazer had eight Sunday Morning Worship Services at the Atlanta Highway campus — three traditional, three contemporary, one Hispanic, and one Chinese. In 2006, The Church Reporter magazine recognized Frazer as the 25th most influential church in America.
John Ed’s father, Si Mathison, pastored in Spears’ hometown of Panama City, Florida, at First United Methodist from 1966 to 1982 when he was forced to retire from the church but not from ministry. He spent 29 years as the chaplain at Bay Medical Center, located directly across from the church near downtown Panama City.
John Ed holds a bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College, a Bachelor of Divinity Degree from Candler School of Theology, a master’s degree from Princeton Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Candler School of Theology. He also has honorary doctorate degrees from Asbury Seminary, Huntingdon College, and Birmingham Southern College.
After earning a communications degree from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree from Troy University, Spears spent twenty years in education as an administrator, teacher, and coach. By the age of 42, he had been the head football coach of seven schools, athletic director of three, and coordinator of a division one and division two university.
Spears won teacher and coach of the year while building a reputation for turning around football programs with faith-based principles and dynamic motivation. Spears was ordained by the Church of God in Christ and the Southern Baptist Convention.
While collaborating on this project, the two competitive ministers got in a friendly debate over the better athlete. Spears was an all-conference performer at Rutherford High School and won a national championship at Northwestern Oklahoma State University while leading the team in receptions and scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the national championship game before playing professionally in the Arena League.
For three years in high school, John Ed was an All-State basketball player and a leading scorer at Young Harris Junior College and Huntingdon College. He was consistently ranked #1 in his age division in tennis in Alabama and #3 in the South. In 2014 he was inducted into the Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame. He has won seven state racquetball championships.
They may not agree on who the better athlete is, but they both agree on the call to serve our fellow man. The book is a collection of stories to encourage others to take off their bib and put on an apron. Mathison and Spears believe we all should look out for the interest of others and not just our interest.
Both authors produce daily content for social media and serve as an evangelist preaching throughout the country regularly.