The Reverend Jason Elder - Pastor

[Rev. Jason Elder] Reverend Jason Elder, Pastor

As out church observes its 300th year of service to the community and to the world, the Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie is pleased to welcome the Reverend Jason Elder as our new pastor. The Reverend Elder will assume our pastorship in July, stepping to the pulpit that has been occupied in our interim by the Reverend David Hondorp.

Pastor Jason's path to the pulpit of the Poughkeepsie Reformed Church is a journey that started in Mississippi, wound through California, Tennessee, and California again before finding its way to his present Call here on the edge of the New York metroplex.

Finding himself called to the service of God and Jesus Christ in his high school years, Jason soon gradutated from Blue Mountain College in northern Mississippi with a Bachelor in Biblical Studies, and later from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now named Gateway Seminary) with a Masters in Divinity. Ordained as a Baptist minister, Jason began service as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation for the Hillside Church of Marin in Corte Madera in California. Finding his strength and passion in planting new churches in vacated neighborhoods, Reverend Elder soon found himself planting churches in California and Tennessee, guiding these fledgling churches while they grew and found their own pastors.

After a brief break from the ministry, where he and his wife Barbara joined a Presbyterian church in Memphis and he labored away at what those in the pews would loosly term "a normal job," Jason found himself called back into the Service of the Lord again. This time, it was in the Presbyterian Church of America, serving as Associate Pastor and later Interim Pastor in the Trinity Presbyterian Church of Orange County where he continued his efforts in church planting.

Reverend Elder was one of 30 candidates considered by the Reformed Church of Poughkeespie's Pastor Search Committee in 2015 and 2016. His spirituality and warm people-oriented personality led our Search Committee to unanimously recommend Jason as our long anticipated new leader. He was invited to come to the Poughkeepsie Reformed Church in April of 2016 and lead our congregation in worship. With unanimous consent of the congregation, and after completing examinations with the Mid-Hudson Classis of the RCA's New York Regional Synod, our church extended a Call to Jason.

Jason and his wife Barbara – herself a seminary graduate with a Masters in Theological Studies – have three children: Violet, age 9; Miles, age 4; and baby August.

Barbara has done mission work in Mongolia, and again with Jason in India, and also served as the Children's Ministry Director at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Barbara has also completed an Art Degree and has taught art at the high school level.

Violet loves animals – particularly dogs – and shares her mother's talent for art. Miles appears to have inherited his father's height and the love of basketball. August, only months old, was born as we completed our Pastor Search process and we shared the thrill of his birth.

In the Pastor's Own Words

On his strengths and what he brings to the service of the church: "I teach in a way that speaks to both believers and non-believers while doing justice to the complexities of the text and the complexities of life."

On what caused him to enter ministry: "I sensed a call to ministry about a year after becoming a Christian while I was in high school. Through discipleship with my pastors and the dedication of my home church, which gave me space to serve and discern, I saw an enduring desire to serve Christ and his church. This desire has never changed."

On his three most passionate hopes for Christ's Church: "I want the Church to be thoroughly convinced in the beauty and power of Jesus and his gospel... I want the church to recapture community... I want the church to regain a sense of everyday mission."

On what made him consider the Call at the Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie: "Several years ago I began reconsidering my theological commitments as I was planting a church... I wanted to align myself with a denomination that was committed to the gospel, committed to Reformed theology, and had a system of church government. I knew the process might take a while and might be a bit winding... I want to be a part of a denomination that welcomes a diversity of opinion on issues without demonizing those who differ from us. We have so much in common that can be celebrated and capitalized for the good of the spread of the gospel."