Another exciting chapter in the economy of God’s Kingdom opens at Cross Keys United Methodist Church as we welcome our new pastor and spiritual leader, Rev. Jeffrey W. Tilden. Pastor Jeff was ordained as an Elder in the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1981 and transferred to the Southern New Jersey Conference in 1983. Rev. Tilden and his wife Sandy served churches in State College, PA and in Seaville, Forked River, Cinnaminson, Red Bank, Clayton, and Whiting, NJ. Pastor Jeff received his Master of Divinity in 1980 and his Doctor of Ministry in 2006, with a special emphasis on the relationship between science and the Bible. Currently he is a candidate for a Masters degree in Professional Counseling at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.
Rev. Tilden comes to us with a biblically-based vision for ministry that endeavors to intentionally connect friends relationally, in authentic Christian community, through worship, study of God’s Word, and service in the church and community. His vision for the church includes helping believers to grow in Christ, equipping the saints for ministry, and mentoring new leaders in order to glorify God and to make disciples of all nations.
The basis for Pastor Jeff’s ministry is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19 ) which calls believers to respond to the love and grace of God by employing their gifts and resources in the disciple making process. Pastor Jeff believes that making disciples involves both reaching out to the unchurched and discipling existing believers so that all of us may become more like Jesus and be equipped to carry His love and truth into the world. Pastor Jeff has a heart for the unchurched and he continues to look for new ways to build bridges to those who are spiritually seeking.
Pastor Jeff’s goal for Sunday morning messages is to make the Bible come alive and to apply it to our daily lives with a special emphasis on sensitivity to the unchurched. He combines biblical truth with practical insights that will help us grow closer to God and live out our faith at home, at work, and in our communities. Rev. Tilden has experience in traditional and contemporary worship forms, leading small groups, conflict management, apologetics, and comparative religions. Rev. Tilden has served on various conference agencies including the Board of Ordained Ministry and as President of the Southwest District.
Pastor Jeff and Sandy recently celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary. They have two grown sons who are married and live in Elk Township. Pastor Jeff and Sandy are also grandparents and their second grandchild is due at the beginning of July. Sandy’s mother, Adele Thomas, affectionately called “Gram,” will also reside in the parsonage and become a new part of our church family.
We thank God for the wonderful chapter of ministry that He allowed us to share with Pastor Brian, Lois, Rachel, Jacob, and Angela. Our love and prayers are with them as they follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and begin their new ministry at Haddonfield United Methodist Church. We also thank God for sending Pastor Jeff, Sandy, and Gram to us. May we so trust God to guide us through the opening paragraphs of our shared ministry together, that God will richly bless us and prosper his church for the hope of the world.