Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Free Methodist Church

Elliott, Jake

How did you first experience God and choose to follow Christ?

My parents are both followers of Jesus and raised my sisters and me in the faith. I came to know my Lord better in high school through YoungLife and through my community at the Free Methodist Church in Santa Barbara. My early memories of experiencing God’s presence in my life were in these teenage years. My faith in God was drastically deepened and refined in the years immediately following college, and it was then that I felt called to ministry in the church. I have worked as the pastor of worship at the Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara for the last four years, where God has faithfully been present in meaningful ways and at work in my own heart.

How did the Spirit guide you to your current ministry and what has God called you to do through your ministry?

After working at a great real estate firm for two years under two strong Christians, I realized in a strong way that God was calling me to use my love of music in the church. After a season of discontent, turmoil, and anxiety at my previous job, I saw God open a door when a worship leading position opened up at my home church. I came on as part of a lead pastoral transition, and so the first year was quite rough and I wasn’t sure that I was fit for the task at hand. But God, in His mercy, kept me there and empowered me to do the job, and in that season I fell in love with the work of the church. Since then I have directed the worship through music ministry and started my journey to pastoral ministry. Music has been a deep and profound way that I have connected with God. And so the ministry to which He has called me in this time is to use music to inspire, teach, and minister to His children, and to create a means for us to bring Him praise and supplication together. God has pressed upon me in this season that as one member of the body (1 Corinthians 12), the ministry he has called me to is ministry through music.

How did you come to first be involved with the Free Methodist Church and why have you chosen to continue your ministry as an Elder in the Free Methodist Church?

I grew up going to a Free Methodist Church, but as a child was never that aware of the church as part of a larger conference, nor the network of other churches and leaders to which we were connected, supported, and held accountable. Since then, as an adult in the church, my eyes have been opened to the fact that the Free Methodist Church is not a small church in my city, but a global movement of growing churches by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have loved seeing the ways local churches are so connected with one another, how pastors and lay leaders know each other from a history of conferences, classes, and other gatherings and connections as part of the ministry of the Free Methodist Church. I also became aware over time of the polity of the church’s structure and its thoughtful spread of leadership and was impressed by the inner workings that promote accountability, wisdom for leaders, financial sustainability, and mission-oriented unity among different churches. I continued to give God praise as I went on to realize the freedoms at the core of the FM Church and yet the diversity of tradition. All in all, I have been inspired to continue ministry as part of the Free Methodist Church because I’m so excited about its vitality in our conference in Southern California and excited by its interconnectedness under our Lord, Jesus Christ.