Faith News

February 2017: Jeff Briden

Jeff Briden (’83, ’87) serves as the assistant pastor of Parsippany Baptist Church in Parsippany, New Jersey, where he has been serving for 28 years. From serving as a part-time assistant pastor in Iowa to serving as the long-term assistant pastor at PBC, God has led Jeff into a lifetime of ministry faithfully serving Him.

Jeff visited Faith when he was a teenager with his youth group from Ohio. Although Jeff had no intention of attending Faith, he agreed to go on the trip for the fun opportunity of taking a plane ride with people from church. God used that trip to lead him to Faith as a student.

While at Faith, Jeff participated in music ministries such as performing instrumental solos and playing in the concert band. He also worked in the kitchen throughout his years as a student. As he looks back, these experiences gave him opportunities to train for ministry.

Jeff felt the call to ministry just before his senior year of high school. That summer he served as a teacher for a backyard Bible club followed by a week at a Christian camp and a teen leadership conference. These events, coupled with his visit to Faith, directed Jeff to pursue a life of ministry.

Jeff began seminary at Denver Baptist Theological Seminary, but when Denver merged with Faith, he finished his education in Iowa. He served for two years as an assistant pastor in Newton, Iowa while working part-time. God began leading him to a full-time ministry role, and through previous connections at Denver, he candidated and was called to be the full-time assistant pastor of Parsippany Baptist Church.

“Youth ministry has been one of my responsibilities here at Parsippany,” Jeff said. “When I first came, there was a seventh grader in our youth group who is now our Christian school principal. A young lady who ministers presently in our youth ministry is someone I can remember being born 27 years ago. Another former youth group member is one of the missionaries our church supports. Other former youth group members are also actively involved in our Christian school and church ministries. Ephesians 4:11-12 speaks of the role of a pastor to be equipping the saints for ministry. What a thrill to see that happening before my very eyes over the years!”

The greatest lesson Jeff has learned as a pastor is the benefit of stepping outside of his comfort zone. “I have learned that God is always the One who will accomplish His purpose through me and sometimes even in spite of me,” Jeff explained. “God seems to delight in using ordinary people to accomplish His work and consequently deserves the credit and glory for anything any of His servants accomplish.”