I started my walk in ministry when I was a young musician playing in various churches and following where the Lord led me. Later on as I grew in the Lord he saw fit to put more responsibilities on my shoulders. He led me to keep doing Music Ministry but also accepting the call to be a ministry of word and sacraments.
I started doing small home missions and bible study groups and then became the assistant Rector of St. Matthias Mission in Lenoir City. It was while being the assistant Rector that I started walking in my journey of becoming a local pastor with the UMC, first becoming a lay speaker and working with lay ministry after becoming a member of the Order of St. Luke. It was during this journey that I had to step away from active ministry because of my professional career as a law enforcement officer.
I had been out of ministry for close to a year when an opportunity came for me to accept another position so that I would be able to return to active ministry. Unfortunately I wasn't able to return to ministry in the UMC and God led me to a mission church that operates within the First United Methodist Church of Sweetwater. It was while filling in behind the pulpit for the pastor and serving as the music director/minister for the mission that I sought holy orders and unfortunately a non-denominational church cannot issue license or ordination for holy orders. That is when I started to really pray for God to lead me and guide me where he wanted me to minister.
I have kept with my original teachings in the church and Wesleyan teachings as well, for example I still use the UMC book of Worship as the primary book for my services within the church as well as the 1928 BCP on occasions when I am in Nashville at the main church.
The Right Rev. Jason Crowder took office as the 1st Bishop and Presiding Elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church on June 10, 2022.
Bishop Crowder, 38, resides in Sweetwater, Tennessee with his wife Addie and their two children, Kelsie, and Liam.
Bishop Crowder has over 20 years of law enforcement experience and currently serves as an SRO (School Resource Officer) for the Sweetwater Police Department. Prior to becoming a SRO Bishop Crowder served as a Park Ranger, Deputy Sheriff, Police Officer, Administrative Lieutenant, Chief of Police and most recently served as Police and Court Administrator for the Town of Tellico Plains where he also served as Interim Chief on 3 different occasions and also served on the Federal Bureau of Investigations Joint terrorism Task Force.
Bishop Crowder was ordained a Priest in the Celtic Anabaptist Communion in 2003 and served as Lay Minister / Pastor in the United Methodist Church before being incardinated into the Anglican Orthodox Southern Episcopal Church in 2016. Bishop Crowder founded the Church of the Good Shepherd in Philadelphia, TN where he serves as Pastor.
On June 10, 2022 The Rt. Rev. Jason Crowder was consecrated and installed as the first Bishop and Presiding Elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Bishop Crowder holds several certifications from the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee and the Municipal Technical Advisory Service. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from the Celtic Cross Seminary of Theology. Bishop Crowder is also a certified Life Coach and holds a certification from the New Skills Academy.
Bishop Crowder is looking ahead to the future and the growth of the Church.