Jason, Ethan & Tara
Get to know Pastor Jason
I was raised in a Catholic family, but church was never a big part of my life. I found a faith of my own at a church camp in Malibu, Canada. When I returned home I became immediately involved in a dynamic church plant in Seattle, WA. I loved the innovative approach to worship and outreach I experienced there. In 2004, now in Washington, DC, I found myself stuck in a job that I did not like and wasn’t particularly good at.
Unsure of what I wanted to try next, I took an on-line “strengths finders” test to see if that could help shed some light. I don’t remember exactly what the results of the test were but I remember thinking, “huh, that’s kind of what a pastor does”. I enrolled at Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC, where I fell in love with the study of the Bible and theology as well as church history, Christian ethics and pretty much every other subject that was offered.
While in seminary, I spent two years as a pastoral intern for young adults at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Burtonsville, MD, where Brian McLaren was senior and founding pastor. I learned all that I could from him and the rest of the staff there. I was young and idealistic and made plenty of mistakes. But I also learned and grew and gained confidence.
After seminary, I had offers to join the staff of existing churches and I thought about it, long and hard. But I wanted to put some of the ideas that were running around in my head into action so I gathered a group of friends and we started New Leaf Church in College Park, MD. I spent over 6 years as pastor of New Leaf Church and it was, to date, one of the most inspiring, challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.
Of course, the other inspiring, challenging and rewarding experience of my life has been being a husband and a father. I am married to Dr. Tara Drozdenko who has a PhD in Physics and currently works for The Outrider Foundation. Together we have a son who is our pride and joy. He is funny, creative, and has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met.
In 2012 I joined the pastoral staff as Minister of Community at First Baptist Church in Madison, WI. I was at First Baptist from 2012 to 2020 and it was a challenging and inspiring experience that taught me new things about church organization, diversity and serving the broader community.
On June 9, 2020 I began my new position as Pastor of Underwood Memorial Baptist Church. Underwood is a beautiful, historic church with a long history of work and activism in the community, and I am blessed to be the pastor here.