Director of Youth Ministries
Room S-207. Extension 15.
Though focusing on pre-med at Baylor University, Tiffin Wilsford always volunteered with programs for children and youth. He became interested in the Methodist Church through mentoring to a middle school group of boys at the Methodist Home in Waco. Upon graduating from Baylor with a degree in biology, he worked as a paramedic/lab technician with Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi. When he and his wife Lisa moved to Houston to pursue medical careers, they found St. Paul’s.
He did continue working in the medical field for almost three years while preparing to apply to graduate school. But the more he worked as a volunteer with St. Paul’s youth, the stronger the pull toward full-time professional church youth work tugged. When the then youth director had twins and soon thereafter moved to Venezuela, he became St. Paul’s Director of Youth Ministries in January 1999.
During the years he has served in that capacity the number of actively participating youth has continued to grow. A vibrant new Youth Center was carved out of a few rooms in the Sanctuary building basement as part of the Centennial Celebration in 2005-06, and soon they were bursting at the seams.
Under his leadership, the youth meet Sunday mornings for Sunday School and Sunday evenings for United Methodist Youth (UMY) and Confirmation. Throughout the school hear he also leads them in Wednesday afternoon Bible Study plus retreats and special recreational activities on selected weekends. He and the youth really pick up steam over the summer as he leads each age group in week-long mission trips to provide free home repairs for low-income, elderly, and disabled homeowners. This includes the building of wheelchair ramps, porches, steps, and handrails, painting homes, cleaning houses, and mowing yards as the youth become missionaries serving God’s people.
“I have a passion for mission projects,” he said. “I love to be hands-on in the building projects of mission trips.”
In 2008 he lead a group of youth on a mission trip to Bolivia .
In service beyond St. Paul’s, Tiffin has been vice president of the U.M. Army* national board, JUMMP* board member, the Texas Annual Conference Committee for Clergy Recruitment, District Committee for Congregational Excellence, Youth Coordinator for the Central South District, and co-coordinator for conference-wide Mid-Winter retreats.
Tiffin grew up in west and south Texas attending Baptist churches, and his wife grew up as a Roman Catholic. “When we joined St. Paul’s, we knew we had found our church home when Dr. Bankston told us, ‘There wouldn’t be as many Methodists if Baptists and Catholics didn’t marry.’”
He also enjoys that St. Paul’s has rich traditions, yet is a growing and welcoming environment. Continuing the tradition of St. Paul’s youth leaders having twins, Lisa and Tiffin have pre-school twin daughters and one older son.
*U.M. ARMY = United Methodist Action Reach-Out Mission by Youth, a mission work camp for senior high youth
*JUMMP = Junior United Methodist Mission Project, a mission work camp for middle school youth