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Four Questions for Dan Jackson
By Chad Stuart
Elder Dan Jackson, I want to thank you for taking the time to spend some time with us. Can you share with us what is on your heart as we head into CALLED, the NAD Ministerial Convention?
I really believe in my heart that the greatest days of the church are ahead. In spite of our penchant to return to what some consider to be “the best days in history,” the best days of the church really are ahead. And the reason is because God is going to pour out His Spirit on His people, and on His pastors (as if there is a difference) to those that are receptive to His Spirit. So my heart’s hope is that as we move into the ministerial convention and General Conference, God will be able to work.
For me the biggest issue isn’t that the process works or that we have great leadership, but that God will be able to work. So my heart really is reaching out to God, appealing to Him to get through to us, so that we will acknowledge Him as supreme in the church, so that Jesus really will be the focus of our church and of our thinking. And that we will, by His grace, begin to herald, not only His coming, but also His love for the human family. And it is because of that love He is coming again.
Share with us your heart for pastors…
You know I was a pastor for 25 years – from 1971 to 1996 – so my heart goes out to our pastors. I think in particular in the last five years they have been subjected to UNUSUAL scrutiny and challenges. My heart goes out to pastors because I believe they are women and men who have made commitments to God and are doing their best to fulfill those commitments; not just in challenging times in the world’s history, but very challenging times in the church. So my wish for pastors is that they will sense the Father heart of God, and feel the love and appreciation of our church leadership.
If you are re-elected for another five years what is your vision for the pastorate that you serve and that serves with you?
That is a great way to put it, because I am a pastor. I just apostatized and went into administration. One of my desires when I came into this office was that the North American Division would reconnect with their pastors; and I believe we have started to do that. I believe with the development of the ministerial department and the various projects they are undertaking that it is beginning to happen. My dream is that our pastors would sense that they are being provided with valuable resources that are meaningful to their everyday ministry, and that they would be able to utilize these resources. I think with our continuing education program that will be unveiled at the Called convention in Austin, that pastors will be able to not only have more resources at their disposal, but they will learn to utilize them.
I believe the greatest preaching, teaching, diplomatic ministries that we’ve ever had in the church in history are going to take place. God did not choose my generation of pastors to finish the work – He has a whole new generation in His mind…I can’t predict when Jesus will come, but with every successive generation, we see and are going to continue to see how powerfully God will utilize pastors.
You know there are no baptisteries in conference offices, or union offices, or division offices, or at the General Conference. In other words the work, the movement called Seventh-day Adventism doesn’t take place in offices. We have the opportunity to resource the movement, but we are not the movement, the movement is in the local congregation. And I hope with the things we are beginning to develop and provide we will be able to help local churches with that work; both with materials and finances.
Do you have challenges for our pastors?
I am a strong believer that when a pastor stands in a pulpit on Sabbath morning, that is a divine appointment. There isn’t anything fluky about it, there isn’t anything chance about it – that is a divine appointment every single Sabbath. That was always my belief during my years of pastoring.
So my challenge would be that pastors dig deeply into God’s Word, understand their  members, and preach in ways that will bless their congregations not only spiritually, but also practically, so that as they walk out of church having worshiped God and having been fed, they’ll be prepared to not only meet what is going to come to them that week, but be fully connected to God in the process. So preach your heart out!
Dan Jackson is president of the North American Division. Chad Stuart is senior pastor of the Spencerville Church in Maryland