Rev. Dan Jackson was born in Ohio where he was raised in the Quaker tradition. Following graduation from Ohio Wesleyan University, Dan worked 18 years in the financial services and franchising industries. Responding to God’s call, Dan entered The Methodist Theological School in Ohio and was graduated in 1994. He was ordained an Elder in the West Ohio Conference in 1996. Dan served multiple churches in West Ohio, ranging from 30 to 600 in worship and led 3 building projects and multiple capital campaigns.
In 2006, Dan and his family moved to Florida where he began work as the Executive Pastor of New Covenant United Methodist in the Villages, one of the fastest growing United Methodist Churches in America. During his seven years at New Covenant, worship attendance grew from 900 to over 2000 with plans for a second campus. While at New Covenant, Dan worked with the members to create multiple mission and discipleship programs. Included among those were a jail ministry, a housing ministry and a Lay Leadership Academy. In 2013, Bishop Carter appointed Dan as Florida’s Director of New Church Development. In that role, Dan developed a strategic plan for new churches designed to create disciple making churches in the 20 areas least impacted by United Methodism. As part of that plan, funding for New Church Starts changed from apportionment based to utilizing NCD assets, reducing the NCD apportionment by $800,000. Under his leadership, the Generative Church Leadership Academy was begun, eventually training over 100 pastors from two Annual Conferences. Additionally, working with the Strategic Leadership Team, Dan initiated what is now known as The Cabinet Development Fund. Those efforts resulted in annual investments in local church ministries of over $2,800,000, with no apportionment dollars used.
In 2017, Bishop Carter appointed Dan as Director of the Vital Church Initiative, an organizational change to best support the work of doubling the number of vital congregations while creating 500 Fresh Expressions of Church. The change brought together Congregational Vitality, Fresh Expressions, New Church Development and Church Transitions in one team. In announcing the appointment, Bishop Carter said this about him, “Dan Jackson has led us in the area of new church development with enthusiasm, and has proven to be a collaborative leader. His voice and knowledge at the cabinet table will help us to make appointments that match fruitful pastors with congregations with the potential for vitality.”
In his tenure as Director of New Church Development, the Florida Annual Conference started 11 new churches and chartered 4. Fresh Expressions Florida grew to over 400 separate ministries, including a major initiative which created 50 Dinner Churches in one year.
In his 2019 appointment of Dan as South West District Superintendent, Bishop Carter said, “Dan Jackson has a history of leadership in one of our denomination’s most fruitful churches, New Covenant UMC in the Villages, and as our Director of New Church Development for over five years,” Bishop Carter said. “He has also been a key participant in the Visions Training for Multicultural Leadership and has been instrumental in implementing our vision with the Fresh Expressions movement Dan has served on the appointive cabinet for the past two years and has a high trust level with other superintendents and with key leaders across our conference.” In addition to this role, he will continue as Director of Fresh Expressions.
Dan is the author of Generative Leadership for the New Expedition, which details the characteristics of Christ Focused Church Leaders who develop Christ Focused Church Leaders.
Dan and his wife, Patti, are now retired and live in Columbus Ohio where their 5 children and “the 10 most adorable grandchildren anywhere,” also live. Dan continues to serve as a consultant for the Adaptive Church Leadership Cohort, a combined initiative of Rev. Dr. Tod Bolsinger and Fresh Expressions US.