Rev. Dr. Richard Jackson
Richard began his ministry at First Baptist as Senior Pastor in 2003. In this role, Richard has oversight of all ministry of the church, shaping and implementing the vision and ministry for the church. Richard’s concept of pastoral ministry can be summed up in the phrase, Servant Leadership. He believes that a pastor is called to be a servant to his or her congregation and community, and to provide leadership as both pastor and congregation seek to follow God’s vision for the church and the community.
Richard grew up in a Christian home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and committed his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ at the age of fifteen at a Christian Athletes Hockey Camp. It was at this same camp that he felt God’s hand upon him leading him into the ministry.
Richard’s love of hockey has never left him, and he still avidly follows the sport and can often be seen cheering on the Montreal Canadiens and the Moncton Wildcats. He also enjoys writing, jogging, reading, and fatherhood. Richard and his wife, Yvette, have two children, Josie and Justin, and share their home with their family pets—their dogs, Murphy and Sophie, and their cat, Socks.
Richard’s pastoral experience is both extensive and varied. Prior to coming to First Baptist, he pastored The First Baptist Church of Malvern, Pennsylvania, a church with a history in the community as long as that of First Baptist. During his years of university study, Richard held several pastorates during the summers and as a student intern in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Chicago, Illinois. When in Chicago, Richard interned in an African-American Lutheran Church in the third poorest neighbourhood in the United States. In addition, he worked as chaplain of an in-resident recovery program for alcohol-dependent adults and as chaplain of a Lutheran elementary school. Richard was ordained an American Baptist minister at the First Baptist Church of Malvern in 1998, and his ordination was recognized by the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches in August 2003.
Richard began his post-secondary studies in his home province at Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in sociology. He then moved south of the border to study at the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE) located in Chicago, earning a Diploma in Urban Ministry (with Distinction). Returning to Canada, Richard completed a double Master degree at Acadia Divinity College, earning a Master of Divinity and a Master of Religious Education, followed by a Doctor of Philosophy at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His doctoral studies focused on Church and Community, Preaching, Evangelism, and Ethics. The title of his dissertation was Developing a Theological and Sociological Model for Confronting Evil within Urban Power Structures.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2.
Richard has shaped his life around this passage from Romans and serves the Lord in many different capacities. In the area of education, Richard has served as a Ministry Supervisor for the Doctor of Ministries program of Acadia Divinity College and was nominated to the Ph.D., Th.M. Committee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He held several faculty and teaching positions at Crandall University, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Eastern Baptist School of Christian Ministry. Richard has also served as Garret Fellow in the Evangelism, Mission, and Church and Community Departments of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently, Richard is an instructor of the Lay Pastor Institute of the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches.
In the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches, Richard has recently served as a Ministry Supervisor in the Internship Program leading to ordination. Richard was also part of the Regional Working Group of the Westmorland-Kent Association.
In Pennsylvania, Richard served as chair of the Association Preliminary Committee on Licensure and Ordination of the Central Union Association, American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware, and as President of the Greater Malvern Ministerium.
Richard has a heart for helping others and has assumed several roles of leadership in service to his community. In New Brunswick, he served with the Quality Improvement Committee of the Pastoral Care Department of the South-East Regional Health Authority. Earlier in his career, he coordinated a Sunday School program for inner-city children held in a major public housing area of Dartmouth. He also served as a Phone Counselor for the Help-Line Association in Halifax.
One of Richard’s many gifts is as a public speaker. In the pulpit, he is passionate about his faith and also about sharing it and can hold the attention of any audience. Richard received the Harvey E. Crowell Public Speaking Contest Award from the Acadia Divinity College for his lecture on the theme, “Sin, Salvation, and the Social Gospel.” Richard has also been a contributor to Preaching magazine and The Ministers Manual.