Craig and Sheila Jackson

Craig and Sheila Jackson

Agape Baptist Church – Newark, NJ

About the Planter

Rev. Dr. Craig Russell Jackson (Pastor J.) is the husband of Lady Shelia Jackson and father of Latricia, Devian, Brooks, Elisha, and Esaias.  Pastor J. also has four very special God-Children: Sharon Johnson, Sade Johnson, Josiah Johnson, and Samiah Gutierrez.

Pastor Jackson has several degrees including a Bachelors of Arts in Music, Masters in Christian Education, Masters of Arts in Theological Studies, an Educational Specialist (Ed.S) in Educational Leadership, Doctor of Theology, a Doctor of Divinity, and a PhD (Cum Laude) in Clinical Pastoral Counseling. Pastor J. is an Advanced Certified - Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor through the National Christian Counselor Association (N.C.C.A.).

Rev. Jackson. served as an Associate Minister with the New Eden Baptist Church, Newark, NJ under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Bernard W. Savage, in which he affectionately calls Pastor Savage his “Spiritual Father.”  Pastor Savage and his wife has and continues to support Pastor Jackson and his family in their ministry. Pastor Jackson is a member of the Newark Interfaith Alliance, Greater Central Jersey Clergy Association, Newark West Ward Clergy Alliance, an Advisory Board Member of Project Re-Direct Youth and Families, a Board Member of the Interfaith Performance Arts Center, and a member of the United Clergy of Oranges and Vicinity.

About the Church/Area

The Jacksons began their new church plant in February of 2014.  Agape Baptist Church is located in the West Ward of Newark, New Jersey, which has a high volume of low-income residents with a mix of African-American and Hispanic residents. The West Ward has struggled in recent years with elevated rates of crime, particularly violent crime.  Newark has many low-income housing development buildings to assist families who need subsidized housing. Newark is an urban city located in Essex County which is the largest city in New Jersey.  Newark has 4 colleges with various campuses throughout the city. Newark is well known for the performing arts in which they have the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Symphony Hall, and various shows held at the Prudential Center.

We have a developed a small core group with “The Disciples of Agape” and we have developed a disciple-making system that encourages the disciples in the church to create other disciples. We two missional communities that are held every Thursday. Everyone who is a part of the ministry participates in a missional community with a Disciple of Agape leading the missional community in their home. Those who are not a part of “Agape” are encouraged to attend as well. A missional community is a ministry of Agape where people give testimonies, receive prayer, and bible study. People are able to ask questions that they normally wouldn’t ask on Sundays. It’s held in a relax environment where everyone is family. The Women’s and Men’s Ministry have a prayer conference line in which the men meet at 7pm and the women at 8pm every Tuesday. The prayer conference line is open to everyone. The prayer conference line invites other women & men who normally wouldn’t come to church to develop a relationship with God and other people in the ministry. This ministry also collaborates with another ministry and goes out once a month to feed the homeless, pray for them, witness to them, and invite them to church.

Prayer Requests:

1. For dedicated leaders & members for this ministry.

2. An effective Stewardship system.

3.  For the community to turn their hearts back to God so that the killings can stop in Newark, NJ.

Praise Report:  For the 2nd year in a year we have been able to partner with NJNet & Riley’s Creek Baptist to host VBS. Through VBS we have been able to meet new people and invite them to our church.

Top Needs:
1. Funding.
2. Building
3.  A Commercial Passenger Van.
4. Missions Team
5. Worship Band

Get in Touch

How to Get Involved

  • That we don’t neglect to commune with God and to love our wives and families in these busy times.
  • For wisdom in the building stages of the church as we choose leaders.
  • That the building would not distract us from our mission to spread the gospel.
  • Share this church plant with people you know
  • Visit our beautiful city in small teams while being intentional about living the gospel.
  • Send teams to help prayerwalk and do mission work.
  • Give to the Co-operative program and the Annie Armstrong offering.
  • Consider making a financial gift directly to the church plant.

There are numerous ways to help a church plant, including some not listed on this website. Please contact us for more information about how to help this planter. Please refer to NAMB’s website for the official policy statement concerning providing for church plants.