Rev. Dr. Craig R. Jackson (a.k.a. Pastor J.)

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: Sade Johnson, Josiah Capeles, Samiah Gutierrez, and Jeremiah Gutierrez.  


Pastor J. is the Founder/Pastor of the Agape Baptist Church of Newark, NJ.  Agape's Vision Statement is, “AGAPE is a CHURCH that LOVES unconditionally and Lives for Christ, by Sharing His Word.”

This ministry was formed after hearing a calling from God to reach out to the community who lost their way to Christ (Matthew 28:18-20 & John 3:16). Pastor J. is very committed to the calling of the pastoral ministry and it is shown in his love for God, love for his family, preaching, teaching, and community service.


Pastor J. was born in Paterson, NJ on August 17, 1980 to Mr. Charlie and Mrs. Rachel Jackson. Pastor J. is the younger of two children. He has lived in Paterson, NJ all of his life up until the age of twenty-five   .


Pastor J. grew up in the St. Luke Baptist Church in Paterson, NJ under the leadership of the late Rev. Dr. Albert Moses Tyler and the current Pastor, Rev. Kenneth Darryl Ray Clayton for over nineteen years. During that time spent he was involved in various ministries throughout the church as well as the Shiloh Baptist Association which is in conjunction with the National Baptist Convention, USA. He has been a Minister of Music throughout several churches from 2000 – 2009. During his lifetime he has had the pleasure of traveling up and down the east coast serving as a Keyboardist and Director of Music for various stage plays and musical productions.


Pastor J. worked for the Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, NJ as a Director of Special Projects and in this role he is able to assist parents, students, and teachers with various resources to enhance the educational environment. Pastor J. has received numerous awards. On Thursday, June 12, 2008 he was chosen by the stakeholders of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School as one of the 2008 Village Fathers For Our Children’s Award Recipients. In 2004, Pastor J. was selected to participate in the Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce Leadership Paterson program and served two years with the AmeriCorps program. In June 2016, Pastor J. received the Business & Community Award from Project Re-Direct Youth & Families for his community involvement and service work in the community of Newark. Currently, Pastor J. is serving as the Moderator for the NJNet Association of Churches. NJNet is composed of 52+ churches in Northern NJ which are also a part of the Southern Baptist Convention.


Pastor J. 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.).  Pastor J. was called to preach at an early age, but he did not accept his calling until 2006. After he received his license to preach, Pastor J. obtained his certificate of ordination from the Christ Worship Center and then in 2012 received his certificate of ordination from the New Hope Missionary Baptist Association. He recognizes that he owes all of his success to the Lord God Almighty because he knows that without God and all the people that God placed in his life and all of his hard work he would not be where he is at today. Pastor J. also serves at the CEO/President of a 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization entitled CJ Community Development Corporation, Inc. 


Pastor J. served as an Associate Minister with the New Eden Baptist Church, Newark, NJ under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Bernard W. Savage, in which Pastor J. affectionately calls Pastor Savage his “Spiritual Father.”  Pastor Savage and his wife has and continues to support Pastor J. and his family in their ministry. Pastor J. is a member of the Newark Interfaith Alliance, 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. Pastor J. also serves as a Chaplain for the Plainfield Police Department.


Pastor J.’s favorite Bible verse is from John 15:7 which says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” It’s a Bible verse of strength and encouragement.