The First Time I Met Dan Jackson, He Threatened to Shoot Me
28 July 2022 |
Dear Adventist Today,
Along with thousands of others, I’m mourning the sudden loss of Dan Jackson, a true man of God.
We were not extraordinarily close. Yet I always felt a bond to him as though he were among my best friends. Our paths crossed a couple dozen times, principally through the Executive Committee of Faith for Today, which he chaired as North American Division President and where I’ve served for more than ten years. He was also instrumental in allaying concerns General Conference folks and some union leaders had about engaging my firm, FaithSearch Partners, to manage leadership searches for Adventist universities and other key institutions. We shared a pun passion; he was one of very few who could match my pun-ditry.
I once randomly ran into him in a Langley, British Columbia Hampton Inn elevator while on a surreptitious trip to check out an independent Adventist ministry. That’s a story for another time but suffice it to say he was the last person I wanted to “stumble into” on this confidential visit. (“Ed, what are you doing here?” “Dan, what are you doing here?”)
But the first time I met him was the most memorable. It was at the old Adventist Media Center in Simi Valley, California. I had traveled there for my first meeting of the Faith for Today executive committee. As I exited my rental car, I saw my old friend, boss, mentor, academy teacher, and pastor, Mike Tucker, chatting with Elder Jackson in the parking lot. Mike was kind enough to introduce us. I took the liberty of telling Dan he may not want me on the committee, as my history with Mike was such that after each major intersection of our lives together, Mike would soon move on to another chapter. This happened at Dallas Junior Academy, Valley Grande Academy, Huguley Hospital and the Arlington Adventist Church.
Dan listened, paused, and then blurted, “Ed, if Mike ever leaves Faith for Today I will shoot you!” I knew at that moment Dan Jackson was no ordinary Adventist leader and that I would cherish each opportunity to work with him.
But I never had to wear a bullet-proof vest.
President, FaithSearch Partners