Paul Jackson was born in London in 1953 and at the age of seven moved to the cockney playground of Southend-on-Sea in Essex where he grew up, went to school, married and set up home with his wife Sara.
(The Pastor also maintains a blog here )
Early leadership experience in Avenue Baptist Church, Southend as a Boys Brigade officer, youth club leader and then deacon, prepared Paul for the calling to the full time pastorate. While Paul explored his calling he was lay-pastor of Ramsden Bellhouse Baptist Church in Essex, a work he continued with while at college.
Entering Spurgeon's college in 1981, Paul completed his BA degree in theology and his diploma in pastoral studies before heading off to his first full-time pastorate at Westbourne Park Baptist Church (WPBC) in Paddington, London. Believing we need to be constantly equipping ourselves in God's service, Paul has since completed his Master's Degree in applied Theology in 1999.
Paul's time in WPBC was to be pioneering years, both for him and for the church. Having inherited a church with liberal views, through Paul's leadership and preaching its members speedily accepted the gospel and many were to come to know Christ as Saviour.
The difficulty of obtaining property in London in which to worship means that many ethnic churches in particular are looking for premises. Over a period of a few years three other churches were eventually to share the premises of WPBC - Phillipino, Brazilian and Arabic. All four congregations worked closely together under the encouragement of Paul Jackson, and eventually the pastors of these three churches asked Paul to be the honorary senior pastor of what was to eventually be called 'Westbourne Park International'.
Paul is a visionary and his passion was not just for his area, but for the whole of London. He served as President of the London Baptist Association (LBA) and also sat on the steering group of the LBA for a number of years. While serving the LBA in this way, Paul was also chair of the Church Planting Committee and vice-chair of the Mission Committee.
As well as Paul's roles within his church and Association, he was also able to serve Operation Mobilisation for a few years, running leadership courses for its London summer teams. WPBC was also the church which (through Steve Chalke) was able to assist in the birth of Oasis. WPBC had the first 'Year Team' from Oasis and the church was used for teaching its year teams for the first two years of Oasis' life. Paul was able to lecture the teams in various subjects including church history, pneumatology, basic counselling skills and evangelism.
With the Notting Hill Carnival passing just three hundred yards from the church, Paul felt burdened to reach out to its one million revellers. With the sacrificial and skilful assistance of Dennis Pethers and the team from Viz-A-Viz, 'One-in-a-Million' was launched, which then became a yearly outreach work to the Notting Hill Carnival for many years.
Paul's passion and vision for London was again to come to the fore when he was asked to be Regional co-ordinator for the 'Mainstream churches in London (North)'. This encompassed all Baptist churches in Greater London, North of the river.
The other churches on site at WPBC were eventually to give opportunity for Paul to widen his preaching and teaching ministry. At the instigation of the Brazilian church at WPBC in 1993, Paul and Sara embarked on a four week preaching and teaching course in Brazil, ministering to eleven churches in six cities. A further trip to Brazil was undertaken in 1999 just prior to taking up the pastorate of Gateway Baptist Church (GBC, previously known as Burgess Hill Baptist Church) in West Sussex. Since then, Paul and Sara have made many further trips to Brazil ministering to churches across central and northern Brazil. Paul and Sara have led a couples' weekend, spoke at conferences to 100's of church leaders, been involved in evangelistic work and many other areas of training to equip the church.
Sara was also able to launch a pregnancy advice service under the auspices of CARE UK. A team of eleven from Gateway Baptist flew out to Brazil during this time for a two week ministry trip, which proved exceptionally fruitful as many people came to Christ and a number of significant miracles of healing took place.
In 1996 Paul was asked to be the key speaker for a conference of two thousand church leaders in the Philippines. Whilst there, Paul was also offered the opportunity to preach at the 6,000 member church of the 'Jesus is Lord' fellowship in Manila, as well as to minister on the island of Palawan.
GBC already had good links with a Baptist church in Petrosani, Romania, and Paul was able to minister there one busy weekend in October 2002. Paul has made two subsequent trips to Romania and, in May 2005, was accompanied by a team from GBC.
Paul's latest trip to Romania was to the area of Bratca in February 2011 and plans are now afoot to return to preach and to run some training seminars in the area.
In July 2005 Paul had the opportunity to serve God in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for two weeks. This trip was made under the excellent organisation of YMG ministries. Paul and the YMG team ministered in the two cities of Bukavu and Uvira. Paul was responsible for much of the teaching at two Pastor's conferences when he spoke to over 1,000 church leaders. He was also able to help with the market place evangelism and to minister in prayer at the afternoon campaigns, which were ably led by Julie Young. During the two week trip 1,200 people made decisions for Christ.
A return trip in 2006, with three members from GBC, saw 750 people accept Jesus Christ as Saviour. Miracles of healing were also a great encouragement to everyone involved in the mission trip. YMG asked Paul to make his Nurture pack for new Christians available in the DRC translated into Swahili. This has been completed and now 140 churches in the DRC are using this to nurture new converts.
In 2008, Paul and Sara were able to respond to an invitation to preach and teach in Chennai (Madras) in India. Teaching seminars by Paul & Sara, on prayer, were well received and opportunities were also given to preach in a number of churches in Chennai and the surrounding area. Deliverance and healing often followed these times of ministry. An open air campaign also took place on two evenings. Many came to Christ and a number were healed. A weekend trip to Bangalore was also included and Paul was able to minister at the Shekinah House of prayer, a large church in the centre of Bangalore.
In Jan 2011 Paul made his first trip to Togo to see some work with a small church, a local orphanage that GBC are supporting. Fourteen people came to Christ, many people were healed and the power of witchcraft was broken. A request to return to run a town wide Crusade are currently being considered.
Photos of Paul's trip can be seen on his website.
In 1999 Paul accepted a call to be pastor of Burgess Hill Baptist Church (now known as Gateway Baptist Church), West Sussex. The church is, at present (under Paul's ministry), pursuing a vision of a congregational network across the town and nearby villages. More on the church's vision can be found elsewhere on this web site (click here ).
These include gardening (he calls himself an enthusiastic amateur), as well as the more energetic sports of long distance running (six completed marathons to date), rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking.
Paul is married to Sara and has two grown up daughters, Rebecca and Hannah. Sara has always played an important role in Paul's ministry and they come as a team. Sara serves God in her own right, too, and helps to run a Pregnancy Advice centre in town (The Haven) as well as being involved in its post-abortion counselling service. Sara also acts as supervisor to two other pregnancy advice centres.
Here at Gateway, Sara helps to head up the church's counselling work and spends a not inconsiderable part of her time in this calling.