The biggest challenge to church planting in Green Bay is not the long winters of social hibernation or the cultural habit of retreating to lake houses in the summer. It’s not the reluctance of locals to open up to strangers, either.
The Rev. Dan Jackson believes the biggest challenge to planting a church in Green Bay is that so many people identify with a church, but don’t have a genuine relationship with Christ.
So while Jacob’s Well, the church plant Jackson pastors, faces great cultural odds, the gospel is at work in Green Bay. When the church particularized after two and a half years, it became just the seventh church in the presbytery and the first new PCA church to particularize in Wisconsin in nearly 20 years.
Long before Jacob’s Well came about, Jackson and his wife, Tricia, moved to Wisconsin to be near family. It didn’t take long, Jackson said, before the Lord placed on his heart a desire to flood Wisconsin with gospel-centered churches with expository preaching.
After earning his Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, Jackson moved back to Wisconsin, and in 2009 he was commissioned by Wisconsin Presbytery to plant Jacob’s Well.
Jackson’s heart for Wisconsin translates into an unpretentious, group-oriented style of ministry that resonates in blue-collar Green Bay. Chris Steinbarger, director of church life at Jacob’s Well, said Jackson’s heart, creativity, and intuition combine to give him a clear vision of where the church can go based on the resources it has.
“He makes decisions based on the direction the Spirit is moving within the church, even if that doesn’t perfectly match his original vision,” Steinbarger said. “He has a good sense of the church’s pulse.”
Jackson and Steinbarger acknowledge that some unusual circumstances have accelerated their journey, including three ordained PCA ruling elders joining the church.
“The reason people become members of Jacob’s Well is not that we are Presbyterian, but because of the expository preaching and warmth of our community,” Jackson said.
Jacob’s Well has already planted a daughter church in Appleton, Wis. where the good news is now flowing.