When John first attended Berry College near Rome, Georgia, he was a wild and crazy guy but soon had a profound life changing “born again” and subsequent "infilling of the Holy Spirit" spiritual experience in January 1979; this unique event has been the foundation of his fruitful life and ministry. A Campus Ministry at Berry College discipled him and two years later he transferred to Florida State University to found and preside over a new chapter of this campus outreach, aka Maranatha Ministries. FSU Coach Bobby Bowden allowed John and others to minister and show inspirational films to the football players within their compound; many of those FSU football players made of a sincere commitment to Jesus!
After earning his B.A. Degree at FSU, John decided to attend formal Seminary. In 1983 he entered Columbia International University in S.C. where he met Jane from South Africa who was studying in their undergraduate program at Columbia Bible College; John and Jane soon realized they were meant for each other, were engaged about two days later, and married in Johannesburg, R.S.A. about six months later.
After Jane graduated with her B.S. Degree, they transferred to the Assembly of God Theological Seminary in Missouri to understand the Pentecostal / Full-Gospel perspective; John earned his Masters of Arts Degree and the couple returned to Jacksonville, Florida to seek the direction of God's Plan for their lives.
John and Jane initially considered mission work in Nigeria within a large Ministry, but the scripture James 1:27 came to mind: “Pure & undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans & widows in their distress & to keep oneself unstained by the world.” The scripture about “widows in their distress” led John to begin ministering as a volunteer Chaplain in Avante Nursing Home in Jacksonville Beach; this is where Christian Compassion Ministries was born. A year later in 1994, this outreach became an IRS approved 501 (c) 3 non–profit religious organization, CCM, Inc..
Five years later, Christian Compassion Ministries, Inc. expanded its ministry into various Assisted Living Facilities. John regularly ministers within Duval County.
John also visit hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and personal homes. He is also “on call” to almost anywhere including middle of the night emergencies. One of their chief missions is to reach the elderly with the Gospel before they pass on and encourage everyone to build upon their relationship with the Lord.
The Dawson's minister that Jesus desires a very personal relationship with His people rather than going through the motions of a form of religious rules. Fortunately, this approach to the Faith has been successful. John and Jane often counsel people free of charge and the Dawson's are available to direct people in finding resources when needed and arrange help with various situations that arise in life. When a person inevitably dies, they offer to perform an “End of Life Celebration” and often conduct Memorial Services and/or Funerals as requested.
"Chaplain" Dawson has been heavily involved in our community serving on the Citywide Seniors Steering Committee for the Jacksonville Billy Graham Crusade, as well as the Executive Committee and Coordinator of the first March for Jesus.
Chaplain John with his wife Jane have been increasingly asked to provide marriage counseling as their 40+ year marriage, along with the success of raising three children, has become a “neon sign” to people looking for proven and sound counsel!