Chief Development Officer
The Chief Development Officer equips, encourages, and empowers local churches by planning and directing the national fundraising strategy for the Vineyard Movement. This includes leading national level strategies, as well as collaborating with local churches to facilitate giving at the local level.
Jason George is the Chief Development Officer for Vineyard USA. Jason was born in Toledo, Ohio but considers himself a Columbus kid because that’s where he survived & sometimes thrived during middle school & high school. Deciding to stay in Columbus, he earned a B.A. in Journalism from The Ohio State University. Yet, in that season of life, he learned so much more than just how to write.
In the midst of his freshman year, Jason became friends with another student named Scott who wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. Yet, it was one specific question that Scott consistently asked that left him wondering. “Jason, what happens if all the satisfaction you’re looking for in this life is actually found in the Lordship of Jesus Christ?” As Jason started to wrestle with this question he also started participating in different events in the campus ministry which Scott called his faith community. The way others in that community talked and related to God was so different than the God Jason grew up seeing and hearing about in church as a kid. At the regional Christmas Conference in Indianapolis on December 31, 1995, Jason made a decision to follow Jesus.
That decision has shaped all of Jason’s life since. Following Christ led him to full-time vocational ministry for 14 years after graduation. That time included serving on a staff with a local Central Ohio church for two years and then 12 years between two parachurch organizations. Along the way, he also graduated from the Vineyard Leadership Institute (VLI). During his time in ministry, he spent 5 years in Central Asia focusing on bringing the Gospel to local communities so that churches could be raised up. Jason believes living and serving overseas transformed much of his understanding of what it means to live with a Kingdom mindset.
After returning from his last stint overseas in 2015 Jason went through a very difficult season of change and needed growth. That’s when he found his current church home, Delaware City Vineyard (in Delaware, Ohio), and learned how to transfer that Kingdom paradigm along with his skills to a career in fundraising. He started that new phase of his career as an Associate Director of Leadership Annual Giving at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center before becoming a Development Officer with Kenyon College. Jason feels that all his experience in ministry and educational fundraising has uniquely equipped him for this role to help support the vision of Vineyard USA to see more churches planted that “Embrace the Kingdom and engage the world.”
Jason is married to Jill. As a couple they enjoy “shareables” (meaning a drink that can be shared easily – their staple is a good Americano with a dash of cinnamon), working out (this equals Jason trying to survive a CrossFit type of workout while Jill crushes it), walks together, or a nice bourbon. He also has 4 kids – Vera, Jonah, Seva & Coen. They keep life busy, full, and mostly fun. Lately, their goal together as a family is to choose to cultivate a posture of learning, laughing, and loving… not necessarily in that order.
Q&A with Jason
What are you most excited about in this new chapter?
For so long I’ve wanted to use the skills I have to bless the work of seeing the Kingdom come here on earth. Now I have the opportunity to help people & foundations partner with us to resource men and women who give their lives to shepherd local churches that proclaim and demonstrate God’s love in the contexts in which they live. How could I not be excited?!
What's your dream for Vineyard churches?
My dream is that we cultivate a generosity that flows from the heart of God. The father we see in Luke 15 (parable of the prodigal) is not stingy in any way. He is gracious in giving of himself when his son walked away from the family; and, he was even more undignifiedly lavish when his son returned. I pray that our churches lean into and live out of that extravagantly generous heart of God so that we might offer it freely to a watching world.
What has prepared you most for this role?
This will sound funny, but what has prepared me most for this role is simply learning how not to be afraid of rejection. Whether in personal relationships or in business proposals, I’ve learned that it’s good to “earn a ‘no’” from someone else because I know I have gained clarity in that moment. And in the end, that helps me know how to move forward.