About Paraphrase Theatre

1para·phrase  \ˈper-ə-ˌfrāz,ˈpa-rə-\
noun – A restatement of the meaning of a text or passage using other
words, phrases and language.
verb  –  To communicate eternal truths in fresh and faithful ways.

Paraphrase Theatre is the result of Jonathan’s life-long quest to combine his Christian faith with his love of drama and the arts.  Through innovative drama, teaching, preaching and group interaction, Jonathan strives to share Biblical stories and truth in fresh and relevant ways.


Jonathan is available to come to you church, theater, conference, retreat, school, campus or other special event in a variety of ways…  

a.    Dramatic One-Man Productions: “WITNESSES”, “Celebrate the Child”, “Visiting Hours” and more… – witnesses-posterJonathan travels throughout the country performing one-man, multi-character dramas on the life of Christ and other Christian topics.  These dramas will make you laugh, encourage you to think, and — hopefully — will renew and strengthen your faith Jesus Christ.  He is currently performing three dramatic pieces (WitnessesCelebrate the Child and most recently, he has begun to perform Visiting Hours, all written by nationally know Christian playwright and performer, Curt Clonginger. Jonathan is grateful to Curt for taking him on as an extension of his powerful drama ministry of over 25 years. Learn more abut Curt and his innovative drama ministry, by visiting www.curtcloninger.com .

b. Engaging, Creative and Biblically-Solid Teaching, Preaching and Speaking— As a pastor for nearly 20 years, Jonathan has extensive experience in speaking to groups of all sizes, ages and demographics. He has spoken at national youth conferences, church retreats Abe the Banana Guy 1and men’s and women’s conferences around the country. His seminary and theological training, along with both his years in the parish AND his years on the stage, combine for a Christ-centered, entertaining, Biblically-sound, very personal and relatable speaking style that actively engages his listeners and helps them apply the message to their every day lives. He can be hired for speaking engagements, dramatic productions, or a combination of both.

c.  “SURVIVOR STORY” — Jonathan’s wife, Jana, is a two-time Breast Cancer Survivor. Jonathan and Jana have begun to share her/their story of her battle and their journey with this terrible disease. In this presentation, the Swenson’s discuss their fears, joy, pain, questions, doubt, and the ways in which God has revealed his Grace in the midst of the storm. They share this story with grace, wit and great honesty… in a deeply personal and 179136_10152864580410711_422481794_nengaging way that helps listeners identify their own spiritual, emotional and relational needs when in crisis. The presentation is powerfully relevant to anyone who has been (or is IN) a time of pain, questioning and crisis. It is also good for pastors, social workers, nurses, lay ministers, parents and grandparents.. .anyone who cares for others, intentionally.. and anyone who longs to more deeply be aware of God’s presence in the midst of the storm.  The Swenson’s are available for Sunday mornings, midweek series, retreats (Women’s Retreat’s, Women’s Retreats, Family Camps, Men’s Retreats, Synod Gatherings, you name it.) As part of these retreats and events, Jonathan is also (depending on time) able to bring dramatic monologues and other elements to their sharing to offer variety, humor and interest.) They have shared their story at Synod Pastor Gatherings, Hospitals and Churches. If interested, please contact Jonathan and ask about bringing Jana AND Jonathan’s “SURVIVOR STORY” to your church or event.

d. “SCRIBBLIN’ GRACE!” — Jonathan’s most recent presentation is a highly engaging, highly creative talk/drama experience titled “Scribblin’ Grace”. Through humorous illustrations, personal sharing, entertaining character monologues and lively interaction with the audience, listeners are taken on a journey that helps to better understand the shape and character of our Christian faith and life.  The drama explains the Gospel in a way that can be both clearly understood, easily shared AND in a way that helps the audience avoid common pitfalls to our faith like “Cheap Grace” and “Works Righteousness”.

Youth from Immanueal United Methodist D. MoinesThe presentation is appropriate for all ages, works well in just about any setting and can be tailored to correspond and interact with a variety of themes and topics. One person described it as “one of the most helpful, interesting and applicable Christian talks I have ever heard. He put all the pieces together– things I have always been confused about… and helped it all make so much sense.”

e. MARRIAGE RETREATS (Led by Jonathan AND his wife, Jana) – Jonathan and his bride of 24 years, Jana, are available to come to your church, conference or event to share stories, Biblical insights and marriage-strengthenign tools with couples of all ages.  339120_10151121457525711_477638853_oDrawing on their experiences as husband and wife, co-parents and co-ministers, they lead with humor, sensitivity, authenticity and wisdom… helping couples strengthen and renew their commitment to each other and to their families. As a two-time Breast Cancer survivor, Jana is able to speak with first-hand experience on the trials of life, while proclaiming, along with Jonathan, the goodness of God in the midst of the valleys.  (See “SURVIVOR STORY” above.. but know that other topics are also available.. and we can tailor our messages to fit your event themes.)  Jonathan also offers his one-man dramas as a part of these retreats, if so desired by the host.

f. WORSHIP LEADERS — If you are also looking for a worship leader/musician for your retreat or event, Jonathan is blessed to be connected to several gifted, Christ-centered worship leaders, both men and women, who are gifted in this role.  This includes Jessy Vera, Lynn Stoneking, Jillian Jones, Blake Wright and more. Please send an inquiry!