As a professional actor, speaker and experienced theologian Jonathan Swenson is highly entertaining, refreshingly informative and unusually engaging. As a passionate encourager of people, with over 30 years of experience in public speaking, theater, ministry, teaching and leadership development, his presentations stand out from the crowd, engaging minds and deeply touching hearts.
Training and Background Jonathan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Theater and Music (Gustavus Adolphus College,1988) and a Masters of Divinity (Luther Seminary, 1994). He and his wife, Jana, pastored congregations in Iowa and MN for nearly 20 years, then served at Mount Carmel Ministries in Alexandria, MN for 1o years – Jonathan as the Director of Programming and Jana serving as the Director of Development. In 2011 he launched “Paraphrase Theatre” – his faith-based drama and speaking ministry and business which has now branched out to hospitals, educators and professional executives.
Jonathan is available as a guest speaker at conferences, retreats, youth gatherings and other special events. He has served as the keynote speaker for over 500 congregations, conferences and national youth events around the country.
As a passionate encourager of people, Jonathan has a special place in his heart for professionals who serve faithfully in highly-demanding, servant-hearted roles. His great joy is to affirm, inspire and equip these often weary and worn-out professionals to recapture the joy of their life calling. He speaks in both secular and faith-based settings with presentations appropriate for each context.
Jonathan has performed, spoken and entertained for faithful little flocks of twenty, conferences crowds of thousands… and everything in-between. In addition to his dramatic monologues, Jonathan is often hired as the keynote speaker for conferences and retreats. He has spoken and performed at a wide variety of organizations and events including the Mayo Hospital, C-Suite Executives for Christ, Unity Point Hospital, The LCMS national ELCA Youth and Family Ministry Extravaganza, the LCMC National Gathering, Youth Encounter’s National Youth Conference, Life Promotion’s QUAKE weekend conference ministries, and many Regional/Synodical/District Youth Gatherings and Retreats. He has appeared in many different denominational settings including Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Evangelical-Free, Covenant, Baptist and Non-Denominational. These include churches, private schools, and individually-sponsored events.
Jonathan also performs and speaks in secular settings such as community and professional theaters, college campuses and public schools. Along with his dramas, is always excited to teach and lead groups on such topics as Leadership Development, Youth & Family Issues, Marriage and Family, Creative Worship, Drama Ministry, Men’s Ministry and more.
As a professional artist, Jonathan most recently Jonathan appeared in the feature film, Miles Between Us, produced by ii Films. He can also be heard on the soundtrack for Rich Melheim’s Luther Rock Opera, playing/singing the part of Hans, Martin Luther’s father. This past Holiday season he toured professionally in the title role of the stage play, Christmas with C.S. Lewis under the direction of internationally known actor and playwright, David Payne.
Jonathan and his wife, Jana, live in Bloomington, MN. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters, now both happily married and creating their own adventures. The Swensons enjoy musical theater, family get-togethers, travel and of course… the MN Vikings and Twins.