dsc08599“Jonathan Swenson’s ministry is a breath of fresh air. His craft of adding flesh and blood to our ancient Biblical stories make these timeless accounts come alive before our very eyes. Blending wit and humor with compassion and knowledge, Jonathan winsomely proclaims the Good News of Jesus in the arts of drama, rhetoric and storytelling. While directing our thoughts and emotions, Jonathan leads our faith lives to be enlivened as we hear with fresh ears the saving truth of Jesus found in God’s Word. I’m convinced God will continue to use Jonathan to get His message of love, forgiveness and acceptance out to many people!”  + Pastor Bill Yonker, Nationally-Known Conference Preacher/Speaker

“Jonathan is a fine actor with a gift for bringing to life stories in a way that capture the heart.  We were blessed to see his sincere performance.” – Sara and Troy Groves, Singer/Songwriter and Three-time Dove Award nominee, including “New Artist of the Year” 2002

“Jonathan Swenson is an extremely gifted and remarkably versatile performer. Abe and Opera DudeHe brings to the stage tremendous warmth, integrity, humor, and humanity and leaves his audiences inspired and uplifted. ” + Robert Lindsey-Nassif,  Award-winning Broadway and Hollywood Composer and   Lyricist (Hollywood Arms, Opal, Honky-Tonk Highway, Lawnchair Man)

“Brilliant fun. Brilliant Talent. Really brilliant heart.” – Rich Melheim, CEO and Founder, Faithinkubators and CrossGenLife

“Over and over, I hear raves about how special Jonathan’s performance was, and I agree. We were all moved by his amazing ability to slip into so many different, unique roles and translate the well known stories into something fresh and evocative. I laughed and cried with the rest…and would heartily encourage you to bring Paraphrase Theatre to your congregation, too. You’re in for a treat.”
 + Lisa T. Bergren, best-selling, award-winning author of God Gave Us You, Waterfall, and Glamorous Illusions

“We have enjoyed the ministry of Jonathan Swenson on numerous occasions. P1170682Each time his humor, skill as an actor, love for Jesus and talent has made it a memorable event in the life our parishioners.  It is uncommon at our church to have an unconventional ministry like acting be a solid hit.  But, I get asked frequently to bring Jonathan back for an encore performance.  His messages are true to the spirit of the Gospel and a blessing to all ages.”– Corey Bjertness, Senior Pastor, First Lutheran, Fargo ND

 “Jonathan kept the whole room silent as 350 kids from 14 different states had tears rolling down their cheeks thinking of how much Jesus loved us even though we mess up so often.”   – Youth Director attending Youth Encounter’s National Youth “Impact” Gathering  Baby Cropped SOTV

“Jonathan Swenson through Witnesses allows the audience member a number of unique vantage points on the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Witnesses builds a powerful witness and concludes with a message of incredible conviction. Don’t allow your congregation to miss this opportunity to “see” Christ through the eyes of the Witnesses.”   – Rev. Mike Morgan, 1st United Methodist Church, Marion, IA

The first time I saw Jonathan I was at the Children, Youth, and Family Extravaganza in Detroit (2015). He performed the demoniac man from Mark 5, which is one of my favorite Bible stories. When the lights came up, my colleagues and I that were sitting at the same table as I wiped away our tears and we all said that “we need him” at our Synod’s Youth Gatherings. We have had Jonathan at both our Senior High and Middle School Synod Youth Gatherings. To watch the young people and their leaders experience Witnesses is watching first-hand the stories of Jesus come alive and mean something. The Holy Spirit works through and with him, as you could hear a pin drop in a room of 400 Middle Schoolers. If you know Middle Schoolers, you know that is an act of the Holy Spirit. I still get goosebumps when I see Jonathan perform, especially the demoniac man. Jonathan is a joy to work with, from an event planners stand point; you won’t regret having him with you and your people.”  – Kristina Johnson Dernier, NWMN ELCA LYO Adviser and Gathering Coordinator

“What a thrill was experienced in our congregation when Jonathan Swenson was here. He presented his one person drama, “Witnesses” to a packed house. Everyone was gripped by the many characters inhabited by Jonathan. We experienced laughter, sorrow, and joy as the person of Jesus came through these many voices. I highly recommend bringing Jonathan to your congregation. He will bless and benefit all who witness his artistic talent.” – Rev. Joel Quie, Prairie Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, MN

“You made us laugh and cry and think and reflect and enjoy. I like the Jesus you want us to know. I have had to question all my beliefs as of late and it helped steer me back to a more solid focus once again. Everyone needs to see this. Thank-you, thank-you, for sharing your passion with others.”   – Joanne Miller, Audience Member, Clear Lake, IA 

“Two thousand years of history evaporated in an hour with this stunning characterization of real and imagined Biblical personalities. With minimal props and effortless transitions one was led to grasp the depths of each personality and plight in real time.  Jonathan has achieved a level of performance most actors only aspire to conquer.”  — David Rasmussen, Professor Emeritus, Waldorf College, Forest City, IA

P1180712“We have been attending these youth events for over 25 years and the way you presented the Bible stories about Jesus was indescribable.” – Youth Worker after a Regional Youth Conference in PA

“My husband does not usually care for theatre presentations, but every time I glanced over at him during Jonathan’s performance, he was completely enthralled.  Later he told me he thought it was ‘enjoyable, thought-provoking and a definite ‘do-again’ as a couple!’ ” – Jean Renstrom, Artist in Residence, Mt. Carmel Ministries

“Can’t text right now. Have to watch this. It is really good!”  —Pastor’s report of a tweet he saw posted by one of his confirmation students, sent during a performance of Witnesses.  10257037_10154052992445711_6803057977014248790_o

“Jonathan’s presentation of Witnesses was indeed a great witness to our congregation. We scheduled this as a kick-off event for our discipleship programs.  It was that and more. It really affected people. I heard them commenting not just about Jonathan’s talents but how those first witnesses of Christ came to be disciples and grew in their understanding and relationship with Christ.” – Rev. Blair A’Hearn, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Marion, IA

“The Witnesses event on our campus was amazing! I’ve heard nothing but extremely positive comments from all sorts of people … both about the show and the conversations it has inspired in the last couple of days.  The story is so refreshing and rejuvenating in terms of how I view my relationship with Jesus.”  + Matthew, Student at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN

P1170445“Very professional, yet an easy event to host. It was a home-run for our church. I highly recommend it!”  + Rev. Eric Hulstrand, ReaLife Church, Bloomington, MN

“WOW! My family just got back from seeing Jonathan Swenson in WITNESSES! What an awesome and powerful performance. The story of Jesus in a way that makes me rethink what I want my relationship with Christ to be and the direction I want it to grow. Thank you, Jonathan.”  + Aaron Stecker, Athletic Director, Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids, IA

“Jonathan Swenson masterfully communicates the Biblical story with clear messages that are emotion-powered and impactful to the audience. Using his dramatic skills he creatively weaves humor, sorrow, pain, and pure joy through these scenes. All ages will be transformed  by experiencing these presentations.”  – Johan and Sonja Hinderlie, Directors (1985-2012),
Mount Carmel Ministries and Mount Carmel Family Bible Camp, Alexandria, MN  468996_10151370565630711_7704225_o

 “Once you have him at your church or school once, you will have him back again in six months. That’s what we did! Our student leaders all voted, unanimously, to have Jonathan come back for our fall kick-off, and they are encouraging as many of their fellow students as possible to attend.”  – Rev. Rod Anderson, Interim Campus Pastor, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN


Paraphrase hits home run with first show (Click on the link to read the review.)