“We have enjoyed the ministry of Jonathan Swenson on numerous occasions. Each 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 is an ordained minister with 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, have served congregations in Iowa and Minnesota the past 20+ years. He has extensive experience in the area of Worship Arts … overseeing the creative use of music, drama, dance, visual art and multi-media to faithfully support the preaching of God’s Word. In addition to the dramas he performs, he is also available as a guest speaker at conferences, retreats, youth and family gatherings and other special events.
While Jonathan often utilizes his theatre background in the church, he frequently performs in community and professional theatrical events as well. He is a veteran performer at Theatre Cedar Rapids and a frequent soloist with Orchestra Iowa’s Follies. Favorite roles over the years include Harold Hill (The Music Man), Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof), Daddy Warbucks (Annie) and King Arthur (Camelot) as well as dramatic roles such as Gratiano in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Roland in Alan Ayckburn’s, Taking Steps.
During the summer of 2010, Jonathan launched Paraphrase Theatre. As part of Paraphrase, Jonathan is travelling throughout the United States performing dramas, leading workshops and speaking & teaching at conferences and retreats. He has performed for faithful little flocks of twenty, conferences crowds of thousands… and everything in-between. He has appeared in many different denominational settings including Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Evangelical-Free, Baptist and Non-Denominational. He also performs his shows in secular settings such as community and professional theaters and public school auditoriums.
Along with his dramas, Jonathan is also available as a guest speaker, preacher and/or teacher for conferences, camps, retreats and other special events. He is always excited to teach and lead groups on such topics as Youth & Family Topics, Marriage and Family Retreats, Creative Worship, Drama Ministry, Men’s Ministry and more.
Jonathan and Jana reside in Cedar Rapids, IA, with their daughters, Christina Joy and Caitlyn Grace. As a family they enjoy musical theater, show choir, soccer, board games, MN Vikings and Twins games and frequent trips back to their homeland in Minnesota.