Additional Christian Speakers, Musicians and Entertainers for your Consideration

Friends, I am beginning to promote some other Christian speakers and artists, assisting in helping them find bookings where they can share their message and use their God-given talents to share Jesus. Along the lines of what I do with Paraphrase, but in their own way. If you are looking for a good speaker or artist for a church event, retreat, conference, etc… I encourage you to check out these gifted people. I will list them here, and then post links to their websites below, in the individual comments section. I will soon be adding them to my Paraphrase website and will list additional information there as well.

JANA SWENSON2015-08-02 19.46.39Yep.. my wife. I am kind of partial to this one. We are beginning to share the story of Jana’s battle with cancer and our journey as two pastors.. and two people of faith… as we took that journey, twice now. We share openly and candidly about the fears, joys, struggles, doubts and how God has carried us through.

DEBBIE GRIFFITH –   Debbie Events Photo                 Maybe you have heard her on the radio, with her ministry, “Everyday Matters”. Debbie is a spunky, creative and down-to-earth truth-speaker who blends dramatic characters into her talks. She would love to come to your event! Debbie was recently the keynote speaker for our fall women’s retreat here at Mount Carmel, and people loved her. Her positive, fun-loving message of the Gospel will grab your heart and refresh your spirit.

CURT CLONINGER – This is the amazing artist who has been the backbone behind my ability to launch Paraphrase Theatre. The playwright of Witnesses and Celebrate the Child, Curt is nationally and internationally know. He has several other pieces he performs beyond the two you may know through what I do. Curt is a legend in the Christian Drama Ministry world. Why would you not bring him to your church or event?

THEATER OFF THE CUFF12226879_10153330396923160_1470790187_nThese guys are hilarious. They are a dynamic duo of Christian entertainment. They travel throughout the country appearing at churches and cooperate events alike faith-based… get this… musical theater improv. Check out their website. If you are looking for some fun for your event that has depth to it as well, this might be who you want to bring in. Good, clean fun served up by two men who love the Lord.

JESSY VERA  – Jessy is a gifted Christian artists and worship leader. I hired him at the church I was serving several years ago, and he is rock solid both in his hard work and integrity and with his worship leading giftedness. He is most often committed to his work at the church, but now and then may be able to join you for a special retreat, event or conference where you need a guest worship leader and/or speaker.

The Lord is using these folks for good things. I know they would be a blessing to you. Send me a message at if you are interested in connecting with them.

And, by the way, I am still available to come to your event too. I trust God will get us all to the right places and events to serve His purposes at the right time!

+ Jonathan

Dreams … and God Calling Us To Them

One of favorite frequent Facebook-posting friends is a friend named Lindsay Prince. She consistently writes insightful, entertaining and true-to-life words of wisdom, wit and reflection. (I keep telling her she needs to start an official blog and to be writing books. I hope she will.) Yesterday she posted the following…

“Your dreams aren’t that crazy. Your life is that short. Your instincts already know where your talent lies. You have a gift to share. We can be inspired by those that go after those dreams, and trust those instincts and acknowledge those gifts and unabashedly share with the world. We can also be inspired by those who dream, but sit on their hands, allow their talents to shrivel up and die on the vine, never to be acknowledged, fulfilled, or shared. There are too many words I want to write today. I keep deleting them. Just… you’re dreams aren’t that crazy. Your life is that short. Give power and energy to the people that love you.”

I love those words. And I’m resonating with them today. witnesses-photo-montage

In the Spring of 2011 I stepped out in faith to go full-time with a little adventure called Paraphrase Theatre. I had been dabbling around with it for a year or so… but for a number of reasons I felt it was the time to go for it. I recognized a version of what Lindsay writes here… a combination of my “instincts already knowing where my talents lie” mixed with a sense of the Holy Spirit’s prompting, guiding, nudging me to dive in with both feet … responding to what both my heart AND my head were telling me was God’s next steps for my life.

It was a risk, no doubt, to take that leap of faith. And, make no mistake… it has been a labor of love… paying the price in many ways… with a great deal of time on the road, time away from family, hours spent daily in developing new contacts and building a supportive network, taking a step BACK financially to make the dream happen, letting go of one of my great joys in life… performing regularly here in the local community theatre scene… in order to free up my schedule to be on the road as needed.

It has not been easy. And some other dreams have had to die to make it happen. But I am so grateful. So grateful to my wife and daughters for going on the journey with me. Grateful to be partnering with Curt Cloninger… the genius actor and playwright behind the two shows I perform most often. Grateful to my other “employer” Mount Carmel Ministries.. for their partnership and support. Grateful to my main “assistant producer” Tammy Whitlow for her unfailing friendship, gifts and commitment to this dream.. and grateful to dear friends who have helped to make the dream take flight – attending performances, praying, supporting the ministry financially, cheering it all on. And so very thankful to God for giving me the means by which I can be so foolish as to trust that He would catch me when I took that leap of faith four years ago.

I don’t always perform as well as I would wish. The hours on the road can get long. I miss some aspects of parish ministry and the people there… and I miss performing with my theater friends on the local scene.  paraphrase-theatre-logo

But I can say in complete honesty, that I have not regretted this decision even once. I DO feel God’s hand in it all… and I wish that ALL my friends who long to follow their dreams and to respond to that inner calling of the Spirit to jump in to their heart’s desire as God leads…. I wish that all of them could do so.

It is a joy. It is hard. It is wonderfully fulfilling and it is exhausting. At the end of the day, though, I go to bed knowing that this adventure is what God created me to do…and there is satisfaction and peace in that. And there is a great sense of purpose… especially when people’s comments, after performances — even and perhaps especially….when I feel I did not do my best — when these comments gently remind me that this is God’s thing ultimately, not mine.. and he will do with it what He will.

CtC Poster Baby 2014 150Tonight we take another leap of faith, filming the Christmas show, “Celebrate the Child.” The DVD we create will be sold and shared around the country and, perhaps in places abroad as well. Please keep this project in your prayers today and tonight.. and we will see what God does with it.

Thanks to those of you who can attend tonight.. and to those who are not able, but who will be keeping us in your thoughts and prayers throughout the day. You are valued and loved… more than you know.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Thanks for dreams, Lord… and for calling us to them.

Welcome to Paraphrase Theatre

If you are reading this, I am glad you are!  I am just finishing up the process of getting my website and blog up and running… so I appreciate your visit and your patience as I get started.

Looking forward to discussions in the days ahead.

In the meantime, if you happen to read this and want to let me know who you are and why you stopped in, I would love to hear from you.

Carry On…

+ jonathan