about the writer


photo 2“Jon Swanson helps people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.”

Once upon a time, I thought I would use my PhD in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism to teach college students how to analyze speeches. Instead, I started helping people read the Bible. I’ve been doing that for more than thirty years. In small groups and conversations, I try to listen to the text, listen to people and connect the two in ways that are practical and often unexpected.

Recently, I’ve been writing about changing our routines. I wrote readers for Advent and Lent, and then gathered my comments on the Sermon on the Mount to give practical examples. My most recent book, “A Great Work”, is a conversation with Nehemiah which, in the words of one reader, “offers the gift of allowing people to feel they can understand without having to be scholars.” Someone talked about the literary device of imaginary conversations. I don’t think they were imaginary, but I understand.

I was a communication prof, college administrator, and, since 2000, an associate pastor. Currently, I’m the executive pastor at Grabill Missionary Church. (My published writings do not necessarily reflect the positions of that church.)

Nancy and I have been married since 1983 and have two children (one married). We walk at least two miles a day, conversing the whole time. We’ve been doing that for 7 years. It’s been a stabilizing element in our marriage. And it was one part of what helped me lose 45 pounds in a year and keep them off for another year.

I have been blogging since 2005. In 2008, I started 300wordsaday.com, where I try to write in simple language about following Jesus, 300 words at a time.

Follow me on twitter as @jnswanson. And email me at jnswanson at gmail dot com. And, thanks to Frank Reed, you can learn more about being a social media chaplain. And find my books on Amazon by following anewroutine.com.

31 thoughts on “about the writer

  1. Hi Jon,
    I’m a pastor of a church too, and interested in utilizing digital technology to connect people with God, their faith, and one another. A mutual friend gave me the url for your website and blog, and I’m really impressed! You’re an effective communicator with a heart for the gospel of grace. Any suggestions for me? Thanks!

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  2. Hi Jon,

    I write a blog about being a young person going through life changes. Whether it be love, family or my career. I seek insight in everything and at times like this… it’s a very challenging thing to do. Especially at my age when materialism and an invincibility nature is extremely common.

    Thank you for your inspiring words.

    Bites of Banter

    bitesofbanter.wordpress.com

    Like

  3. Jon — I just found your website via Twitter. You should seriously consider tweeting 140 char snippets of your daily 300 word posts on Twitter. You would likely get a lot more people reading your great stuff!

    Thanks for the 300 words!

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  4. Hi Jon,
    I was just introduced to 300 Words from a blog post by Chris Brogan. He mentioned that he was not Christian but held up your blog as something/someone he wanted to brag about. I now have your RSS feed hitting my inbox. Most of my feeds are in a reader but a precious few are lifted up to my email inbox so that I am confronted with their message every day. Yours is the best and its a great reminded for me to stop and reflect on Jesus and strengthen my faith. Thank you.

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  5. Pastor,

    Fantastic blog. Anyone reaching the “un-churched” and “un-saved” is worthy of support, prayer, encouragement and reverence… and you have mine.

    As Christians we have much work to do in order to reflect the love, grace and mercy of Christ in our society. Together with God’s leading, we can restore the soul of our nation and revive America.

    Like

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  7. I like your blog, but I’m intrigued by the way you start your personal introduction;
    – pastor
    – ordained
    – doctor
    – follower of Jesus

    My short experience with the American version of “church” is that qualifications, seminary, titles (like pastor) and so forth, matter a great deal, yet are largely absent from 1st century church history.

    There also seems to be a reliance upon men with these qualification, seminary training, and titles, to do much of the work Christ left for all believers to undertake, work now paid for by said believers.

    I’m not sure this model is congruent with the church I read about in the Bible and the Church I experience every day.

    Thanks for the blog, though.

    Like

    • Thanks, Mark, for the comments. For a long time in my online involvements I didn’t tell anyone about my “job”. I almost never talk about my credentials. For the very reasons you say. However, when I wrote this introduction, I decided to come clean about what I do to get paid so that no one is surprised.

      What’s fun for me is that I don’t have any seminary training at all. What I’ve learned has been through study, conversation, and often, through writing here. The last thing that I planned to do was to end up on a church staff. But a decade ago, God didn’t leave much of an option for me.

      So I understand your concern. I’m pretty sure, now, that whether I got paid by a group of people or not, I would be a pastor.

      Like

  8. Hi Jon,

    I learned of you from our friend Matt Fagioli. Matt and I have been friends for about 12 years now and attend the same church.

    I just love what you’re doing here. We are very like-minded. I tend to see God in everyday experiences also. Matt has been on me to start a blog. Your’s is inspiring me.

    One day soon I hope to get to meet you. Until then, I will continue to enjoy your 300 Words!

    Thank you, and God bless you for obeying Him!
    Robert Mallon

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  9. Hi Jon.

    Thanks for your response. I’m glad you took my concerns in the spirit they were intended and it’s good to read your blog knowing that you’re truly called to serve as you currently are.

    Like

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  14. Dear Pastor Swanson,

    I liked your blog very much. I learnt your blog from Chris Brogan’s 101.
    I can’t write very well but I can express my faith through art and design.

    Do you have any suggestion for my blog?

    http://perrygoh.blogspot.com/

    I want to touch more people just like you do.

    Thank you & God Bless

    Perry Goh

    Like

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  16. And what’s wrong with speaking of yourself in the third person? Jesus did it all the time (i.e. ‘The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost’). And Paul did it once also. It’s perfectly normal. ;)

    I enjoy your blog!

    dtjsoft.com

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  17. Hi (Pastor) Jon,
    Seems kind of like formal address to me. Too much coffee before bedtime kept me awake to read your blog. I should probably indulge in the elixir of life late in the day more often. Appreciate you! Lisa

    Like

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  21. Pastor: I think your online ministry is breaking ground in the 21st century church. I am inspired by the fact that you have no seminary training. I am a layperson, too.

    Our denomination abandoned our people. Our pastor just disappeared after meeting with the bishop. We went for a year or so with no pastor. Next, we were declared closed with no consultation. The bishop came to our church one Sunday “to talk” and had a locksmith hiding behind the building. We resisted.

    The idea was to discourage our people, provide them with no leadership so we would give up and relinquish our valuable property and endowment funds, creating an easy windfall for the regional body who just happened to be running a $275,000 deficit.

    But we just kept going and were growing our church (52 new members in less than a year).

    The people turned to me with my extensive “credentials” as a preacher’s kid, and I’ve been pastoring them as best I can for the last five years. No active pastors will talk to us. Some outraged retired pastors help as best they can.

    As a result of our resisting, our regional body sued me personally. The idea again was to get the “leader” out of the way. I have lived with law suits for five years with no end in sight. One suit ends, a new charge is made. Contempt of court, fraud, willful something or other. I’ve lost track. The courts don’t want anything to do with church cases, so I’ve had nowhere to turn.

    We took our ministry on line and it continues to grow. We have about 1500 readers a month and hear from Christians all over the world. But our neighbors want nothing to do with us.

    Your story of Nehemiah resonated with us. We faced the similar intrigue and trickery.

    I’ve found your online ministry comforting. Thank you.

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  23. Great souls make great writers. That is significant, because… my, what a great writer you have become! I’ll never forget sitting at the intersection of your life, on a bench at Saint Francis and watching as God drew a slow smile across your face.

    I’m not always sure what you’re drinking, but pour me a pint as well.:-)

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  24. I do agree with all the ideas you have introduced for your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very brief for newbies. May you please extend them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post. fdckccdcdabd

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