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Leonard Sweet Biography

Full Bio

Leonard Sweet is a scholar of USAmerican culture; a semiotician who “sees things the rest of us do not see, and dreams possibilities that are beyond most of our imagining;” and a preacher and best-selling author who communicates the gospel with a signature bridging of the worlds of faith, academe, and popular culture. In 2006 and 2007, Len was voted by his peers “One of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” by ChurchReport Magazine, and in 2010, he was selected by the top non-English Christian website as one of the “Top 10 Influential Christians of 2010.” His popular podcast, “Napkin Scribbles,” is widely quoted, and he wrote for sermons.com for eight years. Now, he currently hosts his own preaching website, PreachTheStory.com. For nine years, he and his wife wrote the entire content for the weekly preaching resource Homiletics. In 2005 Len introduced the first open-source preaching resource on the Web, wikiletics.com. Len’s microblogs on twitter and facebook rank as two of the most influential social media sites in the world.

You can find a few of Len’s talks on his youtube channel, www.youtube.com/lenssweetspots. Founder and President of SpiritVenture Ministries (SVM), in 1995 Len launched Sweet’s SoulCafe, a spirituality newsletter purchased by Broadman&Holman Publishing. Len is a popular and highly sought-after speaker throughout North America and around the world. In the past couple of years, he has spoken in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, England, Wales, South Africa, South Korea, Iceland, Scotland, and most recently, China, Indonesia, and Latvia.

Author of more than 200 articles, 1300+ published sermons, and more than sixty books, Leonard Sweet’s publications include the best sellers Soul Tsunami, Aqua Church andAquaChurch 2.0, Jesus Manifesto (with Frank Viola), Jesus: A Theography (with Frank Viola), From Tablet to Table, as well as many other volumes that are revolutionizing the church’s mission. Len published the first religion e-book on Amazon: The Dawn Mistaken for Dusk in 2000. In 2011 Len published his first novel, The Seraph Seal (co-authored with Lori Wagner) with an innovative website, www.seraphseal.com.

Len’s most recent book is his successor book to SoulTsunami (1999), Rings of Fire: Walking in Faith Through a Volcanic Future (2019). Upcoming books include Designer Jesus, CIQ: Contextual Intelligence Quotient (with Michael Beck), and A Jesus Human (with Byounho Zho).

Currently, the Charles Wesley Senior Professor of Doctoral Studies at Evangelical Seminary, the E. Stanley Jones Professor Emeritus at Drew University (New Jersey) and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University (Oregon) and Tabor College (Kansas) Len was Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Theological School at Drew University from 1995 to 2001. Previous to Drew, Len served for eleven years as President and Professor of Church History at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio and is currently their President Emeritus. Prior to 1985, Len was Provost of Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York when he was in his late 20s. Involved in leadership positions in the United Methodist Church, Len has been chosen to speak at various Jurisdictional and General Conferences as well as the 1996 World Methodist Congress in Rio de Janeiro. He also serves as a consultant to many of America’s denominational leaders and agencies.

Len has served a term on the council of the American Society of Church History, was an associate editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion for ten years, and is a member of numerous professional groups. An honors and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Richmond, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. The recent recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond (Virginia), Baker University (Kansas), Otterbein College (Ohio), Coe College (Iowa), and Lebanon Valley College (Pennsylvania), Anderson University (Indiana), Len has held distinguished lectureships at various colleges, universities and seminaries, and has presented academic papers before major professional societies. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, state conventions, pastors’ schools, retreats.

Len resides on Orcas Island (Eastsound) in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State.

Short Bio

Author of more than two hundred articles, 1500+ published sermons and sixty books, Leonard Sweet’s recent publications include the groundbreaking textbook on preaching, Giving Blood: A Fresh Paradigm for Preaching, the best-seller From Tablet to Table, The Bad Habits of Jesus, and the fall 2019 release of the twenty-year successor to SoulTsunami, Rings of Fire: Walking in Faith Through a Volcanic Future.  

Len often appears on the “50 Most Influential Christians in America” listings, and in 2010 was selected by the top non-English Christian website as one of the “Top 10 Influential World Christians of 2010”. His “Napkin Scribbles” podcasts can be accessed on leonardsweet.com or spotify. His Twitter and Facebook microblogs are ranked as some of the highest in the religious world. 

Len works with graduate students at four institutions: Drew University, where he has occupied the E. Stanley Jones Chair, George Fox University, Tabor College, and Evangelical Seminary, where he currently holds the Charles Wesley Senior Professorship of Doctoral Studies. In 2015 he launched his own homiletics resource preachthestory.com. One of the most sought-after speakers in the religious world today, he resides on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.