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Leonard Sweet Biography
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. Voted by his peers “One of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” by ChurchReport Magazine, 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 his weekly lectionary vlog “LenTalk” is hosted on the YouTube Leonard Sweet channel. For nine years he wrote every week the Homiletics lectionary journal, and for eight years contributed a sermon weekly for sermons.com Now, he currently hosts his own preaching website, preachthestory.com In 2005 Len introduced the first open-source preaching resource on the Web, wikiletics.com. Len’s microblogs on twitter and facebook rank as some of the most influential religious sites in the world.
Founder and President of SpiritVenture Ministries (SVM), in 1995 Len launched Sweet’s SoulCafe and opened up “Sweet’s Body&SoulCafe and Mountain Store” in Thomas, West Virginia. Len is a popular and highly sought-after speaker throughout 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, India and Russia.
Author of more than 200 articles, 1500 published sermons, and more than seventy books, Leonard Sweet’s publications include the best sellers Soul Tsunami and its successor Rings of Fire, AquaChurch 2.0, Jesus Manifesto (with Frank Viola), the “Songs of Light” series with Lisa Samson, Contextual Intelligence (with Michael Beck), 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).
Currently, the Charles Wesley Senior Professor of Doctoral Studies at Evangelical Seminary (Kairos), the E. Stanley Jones Professor Emeritus at Drew University (New Jersey) and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University (Oregon), 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 served a term on the Council of the American Society of Church History. He 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 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 in the San Juans with his wife Tia and son Luke.
Author of more than seventy books and 1500+ published sermons, Leonard Sweet’s recent publications include groundbreaking textbooks on preaching (Giving Blood), evangelism (Nudge), ecclesiology (So Beautiful) and discipleship (I Am A Follower). The second volume in his Christmas trilogy with Lisa Samson is just out (St.As). Len and co-author Lisa Samson are working on volume four (for Dementia and Alzheimers patients) of their “Songs of Light” series.
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 most influential in the religious arena. His “LenTalk” vlogs are found on his Leonard Sweet YouTube channel.
Len works with doctoral students at four institutions: Drew University, where he has occupied the E. Stanley Jones Chair, George Fox University, Northwind Seminary, and Evangelical Seminary (Kairos), where he currently holds the Charles Wesley Senior Professorship of Doctoral Studies. In 2015 he launched his own homiletics resource preachthestory.com. In 2020 he founded his own publishing house the Salish Sea Press. One of the most sought-after speakers in the religious world today, he resides on Orcas Island in the San Juans in the PNW.