Alumni Highlight: A.J. Swoboda

There are those who simply talk about changing their world, and there are others who are willing to try it. A.J. Swoboda, an alumnus of GFES, is one of those people who have the calling and courage to live out the gospel in ways that allow others to fully know the person of Jesus Christ. Here is a snapshot:

Dr. A. J. Swoboda started and serves the Theophilus church community in the Hawthorne District of Portland, Ore. ( Theophilus is a unique church community nestled in the heart of the hustle and bustle of southeast Portland. Before this, A.J. served as a college pastor on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he led an off-campus co-op called the Onyx House that served Christian college-age students throughout the region.

As well as pastoring a church in Portland, A.J. is a professor of biblical studies, theology, and Christian history at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. His courses include Christian history, pneumatology, theology and Christology. Beginning this year, he will be teaching alongside Dr. Dan Brunner in the newly established creation care program in the seminary. In addition to teaching at Fox, A.J. is an adjunct professor at LIFE Pacific College, Canby Bible College, the Episcopal Academy of Spiritual Formation and Concordia University.

A.J.’s creative doctoral research explored the neverending relationship between the Holy Spirit and ecology. Finishing his PhD at the University of Birmingham (U.K.), he continues doing research in Christian theology, history and practice. In fall 2011, His popular book Messy: God Likes It That Way (Kregel) is due out. Messy is a simple attempt at re-embracing the messy nature of faith in a world that so often worships order. Similarly, later in 2012, his dissertation, Tongues and Trees: Towards a Green Pentecostal Pneumatology, will be released in book form.

A.J. and his wife Quinn just had their first child, Elliot James. They love to walk together, eat out, laugh, and sing off key. In his free time, A.J. writes, wails on guitars, runs (mostly treadmills), plays Settlers, reads, and has a predisposition toward movies with Kevin Spacey in them.

Feel free to check out his website at