Steve Swanson grew up in Moline, IL, where people are hardworking, down to earth, and where the majority of his family still live today. While still in High School, Lutheran Youth Encounter visited the family church. The experience was so impactful Steve observed a significant change in the way his parents lived out their faith, helping him to discover and understand what it meant to be in relationship with Jesus. As Steve puts it, “It was a point of reflection and decision. I knew I wanted to serve God.”
Upon graduating High School, Steve joined Lutheran Youth Encounter and served with them for five years. Everywhere he went he heard about LBI Seattle and although he had never been west of South Dakota, he believed this was no coincidence. He set his sights on Seattle and during the second term of his first year, his life changed again.
While working in the cafeteria he spotted a young lady named Susie Bowers. Being an adventurous individual, he walked up to her and introduced himself. As Steve walked away Susie turned to her friend and said, “I’m staying away from that guy.” Apparently following her around campus “like a puppy” worked. They were married in March of 1978 during spring break. Susie was so committed to their relationship, she dropped out of school to work so Steve could finish his degree. March of 2020 will mark their 42ndanniversary (Psalm 126:3).
There was another pivotal moment during Steve’s time in Seattle that would set the path for his future, though he didn’t know it at the time. He often listened to radio station KBIQ (now KCMS) and “The Eternal Rock Show” with Gordie Christianson. While attending a Chuck Girard concert, Steve met Gordie, who invited him to stop by the radio station. This fueled a lifelong interest in broadcast media and ministry.
After graduating from LBI, Steve served for 11-years as Youth Pastor and then Media Director at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN. He worked full time, attended Broadcast School, and he and Susie started their family. They adopted their daughter, Shereen, from Korea and their son, Luke, was born 3 ½ years later. Today they have six grandchildren and are privileged to see them at least once a month.
Steve’s journey in radio broadcast ministry has included stations in Minnesota; KQCS in the Quad Cities (IA and IL); The Joy FM in Sarasota, FL; and he is now in his 13th year at WAFJ in Augusta, GA. Susie has been by his side every step of the way and also serves as the Office Manager at WAFJ.
Key Learning at LBI:
“Jesus is our living hope. He’s not just a story figure in a well-known book and having relationship with him is a daily connection.”
Advice to Students:
“Like sailing, learn to adjust to the wind. Be open to what God wants from you today and what he leads you to tomorrow. You may end up in a profession you didn’t anticipate.”