Dr. Stephen Swisher on restoring human value and raising leaders

Danny de Gracia interviews pastor and author Dr. Stephen Swisher on answering Christ’s call for America. Photo: Dr. Stephen Swisher says America faces a crucial moment in time. (Photo by Office of Dr. Swisher)

WASHINGTON, November 6, 2013 – What’s behind the terrible violence and crime that seems to be plaguing America these days? Dr. Stephen Swisher, senior pastor of Centerville UMC Church and a nationally respected Bible scholar says this is a “crucial time in American society” and that a devaluation of human life is driving many national problems.

In an exclusive interview, Swisher shared how he and other Christian voices are connecting with believers all across the world and working to raise up a generation of new leaders sensitive to God’s heart. From personally meeting with elected officials to spearheading a unique doctoral program and holding faith conferences, Swisher says that the Christian message needs to be heard everywhere.

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Just a few days from now, Swisher’s father and mother-in-law, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, will host a special Washington D.C. Victory Campaign from November 14-16 at the Hylton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge, VA.

Danny de Gracia: Steve, you and your wife Kellie have been preaching across the country and meeting with a lot of communities and leaders recently. What are some of the things that God has placed on your heart to speak and teach about?

Dr. Stephen Swisher: We speak about God’s faithfulness to His people and the importance of each believer to stand up and to speak out for their beliefs.

This is a crucial time in American society and Christians must be at the forefront, not as radical extremists but rather as steady, honest and genuine voices of truth, hope, and values that have helped define our nation since its inception.

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DDG: What would you say is the number one, most important issue right now that people need to pay attention to in your opinion?

Dr. Swisher: The devaluing of the human being. We must recognize each person as created by God for a real and significant purpose. The rash of school shootings, violence in almost every quarter of society and the growth of bullying and other scenarios that put others down must be stopped.

The root cause is devaluing people, which stems from individuals not respecting themselves. Ultimately, these issues come from ignoring God and the values contained within the Holy Bible.

DDG: I understand you’re leading a doctoral program aimed at raising up Christian leaders, could you tell us a little bit about that?

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Dr. Swisher: Sure, I am the director of the Leadership and Preaching in the 21st Century Doctoral Program, in partnership with United Theological Seminary and Kenneth Copeland Ministries.  We currently have 35 students and have graduated 45 with a fully accredited Doctor of Ministry degree.

This is a three year program, where pastors or church leaders who have earned a bachelor’s degree and master of divinity degree seek to grow in their skills to reach this generation for Christ. Classes are held at the UTS and KCM campuses four times per year and classes are taught by leading professors as well as myself and Kenneth and Gloria Copeland.

Dr. Swisher, seen here with wife Kellie and daughter Emily, is the senior pastor of Centerville UMC Church. (File Photo)

DDG: Many of our readers would like to know what it means to have “faith” and how to apply faith to their personal lives. For example, if someone is having financial problems or issues with their children, what does the Bible say about using faith to change or overcome these situations?

Dr. Swisher: Having faith simply means to believe that what Jesus says in the Bible is true, and then acting out that truth in our daily lives. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life abundantly,” He also said, “All things are possible to those that believe.” By taking Jesus at His word and stepping out in belief or faith we see the impossible become possible. 

DDG: Next week from November 14 to the 16th, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland will be preaching at the Hylton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge, Virginia for the KCM Washington D.C. Victory Campaign. Could you tell our readers what it’s like attending a KCM conference?

Dr. Swisher: The annual Washington D.C. Victory Campaign is always a very popular meeting.  Several thousand people from across the East Coast will converge on a small suburb of our nation’s capitol to engage their faith and learn more about the Bible.

KCM meetings are full of energy, excitement, great music, one on one connections with fellow partners and the teaching of the Word of God. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland refer to these meetings as “family reunions” as ministry partners and friends often travel great distances to attend.

DDG: Last but not least, is there anything you’d like to share with our readers?

Dr. Swisher: As believers we must get involved in every aspect of life in our communities, politically, educationally, socially and every other way.  The time is over for us to coast or get along and go along.  We have got to make our voices heard in a rational, intelligent and measured way.

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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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