Jer is a social/missional entrepreneur and everyday experimentalist engaged in the adventure of following Jesus. In 2003, he and his wife migrated from the Midwest to San Francisco to pioneer a subversive, hyper-local & globally connected Jesus-Community called Open Door that equips and mobilizes communities of people into God’s reconciling mission. Most recently, he co-founded The Global Immersion Project to form & activate everyday peacemakers through a unique fusion of experiential training, immersive global engagement, and integrative coaching.
Because of his storyformed life and creative teaching style, Jer has become a sought after voice on Jesus, experiential discipleship, culture creating, community development, missional engagement, and peacemaking. He frequently travels the country speaking to and training leaders, emerging influencers, and global citizens at conferences, churches, and universities.
Jer did his undergrad work at The University of Northwestern-St. Paul and his grad work at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has been married to his wife, Jaci, for twelve years, they have two children, fourteen chickens, and 60,000 honey-bees and live in San Francisco’s East Bay. He’s a long-distance running, stoop-sitting urban farmer who loves sharing his table with new friends and old.
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Global Immersion Project
How do you address systematic injustice and conflict at a micro level?
“Where the rubber meets the road for us, as everyday peacemakers, are in the spaces of interpersonal relationships,” explains Jer Swigart, Directional Leader of The Open Door Community and Co-Founding Director of The Global Immersion Project. Our training is designed for home, neighborhood, city, nation and world. In dealing with conflict, very few people know how to navigate it. “The way we deal with conflict is the way that conflict has been dealt with in our lives.”
How do we have hope amidst difficult conflict?
“We’re identifying these mustard seeds of hope and leveraging stories,” says Jer Swigart, Directional Leader of The Open Door Community and Co-Founding Director of The Global Immersion Project. There is also something formative about taking time to lament with each other, which is something that the American Church is historically not good at. “Telling stories of mustard seeds of hope and developing practices of lament are how we stay alive and engaged.”
How do I have relationship with those I disagree with?
“A shortcoming in North American Christianity is that we’ve trained our people to tribalize and find people who are just like us,” answers Jer Swigart, Directional Leader of The Open Door Community and Co-Founding Director of The Global Immersion Project. While there are advantages to having like-minded relationships, we also need people who are different from us to be fully alive. “We have more of a commitment to being right than being in relationship.”
More Jer Swigart Videos
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How do Americans enter into spaces of injustice?
How do we follow a bold Jesus into broken conflicts?