Nationally renowned minister to speak in Chesterfield

May 11—CHESTERFIELD — He can be Billy Graham, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Bill Clinton without ever changing clothes.

Dr. Dennis Swanberg, a nationally known preacher and entertainer, has been showcasing his comedic prowess and making national headlines since high school.

"We won the state championship in 1970 ... at the banquet, my football coach said, 'Swan, why don't you come up and entertain us a little bit,'" he recalled.

"I got up there, did my thing, everybody was laughing. The main speaker was the lieutenant governor of Texas, but the newspaper said, 'Swanberg steals the show.'"

It was somewhere around that time he came to faith in Christ and, thanks to a football team chaplain whom they called "rabbi," he learned to use humor to preach the gospel.

The chaplain taught him how to blend scriptural teaching with humor to provide something both inspirational and impactful.

Swanberg, also known as "the Swan," will bring his blend of laughter and lessons to Chesterfield Church of God on June 8.

His impressions haven't always served him well. Swanberg has been an avid TV watcher from childhood, allowing him to acquire characters such as Barney Fife from "The Andy Griffith Show" and Mr. Haney from "Green Acres."

Swanberg attended a Methodist church as a child. He said he often tells the story of a service in which the preacher repeatedly and dramatically asked, "What should we do with sin?"

Wanting to be helpful, Swanberg hollered out, "Nip it in the bud," in Barney Fife's voice.

Swanberg's appearance is an all men's event. It is sponsored by the Alexandria Men's Fellowship and is being organized by gospel artist Woody Wright.

Wright said he's known Swanberg for decades but only recently got acquainted with his devotional, "Breakfast, Bible, and Bull," which he purchased for his group in Alexandria.

It was such a huge hit, the group read it twice and Swanberg was invited to the event.

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