Hometown Hero: Kevin Schwieger

Kevin Schwieger was born in Kenya to a missionary family whose roots in the mission field were deep on both his paternal and maternal sides. His paternal grandparents took their three preschool aged children to Kenya in the early 1940s while it was still under British rule.

His mother grew up in a missionary family in Panama. Kevin states, “I came out of college thinking I was going to be a YMCA director. I honored what my parents did, but I didn’t think that was for me. I was more athletic minded.“

He spent six years with the YMCA, followed by several years with Athletes in Action. He then moved into a sports evangelism role in a local church. Then he and his wife planted a church in Lebanon whose ultimate goal was to reach unchurched people.

When the church plant closed six year later, Kevin and his wife came to Grace Chapel in Mason, OH to heal and figure out their next step. He has been on staff at Grace Chapel for eight years and says he has found his spot.

Kevin says, “My current role is a new role that we are calling Workplace Pastor. One of the core DNA pieces for Grace Chapel is workplace ministry, but until recently we didn’t see it as deserving a pastoral presence. In hindsight, it doesn’t make sense because we have children and youth programs with a pastoral presence over that. We have community development, life groups and assimilation with a pastoral presence over that. This whole workplace and Biznistry development has been so unique to us and is expanding, but we never had someone assigned to that.”

“I like the word Chaplain when describing this role. A chaplain is a pastor who is assigned to the battlefield. It’s a little less threatening to non churchy people than the word pastor. We have an increasing number of what we call Biznistries, which are entrepreneurially driven small business enterprises that have a heart for ministry. These are individuals who are trying to start businesses that want to do ministry in the context of business, but like any startup they are completely overwhelmed starting their businesses. And business affects home life, and home life affects business, and it’s all wrapped up in this spaghetti bowl of stress. I provide a chaplain like presence for these people as well as an organization presence for making sure that when you say you have a heart for ministry, you are actually doing that.”

“One of our businesses, Crossfit Superfly, had the opportunity to expand to a second location but nobody to help develop the location. So our pastor and the elders commissioned me to help this Biznistry survive and grow. That was strategic because it gave me real life experience. In those two years, I not only helped to save one of our Biznistries but also earned the right to be heard in the future. So when I am talking to business owners, I have been there, done that, and can commiserate. The byproduct has been the fruit coming out of this. We can trace thirty people who are now regular attenders of Grace Chapel because of their involvement with Crossfit Superfly. The Crossfit story has really provided more spiritual fruit than any other evangelistic program that Grace Chapel has developed in the last twelve years.”

Kevin says, ”I am a pastor who has been assigned by Grace Chapel to the battlefield of the workplace, which literally is a battlefield. These business owners exhibit stress and trauma trying to build their businesses and do ministry in a hostile world.” Kevin is there to provide a much-needed ministering presence.