Joe Swords


What’s one interesting fact about your life?

I love to cut and split wood. Every year, I try to split by hand enough wood to heat our house for the winter.

What do you do at The Exchange Church?

My main foci are teaching, vision forming, and vision casting. But since we’re a young, small church I do a little bit of everything.

How did you come to know Jesus?

Slowly. My parents raised me in church, taught me about God and the Bible, and gave me examples of what it looked like to follow God. I can’t identify one particular moment when I first believed, but there have been been several instances when God revealed himself to me though his word, giving me more love for him and hope in Jesus’ righteousness I have through his work on the cross. In some very clear ways, the gospel has radically changed me and what I desire and live for. By God’s grace, he is still radically changing me.

Why did you plant The Exchange Church?

Three words: Gospel, Community, Mission. I knew that wherever I was, I must work to make the glorious, sovereign, electing grace of God in Christ known. I must encourage believers to gather in biblical community. And I must help God’s people spread the fame of Jesus. As Ashley and I sought counsel from many believers, it became evident that the best way to accomplish those goals in Clio was to plant a church.

What is one thing you have learned as a husband? As a father?

I have to keep relearning the same thing in both arenas: I am insufficient for the task and in desperate need for the strength of God’s grace at work in me through the Holy Spirit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sinned against my wife or come up short with my kids. Maybe there are some guys out there who just do it all naturally, but the longer I’m married and the longer I try to parent my kids, the more and more I recognize that every good thing in our family comes out of God’s kindness in the midst of my shortcomings. But I’m okay with that. By his grace, I will keep trying to be faithful, and then be thankful when he picks up the pieces and puts it all together for his glory.

What’s your favorite Bible verse?

I have a new one every few days. Honestly, I just love the Bible. Seriously, I was reading Leviticus the other day, and the immensity of God’s grace just hit me. I was like, “What? This is Leviticus; it’s supposed to be boring!” but it was giving me so much joy.

What is one hope you have for The Exchange Church?

I want us to be filled with power from the Holy Spirit so that whether we are gathered or scattered we can’t help but make Jesus and our future hope of glory with him famous.