“If you’d asked me who God is on December 9, the year of my accident, I would have been able to give you a fairly cohesive but theoretical answer. A day later all of that changed.”
A simple surgery went horribly wrong. Steve Sjogren died on the operating table. He encountered a heavenly world where he felt infinite peace. And then he had to come back—back to a physical reality filled with pain and disability and an endless line of tests.
The drama of dying suddenly paled in comparison to the trauma of living. Sjogren could not face this new existence with his same old comfortable understanding of God.
“I had minimized God,” Sjogren says. “Somehow, over time, he had become fairly predictable—like he could be outlined, fully grasped, and contained in a neat set of mere ideas. Now I saw that he apparently wasn’t all that impressed with my cool little notebooks.”
One day in heaven followed by hundreds in agony forged a deeper and stronger faith than Sjogren could have crafted on his own. In Heaven’s Lessons, Sjogren shares his experiences and the life-changing ways they have affected his perspective on success, suffering, and the mysteries of God.
Steve Sjogren has lived in Los Angeles, Oslo, Norway, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Tampa as he and his wife, Janie, helped launch new churches aimed at those who are spiritual but not religious. The church in Cincinnati, Vineyard Community Church, grew from 30 to more than 6,000 weekly attenders mainly through free creative acts of serving the community such as scrubbing toilets. Steve and his wife, Janie, currently lead a congregation in Newberg, Oregon. They have three adult children.
Steve Sjogren launched the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1985 with 37 people. Under his leadership, the dynamic congregation grew to more than 6000 in average attendance. From the onset VCC had a strong emphasis on servant evangelism, small groups, church planting and caring for the needy. Following a medical accident in 1997 and during his recovery, Steve became the Launching Pastor.
Through the years the church planting internship program and Steve’s coaching efforts have produced several dozen successful church plants. Steve is currently focused on writing, speaking and mentoring church planters. Steve’s passion for evangelism, church planting and leadership development is reflected in his writing.