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Pastor Adam Swanson knew people might think he was crazy when he decided to go into the CBD business. After all, not many people think of mixing faith and cannabis. However, years ago, Adam said the Spirit of God told him he would one day sell a product that had the gospel on it but did not have anything directly to do with the gospel. Adam believes Gen 1:29, his new line of hemp-based CBD, is that product.
“I struggled with it at first,” the Murfreesboro, Tenn., pastor told God’s Greenery in an exclusive interview. “I said, ‘God, are you serious? How in the world could I grow hemp? It’s going to ruin my family’s reputation.’ But in my research, I found so many people it was helping. I prayed and prayed, and I believe God led me to do this.”
The Swanson family is well known in the Christian products industry. Adam’s grandfather started selling Christian books and gifts way back in 1935. The company moved from Pennsylvania to Florida and eventually to Murfreesboro in 1963 when Adam’s dad took it over. Today, Swanson Christian Products sells everything from greeting cards to home décor. Adam’s Dad branched into real estate, and the Swanson Companies now buys and develops real estate throughout Tennessee. Adam serves as CEO of Swanson Christian Products, while also co-pastoring Victory Christian Center in Murfreesboro. The Swansons are known in Tennessee for their entrepreneurship, business savvy, and strong Christian faith.
Adam says he was raised in the Methodist Church, then got filled with the Holy Spirit at the age of 12. He went to Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla.; earned a degree in economics from Vanderbilt, then went to Rhema Bible College in Tulsa. He also spent time at Victory Church in Tulsa, learning about pastoring from the late Billy Joe Daugherty. Adam says his passion is for the pulpit, but he also inherited his family’s business acumen and desire to try new ventures.
So how does a wealthy businessman and pastor branch into farming hemp? Adam believes it was a gift from God.
“My dad was involved in real estate, but I wasn’t,” Adam said. “Then about 15 years ago I was getting out of my car one morning when I was working for Swanson, and I heard God say, ‘One day you’re going to be in real estate.’ It made sense because my whole family was, but I was not interested. I was running Swansons and pastoring.
“Then about three years ago my wife said, ‘Honey, I’d like to live out in the country. We began to look at land. We drove all over middle Tennessee, and I found some land in a little town called Beech Grove. We bought it, and over a period of two years the family bought about 2,500 acres from about 20 people. Then I asked God, ‘What am I supposed to do with all this? Are we supposed to grow something?’”
Adam said he started looking for a high cash crop. Then several close Christian friends started talking about CBD oil and how it was helping them.
“I had a pastor friend who was taking CBD for his knee and back pain,” Adam said. “Then a lady I know from the local House of Prayer told me how she was taking it and it was helping her sleep better. I kept hearing all these things. I couldn’t get away from it.”
Adam said at the same time, God was revealing several things to him. “God showed me not to make judgments, just to love people and pray for them and be Christlike in all the things I am called to do,” he said. “Then the Lord began to talk to me about fruit and food and plant life and Genesis 1:29,” Adam said. “It talks about how God created all this stuff for our good. Now I had never been interested in this before. My family was using essential oils and everything, but I never wanted to learn about that stuff. I just didn’t have time.”
Then a company came to the family’s real estate business and asked to lease some of their land to grow hemp. Adam is on the board of directors and started to do due diligence to see if this was a direction Swanson Companies wanted to take.
“All these things were happening around the same time,” Adam said. “God was teaching me not to judge. He led me into real estate. He was talking to me in His Word about plants. Christian friends were telling me about CBD. And then this company wanted to use our land to grow hemp. It was all peaking my interest.”
Adam began to research. He even tried selling CBD oil for multi-level marketing company. But his entrepreneurial spirit wasn’t content selling someone else’s product. He decided to farm hemp, then harvest and process his own line of CBD oil. Last June, Adam planted five acres of hemp. The first crop was harvested last November, and Gen 1:29 (named after Genesis 1:29) opened a storefront in Murfreesboro.
Adam says his prayer is that Gen 1:29 products will help people heal naturally.
“I had a lady call me 10 minutes after her husband rubbed it on her shoulders for the first time,” he said. “She was crying. She had been in so much pain and had tried prescriptions and creams and all kinds of stuff. She said nothing gave her relief like the CBD did.”
The Gen 1:29 store even sells the dried hemp buds, called flowers. Adam said he wrestled with selling parts of the plant that could be smoked, even for medicinal purposes.
“While we were creating some of the flower (buds), I was having the hardest time,” he admitted. “For three or our months, my conscience and all the things I had been taught all my life were fighting me. I was praying in the Spirit, and my Spirit was at peace. It was so confusing. Then I remembered that when I told a pastor friend I was planning to grow hemp, he had said to me, ‘You are about to enter into something that is going to be a stranger to your mind but a companion to your spirit.’ It still is at times.”
Adam said when he struggled with the idea that anyone might smoke the hemp buds, he remembered the biblical description of the Holy of Holies, the innermost room of the temple where the Spirit of God dwelt.
“I said, ‘God, is it okay for people to be smoking this stuff?’ And immediately, I pictured the Holy of Holies. They took spices and incense and put it on the altar, and it filled the whole room with smoke. Smoke that the worshippers breathed in.
“I believe God gave this to me as a gift,” Adam said. “I’m a Rhema grad. I believe in healing. I believe God is a good God who gives His people good things. This is a gift that can help people heal. It is a gift that can be profitable and that money can be used, I hope, to help run the House of Prayer. It is a gift that will open up doors of relationship with people I may never have encountered otherwise. This is totally a walk of faith, and I’m just going to keep moving forward.”
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