Jimmy Swaggart Biography


Birthday: March 15, 1935 (Pisces)

Born In: Ferriday, Louisiana, United States

Jimmy Swaggart is an American televangelist and gospel music performer. Being a son of a preacher, he was always close to the Church; therefore, he developed unshaken faith in the services of God. With his kind words and generous actions, which include providing meals to the poverty-stricken, building educational infrastructure, and enlightening the agnostic, he has touched millions of souls around the globe. A social worker at heart, he has done numerous good deeds to help the poor and unfortunate. He was born to preach, as he started spreading the gospel in the streets at the age of nine. His life is a bit of a roller-coaster journey where he experienced the highs and the lows. Not kidding! From playing at rhythm clubs with cousins to being one of the most talented gospel performers, to facing scandals that almost ended his career, Jimmy has lived the cycle of life with his faith by his side. Married to his teenage sweetheart and blessed with a son who follows in his footsteps, Jimmy Swaggart has had a fulfilling personal life.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Jimmy Lee Swaggart

Age: 88 Years, 88 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Frances Swaggart

father: Willie Leon Swaggart

mother: Minnie Bell

siblings: Donnie Swaggart, Jeannette Swaggart Ensminger

children: Donnie Swaggart

Born Country: United States

Televangelists American Men

Height: 1.70 m

U.S. State: Louisiana

Childhood & Early Life

Jimmy Swaggart was born on 15 March 1935, in Ferriday, Louisiana, to Willie Leon and Minnie Swaggart. His parents were the devoted members of the local Assemblies of God. Jimmy is the eldest child of the family.

His father was a sharecropper who became a Pentecostal preacher during the 1950s in the Assemblies of God denomination. As a result, Jimmy Swaggart was inspired by the culture of the Church from a young age.

Though a young Jimmy was not very keen on learning about religious matters, his dramatic salvation experience at the age of eight made him aware of God’s call. After this, a transformed Jimmy started spending hours offering his prayers to God and reading the Bible.

Since both his parents were really gifted as musicians, playing fiddle and guitars during the time of the Great Depression, young Swaggart developed a taste for music at an early age. He sneaked to rhythm clubs with Jerry L. Lewis, his famous rock-n-roll pioneer cousin. Soon he started playing at these clubs, where he attained popularity as a blooming singer.

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Before becoming a full-time evangelist, Jimmy Swaggart took up several part-time jobs; he was performing Southern Gospel music at various churches.

In 1955, he started working as a full-time evangelist and began developing a revival meeting throughout the American South.

The year 1960 was of utmost importance for Swaggart as he began recording Gospel music to transmit on Christian radio stations. The following year, the Assemblies of God ordained him.

In 1962, he began his radio ministry. In a span of seven years, his radio program, The Camp Meeting Hour, was aired on almost 700 radio stations throughout the American Bible belt.

During this time, he also established a small church called the Family Worship Center in the capital of Louisianait eventually expanded to over 1000 members.

In 1970, Jimmy Swaggart published the first copy of the Evangelist Magazine, which has been printing non-stop for fifty years.

He started the production of his weekly TV program, The Jimmy Swaggart Evangelistic Association Presents Jimmy Swaggart, in 1973. It went on to become a massive hit and watched by a million viewers. In the same year, he employed a local film crew for taping his meetings held in Indianapolis.

Jimmy Swaggart’s career expanded beyond preaching as he went on world tours to visit poverty-stricken areas. He had built churches and schools in impoverished areas. He had teamed with numerous missionaries across the globe as a service to the Lord.

In 1988, his career experienced a massive downfall when he was implicated in a sex scandal involving a prostitute. He was defrocked by the hierarchy of Assemblies of God, as they believed that he was not genuinely repentant of his actions.

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In 1991, Jimmy Swaggart was involved in another sex scandal.  As a consequence, his ministry became nonaffiliated, nondenominational, and significantly smaller.

After devoting fifty years of his life to spreading the faith, and facing the scandals, he made his comeback with SonLife Broadcasting Network, which was launched by him in 2010. It is owned and operated by Jimmy Swaggart ministries. Moreover, all the programs generated on the Christian network originates from the Family worship centre and the onsite television studios of the ministry.

Major Works

The Expositor’s Study Bible (ESB), a book which was released in 2005, was the Magnus opus of Jimmy’s career. It was his life’s work that gained him reputation overseas. The book has been translated into numerous languages, including Russian, Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese. The book has sold over four million copies. Over two million copies have been donated to the pastor supporters of third world countries.

One of his most iconic albums, Worship, was widely praised for its performance and its contribution to gospel music.

Awards & Achievements

His album, Live from Nashville, was nominated for Best Gospel Album at the 1980 Grammy Awards.

Jimmy Swaggart’s album, Worship, was also nominated for Dove Award for Worship Album of the Year in 1981 for its contribution to religious music.

Family & Personal Life

Jimmy Swaggart married Frances Anderson in 1952 at the age of seventeen. Their son, Donnie Swaggart, was named after Jimmy’s late brother.

Jimmy’s son, Donnie, has followed his father’s footsteps. He preaches at the Family Worship Center and many other churches across the world.

Jimmy Swaggart has three grandchildren, Jennifer, Gabriel, and Matthew, and five great-grandchildren named Ryder, Abby, Samantha, Harper and Lola.

His grandson Gabriel is the youth pastor of the ministry and leads the youth ministry for Crossfire and Family Worship Center.


Jimmy Swaggart has founded World Evangelism Bible College, that provides programs for a four-year arts degree.

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