Jeff Johnsen has been the executive director of Mile High Ministries since 1987.
Heidi and Jeff married in 1983 and moved to Denver to play in a country-western dance band. How many urban leaders got their introduction to the city that way? While still playing in the band, they volunteered with friends from their church to help some refugees who lived in the city. Little did they know that they were about to be swept up into God’s transforming work among the poor, or how dramatically it would change the direction of their lives.
Jeff is in love with Denver—her history, her neighborhoods, and the people who are quietly doing remarkable things in some of her out of the way communities. He loves walking Denver’s streets, listening to their stories, and passing those stories along to just about anyone who wants to listen.
The Johnsen’s second favorite city is Nairobi, Kenya—which just happens to be Denver’s sister city. Their friend Eunice drug the Johnsens to Nairobi to help her start a home for orphaned children. And there they’ve developed a whole network of friends and business partners who live and serve in some remarkable communities within the city.
Jeff is an ordained member of the Street Psalms community, an international order of people living and serving in low-income, high-risk urban communities.
He got his bachelor’s degree in history from Colorado State University in 1982 (Go Rams!), a master’s degree in community development from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1987, and the doctor of ministry in Transformational Urban Leadership at Bakke Graduate University, in Seattle, Washington in 2007.
Heidi and Jeff live on Denver’s east side, where they raised their 3 kids (Allie, Levi, and Tahlia). And he’s still playing cowboy music as often as he gets a chance.
About Mile High Ministries
Mile High Ministries was formed in 1988 as a collaborative effort between a group of churches working across denominational and cultural lines.
We began our journey as a small group of mostly suburban folks with a heart for the poor. Over the years we’ve become urban people and an urban movement, deeply connected to our neighborhoods in the heart of the city. While our focus is Denver, we’re helping communities across the metro area see and connect with the growing numbers of poor and marginalized people within their own neighborhoods, while building connections between leaders throughout our urbanizing world.