A conversation with Keith Nath
Youth Pastor at Coastal Church in Vancouver, BC
When you look back on your life, can you remember some of the adults and leaders who made a lasting impact on you? Maybe you had some favourite teachers, an amazing coach, or a youth worker that you connected with. What drew you to them? Was it their kindness? Their encouraging words? Or simply the fact that they believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself?
I am thankful to have had some great leaders and teachers in my life, especially my Pastors at Coastal Church. I truly believe that these people have helped me grow in my faith and leadership, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. There will always be countless students who are waiting to be empowered, encouraged, and guided in the right direction.
So, as leaders how can we practically help to empower our youth?
1) Speak Life
At Coastal Church we teach our students as young as elementary to ‘speak life’ to one another. What does this mean? This means we speak the truth of God’s word wherever we go, to whoever we meet. We show them through scripture who God says they are, and we allow that, not society to shape their identity. Words are powerful. They can destroy, but they can also encourage!
There is so much noise in the world of a young person today. Students often feel more comfortable with digital forms of communication than face-to-face interaction. We need to be able to create a listening space for them. We have found that our youth need trusted leaders and mentors to talk to. They need encouraging people who can actively listen and pray with them about what they are going through.
3) Show Them Jesus
Having worked with youth and kids for the last 14 years I have realized that I don’t have all the answers to their struggles and problems, but I can always show them Jesus. I can show them that He cares for them, and that when they feel like no one else understands what they’re going through, that Jesus truly does. As leaders we need to show them that the only way to a life of purpose and meaning is through relationship with Jesus.