Meet Nate Shellhaas
Hey there! It’s me, Nate Shellhaas. Perhaps many of you have seen my face around Bethel while you’ve been in the Kids Ministry, Student Ministry, or Worship Ministry, but I recognize that many of you only know me by my face or perhaps my guitar. Thank you for navigating here and allowing me a moment to fully introduce myself and how God has brought me to Bethel as the new Kids Ministry Coordinator for the Crown Point Campus.
I am incredibly blessed to have grown up in a generationally Christian family. I say “generationally Christian” not because anyone assumed themselves saved simply for being a Shellhaas, but instead because the loving, Bible-reading, Jesus-following culture of my family has served as an incredible witness to Shellhaas kids for generations. This witness has inspired the kids to desire Jesus, accept him as their Lord and Savior, and devote their lives to following him. When you step into a Shellhaas home, it won’t be long before you find out who, as my family says, “sits on the throne of our hearts.” Just like every other family in the world, we are deeply flawed human beings. But we are also deeply in love with our Lord, Jesus Christ. What an incredible blessing that I will never take for granted. Also, what a wonderful example of how the church should live in view of those who are not yet saved. Amen? Thank you, Lord, for my family!
I personally chose to follow Jesus at the young age of four. I understood that I was a sinner in need of a savior and that Jesus died on the cross to take the death penalty of my sin. I understood that following Jesus meant living a life devoted to him, not myself. In my own young words, “It means that I give Jesus the TV remote of my life and he gets to pick the channels.” I still laugh at my childhood explanation of following Jesus, but I am thankful that I can look back and know that I understood! One of my dad’s favorite stories from my childhood was when he, my sister, and I were praying before bed one night and he heard me say “Jesus, I will be whatever you want me to be. A human or any kind of animal.” He and my sister then opened their eyes, stared at each other and wordlessly laughed to each other, “Wait, what? Did he just say that?” My dad still says today, “Now THAT was a commitment!”
I know that sharing these funny childhood quotes may spark some loving teasing from my new Bethel staff family. Even so, I want to emphasize to you that I know from experience that even at a young age, kids can and do knowingly come to Jesus, lay down their lives, follow him, and inherit the gift of eternal salvation! Praise God for this! I want you to know how my rooted commitment to family began and that my heart is not only for the children at Bethel, but the whole family. God has called me to this. I am beside myself that I get to work full-time for these very purposes.
As I’ve grown, so has my faith and devotion to Jesus. As the years have gone by, there have been many benchmarks in my life where I have learned more deeply what it means to obey the King and more maturely devote my life to him. As God continues to reveal more to me about himself, myself, and what it means to wholeheartedly follow the Lord, it has been the Holy Spirit’s work in my life that has led me to respond by saying “Further up! And further in!” (C. S. Lewis, “The Last Battle”). Or, to borrow the words of Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8 ESV).
As God’s will for my life has unfolded, I received my bachelor’s in music education at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana where I met my incredible wife, Leigha. She and I got married in 2014 and moved to her hometown, Crown Point, where I accepted the position of Elementary Music Teacher at Solon Robinson Elementary School. I have been teaching general music to children kindergarten through 5th grade for seven years at Solon, eight years throughout my teaching career. There has been much to love at Solon, but God has been placing vocational ministry on my heart with increasing clarity and weight for the last six years. As I have attended Bethel for the last eight years, I have become heavily involved in the Worship Ministry by serving as a musician, music director, and intern while also serving as a Bethel small group leader, Verge crew leader, and a Financial Peace University coordinator. Each opportunity I have received to point others to Christ, shepherd the Lord’s flock, grow discipling relationships, and impact the community around me for the sake of the gospel, has grown within me a deep love for ministry as well as a hunger for more.
When Bethel contacted me and asked me to consider the job of Kids Ministry Coordinator for the Crown Point Campus, it quickly became evident to me that God has been specifically preparing me for this role for over a decade. It is incredible for me to look back over the years when I have been praying “Lord, what do you have for me to do?” I can now clearly see that the steps the Lord has caused me to take have led me here to this moment. I can’t wait to see what the Lord does in this ministry as I serve him and his children faithfully as the Kids Ministry Coordinator for Bethel Crown Point.
With clear direction from the Lord, wise counsel from spiritual mentors and church staff, and with my wife’s joyful support, I am absolutely thrilled to join the Bethel Church staff! This change in career from eight years of public school teaching to a new future of vocational ministry excites me beyond description. I am excited to hit the ground running in the Bethel Kids Ministry as the ministry staff, volunteers, and I faithfully serve our children and families by providing quality Bible teaching, a welcoming environment, loving discipleship, and caring support. With incredible thankfulness and appreciation for this ministry’s past, and with wonderful dreams and hopes for the future, I sit humbly before the Lord and say “Here I am! Send me!”