Stories & Commentaries

Bridging the Gap: The Impact of Young Leadership in the Church

Tim Kosaka

Tim Kosaka

Tim Kosaka, director of marketing and public relations at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU), never saw himself living and working in Texas. His prayer, though, was that God would lead him to a place where his faith would be strengthened, with a church community in which he could serve.

During his senior year of college, he learned about an open position at SWAU as the creative manager, and applied. To his great surprise, all the doors opened, and it became clear that this was God’s plan.  “It was definitely a God thing,” Kosaka shares. “SWAU gave me an excellent church environment and placed me in an industry I cared about.”  His transition from the Pacific Northwest to Texas — a place where he knew virtually no one — deepened his faith and presented him with a huge learning opportunity.  

Just a few months after arriving at SWAU, the marketing director position became available and Kosaka was offered the role. He accepted with enthusiasm, excited to use his passion for marketing and ministry to their maximum potential.  

Kosaka has now been serving at the university for three years. He currently oversees the outward-facing brand of SWAU. That includes articles, videos, the website, social media and more. He not only works internally with various departments, but also connects with the local community through multiple chambers of commerce, churches and community stakeholders. “There is no ‘typical day’ for me, and I appreciate the regular experience of learning something new,” Kosaka says. “I never know what to expect when I walk into my office, and I love it.”

Kosaka feels that being at the beginning of his career gives him the benefit of relating to the team of college students working in his department. He is happy to be able to provide them with opportunities which will better prepare them for the workplace.   “God has allowed me to have influence and a voice for students, and I am able to impact campus culture in a positive way,” Kosaka explains.

This approach works well in partnership with SWAU’s Pathways to Success, a new initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a Title V grant. Pathways to Success connects college students with businesses looking for interns to help them gain practical skills, making them more prepared for life after college.

“I am a huge advocate for cross-generational collaboration,” Kosaka says. “It helps grow our diversity of thought and gives us a way to relate to people with different perspectives than our own. All of these things are crucial for the continued growth and vitality of the church.”

Sharing SWAU’s mission with others fits neatly into Kosaka’s enthusiasm for working with both young adults and the Seventh-day Adventist Church and falls right in line with another passion of his.

Fresh out of college, Kosaka had a vision to keep him and his peers tethered to the church as they explored new ventures. To this end, he founded Adventist Young Professionals (AYP), a volunteer-run, now global, organization focused on connecting and engaging young Adventists through spiritual and professional experiences. 

“Young adulthood is the time when so many of us stray from our faith,” Kosaka says. “We suddenly have a lot of freedom and are making a lot of important decisions with lifelong impact. I’ve been blessed with strong church and career opportunities, so I feel called to help others be strong in their faith and make decisions they will be proud of in the future.”

“Young people are no longer the leaders of the church of tomorrow,” Kosaka states. “We’re leaders today with ideas God has implanted in our hearts to grow the Kingdom and do great things for Him.” 

— Becky St. Clair writes from Angwin Calif.