Church Planter / Evangelist - Wetzlar, Germany
Nathanael is a church planter who serves in Wetzlar, where he pastors Evangelical-Reformed Baptist Church. He is married to Dominique Zeschky and they have two daughters. Nathanael studied Theology in the Baptist Seminary near Berlin and graduated with a MA.
Testimony of Conversion
I was born in January 1984, the second of three children in a faithful and loving Christian family. My father was a carpenter and actively participated in the local church, when he received the calling to become a pastor. After his studies he became a pastor in a Baptist church.
My parents were very eager to share with me and my siblings the gospel and we enjoyed their creative ways of telling us from the heroes of faith in the bible and about Jesus, who is a savior and friend. Since my parents had to move quite often in my childhood, I became very introverted and shy, but on the other hand very egotistic as well, under which especially my siblings had to suffer. At five years of age, I recognized for the first time, that Jesus was more than a past hero in a story, but that he lives and that I was in need of him as my savior. My parents testified later, that my attitude and character changed in these days. I treated my sister and my brother differently and I was filled with the honest desire to hear Jesus speaking to me. Now I listened to the stories of David, Gideon and Paul not only because of the excitement, but I longed to be used by God like he used them to glorify his name. In my second year at primary school we had to move again, because my dad received a call from another church to serve there as a pastor. I felt very uncomfortable with leaving my friends. In the new city I realized how much my attitude differed from the rest of my classmates. They enjoyed to mock and tease others and to gossip about them. Since I tried to be kind and fair to the less popular classmates, I was very isolated and lonely. Even in our local church, there were no boys my age I could have fellowship with. Suffering under these circumstances I prayed for a friend who understands me, like Jonathan was for David. But years passed by and nothing really changed.
While many of my classmates enjoyed spending their time with friends at parties, I got very frustrated with God not answering my prayer for a friend in my life. At the age of 14, I was sick of being the outsider, I began to let go of my moral standards and participate in everything my classmates did. Within a very short time my position in school completely changed. Suddenly I belonged to the cool and popular boys in my grade. The weekends were filled with parties, alcohol and marijuana until I graduated from high school. During these years, where I was so “successful” outwardly, I felt an increasing emptiness inside. Somehow I believed that God exists and that my life was sinful, but I tried to ignore my conscience. With time I realized the false promises and painful consequences of such a life. Several times I knew God was calling me, but I wasn’t willing to obey. My parents and sister tried to confront me with use of the bible about my condition, and I knew the word of God was commanding me to repent and turn away from my sin – but instead of returning to Christ I tried to escape like Jonah.
For my social service I had the opportunity to work in Denia, Spain, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. I worked as a volunteer at a Christian school, kindergarten and vacation camp. By God´s merciful providence he had placed a very godly man at the head of the volunteers at that camp. He shared the gospel every morning before breakfast. Through his expository preaching it pleased God to break my stubborn heart, so that I started to read the Bible by myself in my room. One day I asked God to change my filthy and empty life through his strength – for I knew that my own strength was not able to rid me of my bad habits and my sinful lifestyle. In Spain, God opened my eyes through the treasures of his word. I found great joy in praying and worshipping him. My heart felt light and from one day to the other God helped me quit smoking cigarettes, marijuana and all of my other sinful addictions. Many people in the camp asked me what had happened, because they saw a joy I did not have before. Actually I cannot figure out whether my profession as a 5-year-old was real or just a moral change in my own strength – but I know that because of my sin and desire I had not been willing to treasure Christ above my circumstances and my plans. In Spain I could see how much evil and sinful longing still lived in my flesh. I finally recognized my miserable standing before God and that there was no strength in myself to change. But in this brokenness, Christ revealed himself as mighty to save, from the bondages of sin, from the deceitfulness of this passing world and from trust in my own will and strength. I praise him for not passing by but saying: “Live!”. He is the true Author and Prince of Life, to whom be the glory forever.
Call to ministry
The leader of the volunteers in Spain encouraged me to study the Bible and share it with the others, which I first obeyed very timidly. But with time I gained more and more joy in preparing and sharing the wonderful world of Scripture. While I was sharing some observations on 1 Timothy with a friend, I read 1 Tim 4:12-13 saying: Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. That passage hit me deep inside and in that very moment I knew I had to give my whole lifetime to the ministry of the gospel for the glory of Christ.
I do have to admit that in the following years I was very humiliated by the hurtful observation that there was still so much sin in my life. The Lord had to break my pride several times. Somehow I expected to walk from victory to victory, but with tears over my sins I came over and over again to the steadfast mercies of Christ. Painfully I realized my absolute dependence on Christ’s righteousness, his forgiveness and his sanctification in my life and wondered over the depths of his grace.
In 2007 I began studying theology at the Baptist seminary in Germany, where I expected biblical feeding, but was shocked by a reality beyond what I could have ever imagined. In the very first lessons I was confronted with bible-critics who argued against the reliability of Scripture and propagated doubt in the word of God. But in God´s merciful providence, it was under these conditions that he answered my teenage prayer for a friend. In my class I met two students who were likewise grieving over the teachings in seminary and we started to pray daily together. There I realized what Solomon meant in writing: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Prov 17:17). Together we studied the Bible next to the regular seminary lessons and it pleased God to open the eyes of our hearts: to a God who is absolutely sovereign and rules over everything, to His Son who is gloriously triumphant in redeeming and reconciling his people through his sacrifice on the cross, to His Holy Spirit who glorifies Christ’s person and work through the God-breathed, completely reliable scripture; and to his transforming, sanctifying work in the believers.
In the embattled time at the seminary, God confirmed his call over my life by protecting me and holding me to the truth of His word. I focused more on the fundamental teaching of the salvation of sinners by the sovereign mercy of God. Through the miserable state of the theological direction in Germany I felt a painful desire to preach sound doctrine as the only gospel, through which God pleases to save sinners and demonstrate his merciful glory. I realized the absolute need of faithful, expository preaching in a country that has almost forgotten all that came to light during the Reformation. The very words of 1 Timothy, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching, became very relevant and urgent to me in the current situation.
Because of this situation, my co-worker Peter Schild and I see the exigent necessity to plant biblical churches in Germany, since liberal theology has intoxicated so many churches throughout the whole country. We pray for a new Reformation in the old land of Reformation. And we believe that there is no other way than preaching the sound and true word of God and planting faithful churches, that the glory of the Lamb shall be known.