Germany ‘committed to spiritual walk’
Nate Germany has a heart for others and a desire to share his faith.
It’s the right combination for a man who has been installed as the new senior pastor at Eighteenth Street Community Church.
Germany, originally from Pittsburgh, previously served as youth pastor at the church for five years and assistant pastor for several years. When he came to Altoona about 12 years ago, he didn’t have plans to make his home here. Then he met his wife, Tracy.
“She’s a big reason why I stayed in Altoona,” he said. “She allowed me to go to school full time, and I didn’t work for (those) three years. I was able to go straight through.”
The school was Altoona Bible Institute.
“As soon as I graduated, I went straight into ministry,” said Germany, who also holds a degree in psychology from Cheyney University in Philadelphia. His education has enabled him to be a bivocational pastor who spends his weekdays serving as a substance abuse counselor at Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center in Williamsburg.
Originally from Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Germany said that although he had previously accepted Christ, drugs, gangs and violence in what he called a “tough neighborhood” became influential in his life.
“I got shot two times in Pittsburgh,” he said.
Germany originally received treatment for substance abuse in 2006 at Cove Forge, and from that program, he requested to be sent to a Christian facility to complete his recovery journey.
He was assigned to the Salvation Army Drug Rehab Center where Germany said he sensed the call of God on his life.
“I told the captain that I was going into the ministry,” he said, “but I did not know how it was going to happen.”
Living in Altoona, Germany started attending Eighteenth Street Community Church, which was led by Pastor Paul Johnson. Johnson offered guidance, encouragement and ministry opportunities for Germany and introduced him to George Bailey, a retired pastor who counsels new ministers and other clergy.
“His heart is in the right place,” Bailey said of Germany. “He is very faithful in his ministry.”
Bailey said Germany followed the steps ministers should take by earning an education in the Bible and learning the responsibilities of a pastor by serving under Johnson.
“He is committed to his spiritual walk,” Bailey said. “I am proud of him.”
In addition to his service to the church, Germany also has been involved in community outreaches.
He spent a year in prison ministry and is the former president of Crossroads, a club which provides services for individuals who are recovering from an addiction and base their recovery on the use of a 12-step program.
His current outreach activities include assisting with Breaking the Chains and The Least of These.
Breaking the Chains is a ministry at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Altoona that helps people recovering from all kinds of addictions and covers a broad range of needs, including overcoming emotional problems or difficult circumstances.
The Least of These is a ministry involving four pastors who hold early afternoon Sunday services at senior living facilities in the area.
Germany preaches at the Green Avenue Tower and Eleventh Street Towers for two weeks at a time with a two-week break in between when one of the other pastors conducts the services.
Pastor Dave Shaffer of Richland Bible Church, Dysart, oversees The Least of These. He said he met Germany about 10 years ago through the Conemaugh Valley Baptist Association.
“He’s humble,” Shaffer said of Germany. “He’s a pastor among the congregation, not above the congregation.”
Shaffer added that Germany has a good sense of humor and is able to break down barriers. He said preaching at the Towers was another step in preparing Eighteenth Street Community Church’s new leader for his current role.
Germany said he is “just getting his feet wet” and is “truly grateful” for the opportunity.
He also expressed gratitude to Tracy.
“I owe her so much,” he said. “She allowed me to chase my dreams. “
The family is completed by four adult children and four grandchildren that Tracy and Nate have between them.