Founder & President
Tim Kosaka is the founder and president of Adventist Young Professionals. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he resides in Maryland.
As the global leader of Adventist Young Professionals, Tim is thankful for the opportunity he has to connect with talented young adults from across North America and around the world. He is passionate about merging his interest in marketing with his passion for ministry and supporting a team to creatively innovate the global ministry.
Tim holds a degree in Marketing from Walla Walla University. During his time there, Tim served as the student association’s social vice president and was involved in other ministry and leadership roles. He has also previously worked at Southwestern Adventist University, Upper Columbia Academy, and the Washington Conference of Seventh-day Adventist’s Sunset Lake Camp
Tim is excited to use his God-given talents to advance the ministry of Christ and looks forward to connecting with you!
Tim’s monthly devotionals sent via AYP’s monthly newsletter and are available in video format here.
The story of David has always inspired me. David was an ordinary person with an extraordinary calling. As a child, he tended his father’s sheep, played the harp and grew a relationship with God. He was anointed by Samuel as the future king of Israel at a time when anyone would have laughed at such a thought. Years later as king, he honored God but also fell to temptation.
The experience of David provides an example to us that if we put our lives in God’s hand, he will use us for greater things than we may ever imagine – regardless of our experience, our age, or our past mistakes. It also shows us that no matter how strong our relationship is with Him, the enemy will always try to distract and discourage. As Christians, we are called to stand strong and stay true to Christ – trusting Him to open and close the right doors, surrounding ourselves with people and resources that will grow us in our journey, investing in the next generation of believers, and realizing that the learning experience never really ends!
As a child, I often asked God what His purpose for me was? As someone who grew up in the church, I saw lives transformed all around me, I witnessed people experiencing Christ for the first time in their lives. I heard stories from those who went off to a remote land to serve in the mission field.
I was inspired by the transformation of new believers, the joy of missionaries, and the stories of Bible characters, however, as I listened to these exciting stories, I also longed to understand how God planned to use me for His service. Sometimes, I just wanted a spark of excitement in my spiritual journey. I wanted a testimony worth sharing! I longed to make a difference for the Kingdom.
Reflecting on my experiences nowadays, I am inspired by how God utilized each experience and encounter during my childhood, college years, and the start of my career to prepare me for his calling in my life and I look forward to that day when we are in Heaven and can examine our full story from a different perspective and understand how each opened and closed door prepared us to follow His call and purpose for us.
During highschool, I attended a youth rally hosted by my local conference. The theme of the weekend was sticky faith. I remember my conference youth director talking about the staggering statistics of young people leaving the church during and after college. That experience shaped my mission as I embarked on college and life beyond! I did not want to become a part of that statistic!
From that sticky faith conference, I made it a priority to enroll at an Adventist university – Walla Walla University. Surrounding myself with positive connections and opportunities was a priority for me and in the next few years, my time there grew me personally, spiritually, and professionally!
I had the opportunity to take a year off to serve as a taskforce volunteer, working at an Adventist academy in their communication and marketing team. I got to get involved as a leader, growing skills for future ministry and career opportunities, and I met great friends and mentors whom I learned from and had memorable experiences with! My college years shaped who I would be in the next chapter of life. Little did I know that each door that God opened and closed was preparing me for the callings He would place upon me in the near future!
Through it all I have often wondered what was in the minds of influential people before they realized their purpose. For example, have you ever thought about what was going through the minds of various Bible characters as they awaited God to show them how a situation would turnout? I often wonder what likely was going through David’s mind when he was anointed, Noah as he was building an ark and being ridiculed by those around him, Moses when he saw the burning bush. I love the faith that these individuals exhibited and trust they had in God! It makes me wonder how different our world could be, if each of us realized that God has a calling for us. If we prayed for God to open and close the right doors and wholeheartedly were willing to say yes to his callings in our lives no matter what, the impact we could have would change countless more lives than we could ever imagine!
Back to Walla Walla University, as I prepared to graduate from college, it was time to start searching for a job. As someone who likes to have a plan for things – big or small, I wanted to make sure I was prepared for the next step of my journey.
Remembering the sticky faith conversation from highschool, I regularly reflected on my college experience and was thankful that God had set me on a path that had kept me grounded. During the past couple years, I had unfortunately seen friends who had grown up in the church with me make choices that had led them to stray from their faith. They had become a part of the “statistic of young people leaving the church. Thus, when it came to my future after college, I earnestly prayed two things. First, I asked God to lead me to a job at a company or organization where my faith would be strengthened rather than tested and second, I asked Him to lead me to a church community where I would be equipped and empowered for ministry as a young adult.
I recognize that these were big prayers! Most workplaces don’t foster an environment where your faith is strengthened, and many churches struggle to empower and equip young people! Little did I know, however, how God would answer my prayers in big ways!
As walked across graduation stage, I was blessed to have landed a temporary leadership position at summer camp, however, I still had no idea where I would go after summer ended! I had continued praying my prayers regarding the future and had applied to dozens of places from across the country! However, each door seemed to be shutting in my face – God was making me learn patience and growing my trust in Him! You see, by mid-summer, I would actually receive a call from a mentor and former supervisor of mine telling me about an opening in Texas!
Long story short, my supervisor from my taskforce volunteer position during college had moved to Texas and had heard about a marketing position at Southwestern Adventist University! She had recommended me to the hiring manager and before I knew it, I was being offered a position as the university’s creative manager.
Now while that all sounds great, Texas was definitely not in my plan, it was halfway across the country, very different in terms of culture, and definitely not a place where I knew a lot of people. I know that I would never have applied had it not been for the recommendation! I also doubt that SWAU would have ever reached out had it not been for the connection via my former supervisor! God eased my concerns, closed other doors that were distracting me, and planted a seed for me to say yes to His calling. Little did I know a few years earlier when I took the leap of faith in college to take a year off to serve as a taskforce volunteer, that God would use that experience to open future doors! And little did I know when I accepted a call to serve at SWAU that it was a perfect answer to my prayers and would prepare me for God’s next calling in my life!
You remember my two prayers: a work environment that enhanced my faith and a church community that enabled me to innovate for Christ! SWAU provided the perfect workplace to share my passion for Christ and a half hour north, was an Adventist young adult ministry called Younger Generation Church that was focused on empowering and equipping young adults for their passion in Christ! God answered my prayers in a way that grew my faith through the process!
Ponder over how much faith it must have taken for David to believe that he was the anointed one? How much faith it took to fight Goliath? How much faith it took to not kill King Saul in that dark cave? If we have faith like a grain of mustard seed we can move mountains. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Nothing is impossible for God and nothing is impossible for us when God is our guide and our faith is truly in Him!
I arrived in Texas on a hot summer day! I’ll admit, I had questions and fears. While I had prayed and while I had been reminding myself that God had everything in control, it was scary to be over a thousand miles from everything and everyone I knew! But God had me in His hands! In the coming weeks, I built a new community of friends and colleagues, I got involved in church ministry and I expanded my professional skills which eventually opened yet another door for me to be promoted to the university’s marketing director just months out of college!
The unknown kept my trust foundationed in God, the answer to prayers built my faith in Him, the growing faith enabled Him to entrust me with new responsibilities. Friends, when we dream big, pray big, and trust big, Jesus uses us for big things!
Through my emergence to adulthood, I have and am continuing to learn how important it is to act on our faith. You see, we can pray big prayers, but if like in the parable of Matthew 25, we bury the treasure rather than using it and multiplying it for greater purposes, our ability to be used by God to our greatest potential is limited. People often ask me for practical ways to multiply the treasures of our God given talents and I tell them to remember that we cannot do it alone!
Life is a learning journey and believe it or not, there is someone (older or younger) who has been through pretty much every trial you are going through; so don’t try to navigate things alone! Take a leap of faith and find someone you can learn from, find a mentor. Realize that age doesn’t always matter – we can learn from anyone!
Young people are teaching the older generations how to utilize technology in new ways, they are showing our church leaders a new style of collaboration and innovation as they shape the culture of tomorrow, they are making social impact in our world’s culture. Just think of how as a boy, Jesus taught so many who were seasoned beyond his age! We can make a difference as well.
On the other hand, those who are older than us have wisdom and experience, they teach us how to navigate situations that we simply won’t understand at our stage of life’s journey, they help us avoid repeating mistakes that they have made. I like to think of life as an upward bound journey. Those who have been around longer see a bird’s eye view on life and the perspective they exhibit, paired with the wisdom that a relationship with Jesus provides, help us to multiply and use our God given talents to its greatest potential. Mentorship in the personal, spiritual, and professional circles are key to growing toward God’s next calling in our life!
I am thankful for the individuals who have made the effort to be mentors to me. Each prepared me for my callings in unique ways and I can only imagine how God is using my current mentors to prepare me for His next calling as well as how He is using me to prepare others for their calling!
Saying Yes to God
About a year after I moved to Texas, God inspired me with His latest calling in my life. He planted a seed in my mind to launch an Instagram blog. Today, we know this idea as an organization called Adventist Young Professionals, but at its inception, it was nothing more than a social media handle. As you can likely tell from my story, I am a planner, however, this idea was never part of my plan – it was truly a seed from God that required someone to say yes.
As God planted this seed, He reminded me of that Sticky Faith retreat I had attended in college. Half a decade had passed since that weekend and unfortunately, during this time, I had watched many of my friends stray from their faith. Some had shifted their focus in college, others had landed a job in a big city where they built friendships outside of the church and slowly drifted, others had returned to their childhood church and were now the only young adult in their congregation. Many felt unheard, underutilized, or hurt by the Church for one reason or another. Sadly, these factors had led them to give up on their faith journey. They had become part of a statistic that makes Heaven sad.
God had been using each step of my journey thus far not only to help me stay sticky in my faith, but to also help others rediscover their faith experience! By trusting God and allowing Him to work through me, I watched as in the coming months, the AYP ministry grew. Ideas flew in, and people came together. We saw COVID 19 shut down churches just a few months after our launch and watched as AYP filled a sudden and unexpected need.
An idea the size of a mustard seed has grown to a global community from 100 countries. I don’t have time today to tell you the whole AYP story, but I will share that there were many trials along the way, challenges that tested our faith, situations that stretched true surrender to God. It wasn’t easy and there have been many instances when I have asked God “why me?” But through the highs and lows, I have been reminded of our purpose as servants and friends of Christ!
Our first convention, Reconnect, was centered around the idea of integrating work and life together in Christ. These seven words define my testimony and I hope it relates to yours as well. We are shaped by each element of our life – our work and our community. We impact others – positively and negatively through who we are. So I want to leave you with five tips that have blessed me and that I hope will allow you to shine for Christ in your workplace, community and beyond.
Pray in Faith Without Ceasing
We can say that we trust God or we can actually trust God! As people, our intentions and our reality don’t always line up but it is such a blessing when we actually can lay down every burden and trust Christ, realizing that no matter what happens, He has a plan. Only when we surrender all to Him can He use us to our fullest potential.
The personal experience with Christ is what allows us to influence others for Him. The heart of service and conviction in all that we do is key to intentionally hearing His voice and being able to discern what Christ is trying to tell us. Every influential experience comes from God. You don’t need an official platform to make a difference or to influence others. I started AYP as a grassroots movement without a plan! Everything about us and about what God uses us for starts and ends with our relationship with Him. So pray continually and trust Him from the bottom of your heart!
Let Mission Channel Your Passion
People often come to me asking for tips on how they can make a difference at their job or amongst their community. I start by telling them to trust God. I also share that I recognize that often, we have so many ideas we don’t know what to prioritize. As young people, we want to do everything, reach everyone, solve every need, all right now. We have a hard time realizing what is possible and this often leads to an element of chaos which often results in burnout.
You gotta have passion to thrive and that passion must be grounded in your life’s mission to sustain. I think passion and drive are a beautiful blend because it gives us the energy to pursue our goals. However, in life, it is so important to identify and aim for specific goals.
Trying to do everything ourselves is detrimental to us and makes us less effective to others. A mission in life helps us channel our energy and recognize when we need to say no. Setting boundaries and establishing components of rest and refresh create a balance that keeps us focused on Christ and allows our actions to make a difference.
When aligned around a shared mission, many small actions make a substantial impact. We are all part of Christ’s family and when we align our life’s mission to Christ’s mission, He will use us for His work in ways that we would never imagine.
So when people ask you how they can make a difference at their job or amongst their community, tell them to dream big, but to channel these dreams based on God’s guidance in their life’s mission so all they do is not only impactful but also manageable and a blessing to both themselves and to those around.
Let Hardships and Hurdles Inspire You
Being told no is a natural element of life. If you’ve never been told no, you are probably missing out on a full life experience! It is natural for us to be discouraged and hurt when our ideas are shot down or our plan is disrupted. But it is so important to let these inconveniences teach us something new and inspire us for the next leg of the journey.
When we started AYP, we were thrown various barriers, we had to compromise and collaborate in ways that weren’t in our plan, we experienced hurtful comments that discouraged our team. But by God’s grace, we used these negative elements to inspire and grow us.
Sometimes, hardships and hurdles come from those whom we least expect it from. Often it results from a simple misunderstanding. Nearly all the time, there is something that we can learn from these less-than-optimal experiences. So when someone at work gives you a miserable day or when your community seems to be falling apart, remember Christ’s calling to be joyful during hardships and let life’s hurdles inspire you. As long as your heart is with Christ, you can get through it stronger than when you started! Growth is such an important element of life and the integration of different ideas help us to grow.
Integrate a Variety of Perspectives
I spoke earlier about how mentors have shaped my personal, spiritual and professional journey. In life, it is so important to integrate differing ideas. We often hear what people are saying but don’t truly listen and internalize their ideas or advice. This defeats the purpose of even hearing them in the first place!
As AYP grew, there were many perspectives. In life, we have colleagues, friends, mentors and supervisors trying to tell us how to do things – how to live our life. Had I just gone with my way, I probably would never have moved to Texas, many valuable perspectives would have been lost. Who knows where I would be in my career. Listening to those around me with an open ear and mind has been a game changer!
AYP has grown to a global movement with thousands of people because it integrates different perspectives focused around a shared mission. Team work truly makes the dream work and God inspires and shapes us through the perspectives of those around us. So please don’t be afraid to include other ideas in your plans because it will grow us together and in the process it will make those you listen to feel empowered to follow their calling! That leads me to my final point.
Empower Others for Their Calling and Learn from Your Own Mistakes
I love the relationship that Paul and Timothy had in the Bible. I love their shared purpose. Maybe I am biased since I share a name with Timothy, but their friendship reminds me how important it is to have a mentor, mentor others, and truly empower those around us to discover and act upon their calling. As young people, the key to remember is that titles don’t make leaders! Relationships built on trust does.
I believe that there is so much value in listening before speaking. Coming into a conversation with our minds made up blinds us from hearing a perspective that God might be trying to plant through our peers and makes others less likely to share their perspective. This applies to work, church, and our personal encounters.
At my local church, we talk about the model of keychain leadership. The idea is that each level of leadership is there to connect, engage and equip the leaders under their wings. This ideology allows Christian leadership to thrive and ideas to multiply.
From the mentee perspective, there is so much value in realizing that we do not know it all. Learning from those around us no matter how much we think we know, keeps us humble and allows us to become more effective. Sure, we can make a big impact now through a cool business or podcast, but building into the next generation of innovators and servants of Christ allows our lives to impact many more than we could do by ourselves!
As we integrate different perspectives, learn from the hurdles, and empower others, it’s critical that we self-reflect and acknowledge when we have room for growth or when we are just dead wrong. This goes against human nature, however this acceptance allows us to grow to be better versions of ourselves and makes us stronger leaders for Christ.
Remembering That God’s In Control
I hope these 5 points show that as we live each day, it’s such a blessing to remember that God’s way is always the perfect way. We don’t have to worry about anything if we simply realize that everything will work out if we trust in Him. Psalm 37: 3-7 inspires me when I struggle to trust Him, when I stress about a work project, when ministry seems discouraging, or when my community seems unsupportive; so let me share it with you as we wrap up today.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
It is my prayer that you are continually inspired to trust God more as you integrate your work and life together in Christ. I know that this past year has been filled with challenges, many of us are still in a place of uncertainty. So I want to challenge you to reflect in prayer on your current experience, identify your life’s mission so you can focus your passion where it really counts, be inspired no matter what hardships or hurdles get in the way and through it all, bring others alongside you as colleagues and as friends, as mentors or as mentees. Each of us has a unique journey, we all have made mistakes which we can learn from, and together through Christ, each of us can empower those around us for God’s calling in their life at work, in their community and beyond!
As I reflect on the past three years of ministry, and embark on the season ahead, I am excited for what God has planned for the next chapter of AYP. Our team has been on a prayerful and collaborative journey of planning for the future. Through this process, we have challenged ourselves, as a leadership body, to facilitate a culture of Christ-centered innovation, to grow teams filled with ambition, and to support collaboration between the Adventist Church and its young professionals.
Through a survey sent to our members – including many of you, we learned that AYPers are actively involved in their local churches and are looking for engaging spaces to expand their community, grow their faith, and serve Christ in new ways. We also learned that the world has changed tremendously through COVID, and as such, AYP has an opportunity to adapt the methods by which we serve you. This is why we have shifted our focus from simply hosting events to instead building a powerful strategy for coalescing into a team through empowering faith-centered chapters & groups, developing engaging resources, and collaborating with our churches and conferences.
AYP’s city-based chapters and topic-based groups are building focused Christ-centered communities by facilitating spiritual gatherings, service activities, and social meetups. These initiatives unite young people with a shared interest for Christ, engaging, and inspiring us to glorify God.
Our chapters are also serving as touchpoints to local young adult focused churches, and are helping AYPers find relevant ministry gatherings happening in their area! This month alone, we have seen chapters launch in Orlando, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Minneapolis!
In the Washington DC area where I recently moved, dozens of AYPers gather each month for a potluck & game night that allows them to meet Adventist young adults from the areas’ many churches. Between these gatherings, this community engages with local churches through young adult focused events that are shared through the chapter’s WhatsApp chat, AYP’s Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as on our community calendar.
This is just one example! I’ve heard from many of you that AYP’s gatherings and resources have and continue to provide the needed spaces for you to have authentic conversations, deepen your faith in the process, and get connected to existing opportunities that you previously were not aware of!
We believe that a Christ-centered community is key to our ability to be Jesus’ hands and feet in our circles of influence and we trust that the annual AYP leadership conference strengthens, unites, and enables us to bring our ideas to life and actively lead for Christ.
To equip our global community, AYP is preparing to launch a collection of resources that we hope will help young professionals actively grow faith and lead for Christ. We are excited to involve you and want the content and format of these resources to support your needs; so please take our Brave Hearts survey and share your ideas and input with our team.
Over this past year, we have talked a lot about the topic of Brave Hearts and in the season ahead, I hope you will follow Christ’s calling to make a difference for Jesus in your church and community. I hope that you will thrive toward the next level of a life for Him!
For some of us, thriving for Jesus will occur through launching our own AYP chapter or group, for others, it will occur through helping to develop resources that equip our fellow AYPers, and for many more, Jesus will use us beyond the reaches of this AYP community – locally, at our church, each day amongst our friends and coworkers, and when we least expect it, through the random divine appointments that Christ places in our lives.
I am convinced that each of us has an important part to play in hastening the second coming of Jesus and I believe that AYP has a unique opportunity and responsibility to serve as a catalyst that helps each and every one of us to prepare ourselves, our communities, and this world for Christ’s soon return!
In Proverbs 11:25, we are reminded that “the generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” Adventist young professionals, as we generously water this world with the love of Jesus, may our hearts always be brave and may we THRIVE toward the next level of growing in faith, living in integrity, and serving Jesus Christ in love. Amen!