When the Timing is Right

with Nate Dewberry

When landscape designer and longtime minister Nate Dewberry began to develop relationships and community in the Columbus area, he realized it was time to start looking for jobs there, and one of the positions he considered was with The Redeemed. “I didn’t feel like the timing was right for The Redeemed at that time,” he recalls, so he started working for another faith-based organization. But when that job still “didn’t feel like home” after several months, and he received a message from The Redeemed letting him know they were very interested in moving forward with a role for him, he set up a meeting with Paul.

By then, the timing felt right—and Nate was appointed ministry director at The Redeemed. In this role, he says, his primary focus “is to work closely with Paul in developing, implementing, executing, and managing our mission. For me, I want to help men open up about their challenges, their worries, their failures, and I want them to celebrate them when they overcome it all.”

Nate brings experience and insight from both sides of that equation—he’s served in a variety of ministerial positions over the course of his career, but he’s also gone through periods in his life when he felt lost and in need of help.

“The restoration and redemption I’ve experienced in my life,” he says, “getting remarried and having a lot of things in my life restored that I thought were lost, made me want to join with Paul and do all I can to help men take those next steps to freedom and know what it takes to walk in the restoration only Christ can bring.”

So tell our readers a little about your background and how you found your way to The Redeemed.

I’m originally from Alabama, a really small town just south of the Oxford/Anniston area. I grew up there, went to Auburn for college, and after finishing my degree in horticulture I went to seminary out in Fort Worth, Texas. I got married, moved back to Alabama, and from there I worked several years in ministry serving as a student pastor, associate pastor, administrative pastor, all kinds of different roles. After serving in those churches, I went through a divorce when I was serving at a church in Kentucky, and life drastically changed for me at that point. I stepped away from working in ministry and made my way back home to Alabama. That was more than nine years ago now.

I started working in the landscape industry and for seven years worked as a landscape designer in the Auburn area. I got remarried, and my wife was in the military, she was stationed in Germany at that point. Our first year of marriage, we were geographically separated, and once she finished up her career course it was a matter of where the Army was going to place her next. There was a spot at Fort Benning, and due to both her success and God’s favor, she got that opening and moved here.

You mentioned life drastically changing after your divorce. What was that like, and how did turning to God help you?

Around nine and a half years ago was when my world turned upside down. We had gone through some marital challenges previously, and I honestly thought we had weathered those and were on the other side. But because of pride or lack of awareness, I ended up having sin come into my own life that I had hidden from my wife and that ended up being found out. I think she was already ready to leave, and at that point it was the nail in the coffin, you could say, as far as our marriage.

For me, that was a very desperate time. I’d never viewed divorce as an option for me, but it was a decision someone else made that I couldn’t control. It was extremely challenging, so I had to focus on the relationships around me, get really honest with men in my life, share my struggles and do all I could to make sure I was healthy and whole, knowing at the end of the day my life was all I could control. I wish I could say everything got better at that point, but it was one of the hardest, loneliest seasons of my life, I left the relationships that had been so crucial for me, and I moved back to Alabama, where I began once again to make poor decisions.

But God never let go of me. He continued to pursue me and protect me, and it is sheerly by His grace that He brought an amazing woman into my life. And it really stretched me, because I had to make sure it was God who was doing the transformation and not just me being excited about a new relationship. But that was what God used to transform me and show me I was His beloved son, and my wife saw me for the person I really was, not the person I’d been acting like.

What’s the most important thing you learned from that experience?

I think the biggest thing in that experience for me was knowing that God never gives up on me. His grace is always pursuing me, even when I don’t see it.

What do you see as being some of the biggest problems facing adult men today?

I think there are two primary things. Maybe it’s due to my own journey or conversations I hear, but I think those are pornography and sexual sin, and apathy. Which seem like two things that aren’t related at all, but they’re very related. Men need a purpose; they need something that requires a challenge, that seems like a worthy cause for their life. Often men are looking for their purpose but they’re not sure how to fulfill it.

There’s this availability of sexual content in every form and fashion, from your phone to your computer to your TV to every point you can access, and many men are filling a void and trying to cope with pain in their life—whether it’s from a “father wound,” a failed relationship, or just a lack of purpose—and get caught up in a struggle that they think is going to be a quick and easy, “Oh, I’ll just do this once.” And before they know it, they’re caught up in a life of what I would honestly call slavery, making the wrong, unhealthy choice over and over again. Those are the two things I think are derailing men from their purpose and success in life.

How about some lighter questions so our readers and listeners can get to know you personally. What kinds of activities or hobbies do you pursue in your spare time?

I’m a very organized-structure person, but I have a creative side. I enjoy landscape design, I also enjoy photography. I enjoy learning, reading, and then I get outdoors my wife and I love to travel and take the kids on an experience each year where we’re able to really enjoy nature. Hiking’s a big part of my life. We try to take any extra time we have and really get outside.

What’s your favorite vacation you’ve ever taken?

My favorite one was probably last year—Glacier National Park. We went early in the season, so the Going-to-the-Sun Road was not open, but we were able to go to one part of the park knowing we were the first tourists in that area. No footprints, snow was coming down, just a phenomenal time with family in a place that’s indescribable, the beauty, until you see it. There are few places I’ve been on the earth that just blow my mind like Glacier does.

Which TV show are you currently bingeing?

The most recent thing I’ve enjoyed is a new series on Disney+ called America the Beautiful, and that plays into my love for photography and the outdoors. Michael B. Jordan hosts it. I feel so fortunate to live in America and to be able to enjoy the diversity of it, from the mountains to the coastlines. There’s so much to explore right here in our country.

Restoration

Finally, what does “restoration” mean to you?

For me, restoration means getting back what you’ve lost. At the end of the day, I always believe God gives us way more than we ever give back. That’s a picture of His grace—He does immeasurably more than we could ever ask, He does way more than we ever deserve, and He blows our minds with how good He is to us. He’ll give us something that we thought was forever gone, and He gives back 100 times what it was.

the redeemed log lion inside a crown of throns