Twenty-four-year-old youth minister dies of heat stroke


NathanSome knew Nathan Neel as the guy who always had a smile on his face and who gave great hugs. Others said he was the most authentic and loving friend they had ever known or that he was the guy who would always ask how you were and really want to know the true answer. For me, he was a constant encourager and a wonderful example of a godly man.

Nathan, a 24-year-old lifelong Lubbock resident, was just finding his niche in ministry when his life ended on Fri., Aug. 14. Nathan had just accepted a youth ministry position at New Home Baptist Church just south of Lubbock, but wanted to take a daytrip to visit one of his favorite locations, Palo Duro Canyon. He desired to spend some time alone with God before he became busy with his new job. While there, Nathan suffered a heat stroke that ended his life.

In 2004, Nathan’s life radically changed when he became a follower of Christ while at Paradigm, a college worship service at First Baptist Church in Lubbock. Since then, Nathan has passionately sought the Lord, being obedient to seek him first and love others as Christ loved him.

In January 2006, Nathan pursued his heart for ministry as he became the college ministry intern at Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock. Nathan poured his heart into the guys’ ministry, leading small group Bible studies to planning prayer events to discipling freshmen. Nathan always took the time to help people and make them feel loved.

I met Nathan when I transferred to Texas Tech University in fall 2006. At a time in my life when everything was new and I hadn’t made any friends yet, Nathan became a friendly face on campus and at Bacon Heights Baptist, always remembering  my name and encouraging  me to use my time at Tech to serve Christ and share Him with others.

Within the last year, Nathan again was a constant encourager to me as I served as a Go Now missionary in South Asia for 6 months. Every few weeks, I received an encouraging Facebook message reminding me that he was praying for me. That’s how Nathan was toward anyone he met. He loved and cared for each unconditionally and selflessly. He was a true disciple seeking to love people just like his Master.

For more information about Nathan Neel, click here.

A worship service to celebrate Nathan’s life will be held Thurs. Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. at Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock.

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