Here at Youth Commission our full time staff work hard in developing relationships that aid in the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Tanner Keith - Executive Director
The Lord has given me an unquenchable passion for helping students develop strong relationships with Jesus at an early age so they follow Christ and make disciples. My work as Youth Commission Executive Director has afforded me the opportunity to lead a movement that aligns with my passion.
Although I grew up in strong Christian family, my personal relationship with Christ did not start developing on my own until my freshman year at Wake Forest University. Transferring to the University of Southern California, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. During my time in California, I worked as a reporter for a local television and radio station before the Lord called me to return to my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
As I seek to lead a ministry that reaches millions of young people, it is my desire for everyone to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and experience the joy of God's unconditional love.
Grant Giesler - Director of Ministry Development
I am honored to serve as a global youth pastor in my role as Executive Director of Ministry Development. In this role I seek to lead our ministry staff, volunteers, student leaders and partners to engage Christ’s call for us to impact the world as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission. Serving as a student pastor for 7 years, I have a great passion to mobilize and equip students to live missional lives for the name and glory of Jesus Christ.
The Lord called me to full time ministry in 10th grade and my first ministry experience came as I launched and led a Youth Commission club at J.M. Robinson High School. An undergraduate degree from Liberty University then a Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest served as incredible ministry training and great preparation for my role leading large groups of students, teachers and pastors at Youth Commission. I am blessed to be married to my best friend Cassie and we have a daughter Madelyn Grace, and two son, Nolan Paul and Nash Thomas.
Troy Thornburg - Director of Operations
Having come to Christ late in my high school career I have seen firsthand the vital role that local student ministries, and student pastors play in the spiritual lives of the next generation. Having spent the last 7 years in the student ministry trenches, I have seen students demonstrate incredible leadership and desire to make Jesus known to their peers and in their schools.
I am blessed to be part of Youth Commission and their mission to empower students to be ambassadors on their campuses. My deepest desire is to see student leaders raised up to lead in the local church and in their schools to see Kingdom growth. In my downtime, I love spending time with my wife, Kathy, and two kids, Milo and Eden. I love exploring Charlotte, eating good food, hiking, working in my workshop or garden, and reading a good book.
Autumn Braswell - Director of Marketing
Autumn was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and moved to Charlotte, NC in 2013 to pursue a degree in Communications with a concentration in Mass Media at UNC Charlotte. She is excited to be given the opportunity to combine her passion for marketing with her love for Jesus and desire to make disciples for His Kingdom. Some of the most pivotal years of her life as a believer were during her middle and high school years. God used older women and men in her church and school to teach her about the importance of His Word and what it looks like to follow Him daily. The faithful pursuit of the Lord on her life, as well as the life-changing impact of those women and men is what fuels her passion for student ministry.
Currently, Autumn lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina with her husband, Taylor. Taylor is the Associate Student Pastor at First Baptist Church Fort Mill, and Autumn greatly enjoys serving beside him. Her other pastime interests include visiting local coffee shops, spending time with Taylor and their puppy, Jack, and remodeling their new home.
Byron Ruff - Urban Area Director
Byron grew up on the south side of Chicago and came to know the Lord at the age of 22. In his early twenties, he relocated to Charlotte and now serves his local church as a Deacon. Byron has worked as a licensed securities broker working for such financial institutions as Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) and LPL Financial. After a brief stint as the Sports Coordinator for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, Byron has turned all of his focus to developing and mentoring young men & young women with a desire that they will avoid the many obstacles he faced and live a life sold out for Christ.
With extensive experience in building and implementing a program that helps youth become mentally poised, better prepared and spiritually grounded for various challenges that arise in the world of sports. Byron is an effective communicator able to employ years of training honed in the corporate setting to collaborate, motivate, and energize others. Byron's personal experiences as a student-athlete have created a strong desire to impart wisdom to youth traveling the same road of navigating campus life, academic success, and athletic prowess.
Byron is married to LaTacia Ruff, whom they are the parents of 3 lovely children Imani, Alaiyah, and Bryon.
Noah La Coursiere - Area Director
My love for The Lord and for The Gospel of Jesus Christ forms and informs everything that I do. I have dedicated my life to The King of Kings and unto serving Him. I have served The Lord and The Church for over 10 years as a minister of The Gospel. Serving as an evangelist and pastor in North Carolina, Virginia, and California, I have served cross-denominationally as a partner, revitalizer, consultant, and friend.
All awhile, my faithful and loving bride, Julie, has been by my side for the adventure. Together for the Gospel, we have seen many lives saved and changed by its power. By God's grace, we have been blessed with 5 precious gifts, Elijah Sky, Eden Grace, Ezra Ryan, Everliegh Joy, and Easton Lee. Our guiding maxim is - Live Worship, Live The Mission of Jesus Christ, and Live The Adventure.
I consider it a GREAT privilege to now serve as an Area Director with YCI and I pray that The Lord uses me to communicate and relate The Gospel to the next generation clearly and effectively, in a way that will resonate for generations to come - My desire is to empower and equip students to do the same and to see The Gospel do what only The Gospel can do, save souls and transform lives.