Sorry for name dropping. Please don’t think less of me but I felt this would be good to share. I was having coffee with Andy Stanley the other day and he said something that struck me (he often does). He said…

“We fall in love with our plans. And we make the mistake of saying ‘God told me…'”

That was good, something I needed to think more about, I actually made him repeat it a couple times…I literally had to rewind it several times so I could write it down correctly. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, when I have coffee with Andy he is never there…just me and a book, blog, podcast, sermon, seminar, MP3, or tweet. Funny thing is I have only meet him once (he did send me a DM on twitter @andystanley but I could not respond because he does not follow me). While he does not know I exist, he has had a big impact on how I lead.

We need mentors who are near us but we also have mentors who are far…that’s part of why people like Andy Stanley, Rick Warren, and Bill Hybels write books and speak at conferences. Instead of reply to thousands of individual emails and meeting requests, they can cover those topics in public venues. I wonder what tips Andy has on preaching? Read his book. I wonder if I could pick Bill’s brain on a leadership? Read his book. I wonder if Craig Groeschel will arm wrestle me? Ask him at a book signing (but you have to know that’s weird).

Here are 3 FREE downloadable resources I have used to learned from Andy Stanley…

Who are your “mentors from a distance” and what resources do they have that you can share in the comments below?

Brandon Early


6 Things A Mentor Does

 —  August 28, 2013 — 1 Comment

Here are 6 things I believe a mentor does or should do:

  1. Gives timely advice.  Their advice seeks to encourage and guides toward Christ-likeness in all facets of life.
  2. Risks own reputation.  At times the mentor backs the mentee, putting his/her own reputation on the line.
  3. Bridges to resources.  Whether the resource is a book or a contact or an opportunity for ministry, mentors resource mentee’s for their growth.
  4. Sets the example.  In all facets of life mentors provide the model to follow – being honest about imperfections, of course.
  5. Shares ministry.  By co-laboring in ministry a mentor intentionally increases the credibility of the mentee.
  6. Pushes up.  Mentors seek to push mentee’s beyond their level of leadership and celebrates how that occurs.

I am in youth ministry because of one conversation.

OK, that isnt’ entirely true – I’m in youth ministry because of a myriad of things: being raised well by godly parents, shaping moments throughout my childhood by amazing Christian men and women, seeing the need for leadership and love in the life of a teenager, my own specific passion and shape.

But I do remember one specific conversation with a guy name Jerry. Jerry was the Dean of Men at the Bible College I went to and 1 of 2 very influential men at that school for me (the other being the football coach and Bible teacher, Terry). One day, Jerry said to me – “Why are you going into business, you were made to be a youth pastor? I can totally see it in every aspect of your life and heart.” Then he laighted a little, shrugged and moved on. But I couldn’t shrug off our conversation – it stuck with me and I began to wrestle, pray and get council about this possible direction for my life. Sounds a little more dramatic than it actually was honestly, but 20 years later, I’m still in youth ministry and loving it.

All that to say this: every year I make it a point to ask God to help me interact with a couple students who need to be “called to youth ministry.” I look in our ministry or try to be discerning at an event and talk to a teenager who has the potential to do incredible things as a youth worker. Sometimes it has been spot on and that person is now in youth ministry. Sometimes I’ve missed them altogether and a kid I never expected to be a youth pastor enters the field. Sometimes it is an epic fail and that person leaves the church altogether.

But my win/loss record isn’t what is important – it is the conversation that counts!