Mentor From a Distance: Craig Groeschel

One of the things that I have found as a church planter is my need for leadership in my life. Our church has no affiliation with any outside organizations. Our church receives no support, financial or otherwise from such organizations. If I were to be honest, sometimes that scares me. I welcome such associations and even search for them but what do I do until then. I have many friends who are a great encouragement to me but peers can only help so much. This is the reason that I have taken on what I call “mentors from a distance.” There not from a distance because that’s the way I want it to be; they are at a distance because they have a great deal of responsibility already upon their shoulders. I don’t expect them to be my best friends because God has not necessarily placed me as their responsibility but they are appreciated none the less.

One such mentor of mine is Craig Groeschel. Although he has no idea that he is my unofficial mentor he has given me great encouragement and even guidance. First let me tell you some things about his church and then I will share some things that have really meant a lot to me. First of all his church is LifeChurch.tv out of Oklahoma. If you are a church planter keep an eye on this church because they are the absolute best at what they do. Their use of media to present the life changing message of Christ is unparalleled. They are also one of the first and best examples of how effective a multi-site church can be. Most importantly though is what is underneath their innovative exterior and that is a genuine passion for people and God’s work in those people. Now let me share my list of things that have meant the world to me in my journey as a pastor and a church planter.

  • Invasion! This is a series they do every so often sharing some of the awesome things God has been doing in the lives of their people. This is like a shot of adrenaline for me. Every time I watch these series I cry like a baby but I walk away with a new strength to continue the work God has given me. I’ve watched them each about 15 times.
  • Craig’s teaching. There are few who have the gift of communication as he does. He is proof to any church growth critic that you don’t have to avoid the tough issues to build a crowd. In the past two years I have listened to every one of his messages on lifechurch.tv and they have changed me.
  • swerve.lifechurch.tv blog. I was very excited about this. Craig and Bobby both share some awesome thoughts on a bunch of topics touching the church and it’s great. It is a definite must read. One thing that is extremely encouraging to me is that Craig, on more than one occasion, has responded to my comments. This may not mean anything to anyone else but I know what how busy he must be and so that is very cool. Shameless plug: He even said he likes this blog. I doubt he follows this blog but the fact that he has read it and was kind enough to mention it is really cool.

Let me end with this: Craig, if you do end up reading this, thank you. I may never get to meet you and thank you in person but I really do want you to know that your leadership is an inspiration to me. If I wasn’t supposed to be here, I would be there. Keep it up.

I guess I need to wrap this up before it appears like I am stalking the guy. Oops, too late.