One of the key secrets to my ministry’s success (and sanity), has been the relationships I've formed with Godly-wise leaders and mentors I’ve had in my life. I have been personally mentored by the likes of: Andy Stanley, Rick Warren, Sam Chand, Larry Osborne, Alan Hirsch, Greg Surratt, Dan Reiland, Dave Travis, and others. How did I become men-tee (and later friend) of these great leaders? My relationship with Dan Reiland, is a good example. In case you are not familiar with Dan, Dan was John Maxwell’s Exec Pastor for over twenty years, before moving with John to Atlanta, GA. These days, he is Exec Pastor for 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA, one of the fastest growing churches in America. The year I moved to metro Atlanta to start our church, I walked up to Dan at a break during an INJOY conference, and said: “Dan, you don’t know me but I am a church planter. I’m starting a new church here in Atlanta, and I am clueless in terms of what it means to lead a church. I believe I have some raw leadership gifts that just need to be developed and sharpened. Could I buy you a cup of coffee and pick your brain about how I might do that most effectively?” Crazy enough, he agreed. Not everyone has agreed like Dan did. However, many others have. Conversations with great leaders like Dan have altered the course of my life and ministry on numerous occasions. Many times I have left conversations with these types of leaders with “permission” to be what God has called me to be and do what God has called me to do.
One thing I’ve learned about maintaining these types of mentoring relationships is this: They require risk, vulnerability, intentionality, and hard work. Are you wiling to do that? Then go for it. Make the ask.