Jumping from the church into a NON CHURCH job was was risky for me: the church was the only thing I’ve known for the past 15 years. Making the leap of faith was a little easier knowing that I would be working for my long time friend, Andy Brazelton.

Andy and I have a long history, I’ve known him since he was a freshman in high school. I can’t tell you how much PURE MCGILL he’s had to endure over the years (ask my close friends, it’s not easy). I could share a few stories, but I’ll save that for another time (AB: never forget the harry tostada I so graciously provided for you).

ANYHOW, as a friend and leader, Andy was absolutely great to work with, so I thought I’d share what I loved about my experience at Simply Youth Ministry with him at the helm:

1. Andy is always positive, and it’s infectious. Nearly every project has setbacks, and Brazel never lets them throw him off course.

2. Andy is great at solving problems. This one is a no brainer, with years of experience (more than a decade maybe?), Andy couldn’t be successful without knowing how to overcome obstacles effectively and creatively.

3. Andy is great at letting others solve problems. I’ve observed many “micro managers” in my life, and Andy isn’t one of them. He knows what he’s good at, and he knows what his team is good at…and he lets them do their jobs.

4. Andy doesn’t take himself seriously. The guy holds contests about the “wing span” of his ears? How great is that?

5. Andy takes his responsibilities very seriously. Running the best youth ministry resource company in the world (I may be biased) is not a task to be taken lightly, and Andy is committed to the CORE about the mission and values of SYM and Group.

6. Andy is great at keeping the team focused. The Simply team is filled with a lot of creative, fun people…think of that dog in the movie UP. We all saw a lot of squirrels, but Andy was adept and adroit at keeping everyone’s eyes on the goal.

7. Andy gives his people what they need to succeed. Andy is a responsible steward of the resources at his disposal, but he’s not a miser. When I needed something (or anyone else), assuming it was semi-reasonable, Andy always said, “if you need it, let’s figure it out.” I once asked for a helicopter just for grins but got denied on that one.

8. Andy listens to any idea…and HOLY SMOKES, did I have a lot of bad ideas. Most of the time, my role in meetings was to offer up horrible ideas to clear the way for real ideas to surface. This isn’t false humility on my part, but open disclosure: I pretty much said everything that came to mind. Andy was quick to execute on the few ideas I had that made sense.

9. Andy pushes things forward. Not content with the status quo, he’s a builder and always looking to improve everything around him. Not just the products at simply youth ministry, or even the skills of his team, Andy also pushes himself to think in different ways and do things better.

10. Andy cares for youth workers. Simply Youth Ministry is a company, and companies need to make money. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s the responsible, biblical thing to do. Driving all the decisions is the genuine desire to help youth workers succeed by providing quality resources.

I left a few things off this list…because I wanted people to actually read this post!

BRAZELTON: I love you and thanks for a great season! I’m leaving only because I’m firmly convinced God is calling me back into full time youth ministry to be the high school pastor at Mariner’s church.

When I grow up, I want to be like Brazel, don’t you?