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April 23rd, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

32 comments (+ Add)

Thanking Those You’ll Never Meet

Years ago, I thought I’d never have a chance to meet so many of my ministry heroes. I decided to write a handful of notes to those who influenced me from a distance.

I’m guessing that some of the people may not have even seen the notes. It didn’t matter. To me, it was right to give honor and express gratitude.

Surprisingly, some responded back. One even mentioned the note to me years later when I met him in person. (That blew me away!)

  • Whose podcast do you listen to regularly? Email to say “thanks.”
  • Whose leadership message touched you deeply? Blog about it and say “thank you.”
  • Whose book ministered to you when you were down? Send her a note to tell her how her book impacted you.
  • Whose ministry inspired you to attempt something great? Call their assistant and leave a message of gratitude.

Don’t expect anything in return. Just say “thanks” because it is right to do so! Even though you may never meet a ministry hero, you can still find a way to say “thanks.”

Who has impacted you from a distance?

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there are a total of32
  1. Apr 23, 2008 at 5:32 am


    I couldn’t find an email address, so here goes….Thanks. I attend the internet campus every Tuesday night. I have read Confessions and Chazown. I joined the Open network and launched an eerily similar church in January. I am inspired and challenged to innovate, relate and hold high the standard of the Gospel. I am currently preaching your Disciple series and we have had forty or so commitments to become fully devoted followers of Christ. One gentleman commented that he is 52 yrsold and it’s the best preaching he’s ever heard. This series is rocking me and my church. Thanks for leading us.

  2. Apr 23, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Craig…just wanted to say thank you…I know we will meet one day but for now and until then I want to say thank you. Your leadership, drive and passion have taught me from a distance.

    You push for next level thinking has made me re-think everything I do in ministry.

    Thanks for your faithfulness and the willingness to give.

  3. Apr 23, 2008 at 6:22 am

    I heard a guy by the name of Kimber Kaufman speak at a Campus Crusade Christmas Conference back in 2001 when I was smack dab in the middle of a really rough season of my faith. He kicked me in the butt for Jesus. A year later at the same conference, I heard his voice on the radio and found out his church streamed all of his sermons. I went home and started listening to his archive nightly. Most wouldn’t find him flashy but his words inspired me to read my Bible more and search it for truth more than anyone else to this time.

    During a similar time in seminary two years ago, I found out about podcasting and became addicted to the Driscrolls, the Stanleys, the Nobles and the Groeschels of the world - Bible Teachers that passionately reminded why I went to seminary.

    So to all of you thanks.

  4. Apr 23, 2008 at 6:22 am

    Thanks for the great reminder Craig. I have a few thank you notes to send out!

  5. Apr 23, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Craig, great post. Thanks for all your leadership, prayers, and friendship over the years. It really means a lot to Michele and I. Mentioning us at Vision Night was an honor, and we truly were blessed.

    One of the things I’m most excited about Heaven is that I WILL be able to meet those who have impacted me from a distance. So, not only will I be able to hobnob with people like Bill Hybels, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Erwin McManus and Max Lucado, but also people like Enoch, Moses, Elijah, David, Adam, Paul, Peter, and a certain thief who had tremendous faith at the most crucial moment. I’m looking forward to spending an eternity worshipping with them and also to thank them face-to-face.

  6. Apr 23, 2008 at 6:37 am

    I sent Rick Warren a thank you note back in 2000 after attending the PDC conference & he actually hand wrote a note that said “go for it!” I still have it.

  7. Apr 23, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Just want to say thank you Craig. I think you are impacting the world for Christ and it is wonderful to be able hear your thoughts, vision, and outlook on leadership and being a follower of Christ.

    Praise God for the vision he has given you to share the knowledge and insight He has taught you in your service to His call.

    Thank You.

  8. Apr 23, 2008 at 7:46 am

    This is such a great idea, I’m going to do this myself.

    I’m definitely and iPoding, MacBooking, all things tech kind of guy but there’s something about a hand written note nothing can replace.

  9. Apr 23, 2008 at 8:07 am

    To answer your question too, I have to say you’ve deeply impacted my life.

    One weekend, after one of the church conferences, a number of churches came through LC on their ways back home. I had the honor of talking with a number of them and one gentleman asked me “so can you talk to Craig?” I was kind of confused and asked, what do you mean? He told me, well I met Craig once and I wasn’t sure if I’m allowed to talk to him. A lot of mega church (hate that term) pastors don’t like to be talked to, so can you talk to him? I was stunned and immediately following one of the messages I brought him to meet you and say hi.

    I guess I take it for advantage that I get to actually talk to you on a weekly basis. Something you think you’d be able to do with any pastor, but maybe not. I’ve learned so much not even from talking, but from listening. You’re a great leader and it’s a honor to work for you.

  10. Apr 23, 2008 at 8:17 am

    John Ortberg

    Mike Breaux

    Andy Stanley

    and, yes, Craig Groeschel.

    Gotta give a shout to our (QCC’s) own Helen Musick, since the truth is I have been formed in my discipleship by women as well as men.

    I look forward to the day when lists like these are more of a mix of men and women!

  11. Apr 23, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Craig, I guess I’ll start with you.It was just three years ago that someone turned me on to I started listening to your messages, then added you on podcast, and I have always been grateful not just for the topics you teach on but the fact that they are always filled with biblical content. I love the innovative way that you connect the bible with culture.

    About 5 years ago I met Terry Storch while he was at Fellowship and was thrilled to here of what he is dong with you guys. Last May I got to see your Church as Terry took me on a tour and then to lunch with him and Bobby. That was incredible. So I want to say thanks also for the desire that you obviously instill in your staff to pass on what God is teaching you.

  12. Apr 23, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Francis Chan
    Erwin McManus
    Andy Stanley
    Oh, and that Craig Groeshel guy. J/K
    Actually, thanks Craig! You and LC are an amazing blessing to us at Life Church Franklin. We are proud to be a part of the Network but more importantly being used by God to impact peoples lives and show Jesus to all we meet.
    BTW…thanks for the note last week.

  13. 16Jim
    Apr 23, 2008 at 9:40 am

    For me there have been many along the way, here are just a few:

    Erwins Mcmanus’s podcast and books have been a great encouragement to me.

    I am in fulltime Christian service because I heard Andy Stanley preach a message on his dad’s televsion broadcast many years ago. He still challenges me with his messages.

    The optimistic approach to life that I have heard and read from Zig Ziglar has made a difference in my life.

    Since this is a “thank craig thing” :) - your message at catalyst and the book confessions have played a big part in my growth.

    Ed Young has also been an important part of my growth as a leader and in seeing creativity as a huge part of ministry and life.

    There are more but I will stop here.

  14. 17jon
    Apr 23, 2008 at 9:43 am

    thanks craig, i just got done putting that into action with an author that i was challenged deeply by a couple months ago… matthew paul turner.

    thank you for your material and challenges as well!

  15. Apr 23, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Francis Chan challenges me so much through his podcasts. Can’t wait to read his new book. His messages break me and compel me to change and put my faith into action more than any other. He thinks so far outside of my normal. It seems weird to just send a note to someone you don’t know but I think I will now.

  16. Apr 23, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Craig Groeschel (Both close up and from a distance)
    Matt Chandler (Distance)
    Jon Randles (Both close up and from a distance)
    Oswald Chambers (Obviously, from a distance)

  17. Apr 23, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Dear Pastor Craig.
    My name is Walter and I’m in charge of the first Spanish Speaking Campus of our church here in Jacksonville, FL and since we started the church a year ago we have a record eastern attendance with more than 250 people. (Praise the Lord) And I want to thank you and for the inspiration, creativity and to freely let us use series like , My Secret, Miracles and His Famous Last Word.
    Sincerely Pastor Walter

  18. 22MD
    Apr 23, 2008 at 11:33 am


    Thanks for all you do. This blog is such a blessing. We always love it when you visit us at Church of the Highlands.

  19. 23Bill G
    Apr 23, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you Craig and the entire team! Your ministry has truely been a blessing to me. I have been following you for about 3 years now and have gotten so much from your teaching. Your messages have been inspirational, motivating and helpful during some tough times. God is doing great work through you and I look forward to seeing it continue. Maybe even being a part of it someday.

  20. 24Sy
    Apr 23, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Craig, You have even written encouraging notes to little people that you don’t really know. :) Thank you.

    Personal notes are especially thoughtful and a lost art! I love to get a real, snail mail, stamped note in the mail (not a bill!).

  21. Apr 24, 2008 at 5:50 am


    There’s a book that starts out “Most people take a long time to die…” God used this book and the author’s words in my life at a very crucial time. I have since recommended this book to numerous individuals. It not only impacted my life but of those around me and this temporary place we call home. One way I’ve said thank you to that author/person is to pray for him, his family and the ministry God has given him every single day since. Honestly, I have received something else in return even though that was not my intent. Praying for another is a sheer blessing and privilege. One that I take more seriously now than ever.


  22. Apr 24, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    You’re welcome Craig.

  23. 28Melinda
    Apr 26, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Craig -

    Even though I have met you, I am thanking you anyways. My husband and I attended your church since we met. (2002) He attended before we met and took me there on our first date. Anyways, I want to thank you for many many things;

    1) Always challenging us
    2) Using God and his word truthfully and acknowledging His glory
    3) Impacting people world wide, especially other pastors.
    4) too many more to name

    We are now in Pennsylvania and finally found a church home, and the pastor has been highly influenced by you. We are so blessed to have walked through the doors of this church knowing God is still using you even way up here. The pastor has a thirst to grow and change and looks up to you and uses your messages for many of his inspirations. Thank you for your charisma, your drive, and most importantly using God’s word faithfully and TRUTHFULLY! We miss terribly, but know we are here for a reason. Again, thank you.


  24. Apr 28, 2008 at 12:18 am

    I’d like to thank people I know I will meet … but not in this life…

    I’d like to thank J. Vernon McGee… he’s been dead nearly fifteen years now… but through his uncompromising bible teaching God has used in my life much… and I have grown…

    I would like to thank Woodrow Kroll, for caring about God’s word and getting it into the hands of people who want it, and challenging those who don’t to seek it…

    I’d also like to thank Adrian Rogers, who has been dead a couple of years now, but whose preaching still lives on…
    for powerful, loving preaching… in a compromised generation…

    I’d like to thank Paul for writing this verse…

    1 Thessalonians 2:13

    I know I’ll meet all these men again…

  25. May 22, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for your messages and resources. We are a new church in southern Ohio and have been using several of the resources from Open. Your willingness to share resources to further the Kingdom is greatly appreciated! My wife is amazed every week at the quality of the children’s ministry resources and that a church would give so much away.

  26. 32Aleisha
    Jun 24, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Dear Craig

    I just read your book, “Going all the Way” and I want to thank you. That book affected me in more ways than one. Just getting out of a serious relationship, my heart is broken. But reading your book made me realize a lot i didn’t know. Although I loved this guy, I wasn’t treating him right, and I was drifting away from God- Kinda a long story. Anyway breaking up was how I realized God was the only one that was always going to be there for me. My one and first love. Ive fallen in love again, but this time with God. I know now what I need to do to make a relationship work.

    But I do have two questions.
    You said that you told Amy that you two should break up, because you were going to far… Did you? Or did you work through it?

    Because you said afterwards that you wont get back together with anyone after you have broken up? Why is that? If you break up, realize what was happening, grow , learn and try again?

    Sorry for the long letter
    Also thank you for the podcasts, i love listening to them- As someone who wants to get into preaching, these are so handy as i love listening to you and learning from you :)

    All the way from New Zealand!!!!