Sometimes you have friends and mentors you can meet for coffee. Other times they exist only in your online life.
I've been in youth ministry for over 20 years, and for much of that time I feel like I've had a friendship with some folks I barely know. The DYM (Download Youth Ministry) Podcast (formerly Simply Youth Ministry Podcast and Youth Ministry Garage Podcast) just completed its 300th episode. I listen to it regularly, and it feels like a conversation with good friends who understand me. Doug Fields and Josh Griffin, former youth pastors at Saddleback Church in Orange County, have been part of the conversation since the beginning. They've had various other youth ministry partners join them over the years. Currently it's Jason Carson and Katie Edwards. And though I've only met Doug and Josh a few times at something called SLC (Student Leadership Conference), they have blessed my work as a youth pastor in enumerable ways. DYM provides incredible resources at ridiculous prices, but more importantly, they somehow manage, through laughter-laden conversations, stupid jokes, and the occasional tidbit of youth ministry wisdom, to create a sense of community that is irreplaceable. I love these guys for helping me to fall in love with youth ministry again every time I listen.