What Are You Working on That is Big? | Doug Smith Live

At the Leadercast conference, Andy Stanley shared a story about the power of mentoring that both challenged and inspired me. I want to share that story with you today. If you don’t know who Andy Stanley is, he is the Pastor of North Point Church in Atlanta, GA.


When Andy was 30 years old, he was a youth pastor. He said he had a very successful business man named Charlie invite him to breakfast. Andy was extremely intimidated. Charlie was very successful and wore a suit with cufflinks to their first breakfast meeting.

Charlie let Andy ask questions for the majority of their time together. At the end of their time together, Charlie looked at Andy and asked, “Andy, what are you working on that is big?”

Andy got nervous. This question was coming from a man who did business all over the globe. To Andy, the biggest thing he thought he did that week was get kids home safe from six flags.

They continued to meet for breakfast for the next 25+ years and Charlie would always ask Andy that one question: What are you working on that is big? 

As Andy got older, God has opened doors for him to do some incredible things in and through the church that he planted. Occasionally, when the church does something big, he’ll get a call from Charlie. Charlie will say, “Andy, now that is big!”

What was Charlie trying to do? Was he trying to show Andy that what he was working on was small? No! He probably wouldn’t have met with him if he did not see a huge amount of potential in Andy. He was trying to get Andy to dream bigger, regardless of what he was currently doing. I’ve heard Andy say that even while he was raising kids, etc. Charlie would continue to ask him that question in order to get him to think beyond himself and his family.

I love this story for a lot of reasons.

1.) Charlie was willing to invest in a young leader – I’m sure there were 100 other things Charlie could have been doing with his time, but he chose to spend an hour every other week to invest in a young leader who he thought had potential. It obviously paid off! Andy is doing incredible things today and he attributes a lot of what has happened to those breakfast meetings with Charlie.

2.) It Causes me to Ask Myself the Same Question – What am I working on that’s big?

3.) While we are young, we have an opportunity to prepare to do something BIG when we are older – As young leaders, we are preparing for positions of leadership 20 years from now. How you handle today will significantly impact what you do twenty years from now. Are you setting yourself up to do something big?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who can you be a Charlie to?
  • What young leaders with potential can you spend time with that will make a significant difference in their lives? 
  • Do you have a Charlie?
  • Do you have a mentor that is consistently challenging and inspiring you? 
  • What are you working on that is big?
  • What are you doing that is making an impact beyond just you? 


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