The Impact of LEI Mentoring

Interview with UNC senior, Taylor Irvin:  April 2017

"I really needed to have those conversations about leadership and where I was going as a Young Life leader and the kind of impact that I wanted to have."

Taylor has been mentored this year by LEI mentor, Pearce Godwin. In addition, he has served as an intern to Leadership Edge, primarily helping John Hawkins with videography projects.

Question- How did you hear about LEI mentoring and what drew you to it?

Answer- I learned about LEI a little over a year ago, I met John through the Cherokee Emerging Leaders Program when he came to speak to us on Leadership. We actually met up afterwards and we got to know each other a little bit and he introduced me to what he does and what LEI does and those conversations and the relationship that stemmed from there struck me as unique with John’s wisdom, his openness, his sincerity and that was something that I really valued and love to see. So when he asked me if I was interested in pursuing a mentoring relationship with another LEI mentor, I was all about it.

Very similar things happened when I met my mentor, Pearce Godwin. He has a very similar openness, vulnerable man who invited me into his life and shared what is going on and has a very friendly and welcoming personality. We clicked from the git go.

"Right off the bat, we started diving into the personal vision statement (PVS). I saw a lot of value in the PVS and from the conversations learned a lot of practical take-aways for how it would make an impact in my life."

Question: Any thoughts as to how your involvement with LEI will have future impact or give guidance to you in your marriage, family, career, community or church?

 Answer: Going back to the PVS, I think that it is something that will stick with me for years to come and even the all the scripture that backs it up is another big thing to have something concrete that doesn’t change that you can look to for the rest of your life as guiding way, a compass and It all points back to Christ. I think that is something that will continue to be in my life for years to come and will be able to I’ll be able to influence my family, my friends, family church and community. Also, some of these practical skills such as listening, stepping outside of my comfort zone, encouraging and challenging…

And even being involved in a LEI guys group this semester seeing the importance of continuing these tight-knit and intentional relationships that aren’t just going to be given to me like they are in college—I need to seek them out.

Having trust in the Lord that whatever you see or share can be used for His glory

I think that all these things will play a big part in how I interact as I move forward(in theFellows program, a job, family, kids…

Question- How would you connect your experience in LEI mentoring relationship with your development as a leader? How has that worked out for you experientially? Is there a connecting point you see with what you’ve done in the mentoring relationship and who you are becoming as a leader?

Answer-    Yeah, especially in the conversations that I’ve had with Pearce about the personal vision statement and a lot of the scripture that backs it up and a lot of other things that have come up. The two biggest ways that I’ve seen it make an impact was with my...

  • Relationships and my leadership within the house that I live in and the ministry and relationships that happen through that.  Being able to step up as a leader and to have influence and impact on those guys around me and to push them in ways that they need to be pushed and then also to show them that I need to be pushed as well.
  • And then also as a Young Life leader, I think that I really needed to have those conversations about leadership and where I was going as a YL leader and the kind of impact that I wanted to have. At that point, I think that I was content with the status quo and hanging out with the guys I knew and continuing the relationships as they were but this really pushed me to get outside my comfort zone, ask hard questions, really see where guys were at in their life, their relationship with the Lord and what their thoughts were….. Just really invest in them and to see the value in getting outside my comfort zone not only for my benefit as a leader and as a Christian but also seeing the life-long impact for these guys that I know.


Question- I know that being a leader in that house of 8 guys,…. Have their been any opportunities when you have seen yourself conduct yourself in a way where you can reference it back to LEI mentoring? Something that as you look back on it and relate it to LEI? 

Answer: Yes. The essence of the personal Vision Statement (PVS) for me- studying it, trying to apply it and accept it into my life and the conversations that I’ve had with Pearce-  that has definitely been on my mind a lot head a lot especially this year as a senior and that comes into my head a lot as I’m having conversations with guys in the way that I spur them on I or encourage them and even what comes to mind…

A couple weeks ago, as we were meeting together in our house fellowship, a guy really was hoping to find some direction and to get out of a stagnant place in his life and with his relationship with the Lord. He was missing the direction and guidance that he had in high school in relationship with pastors, or teachers, mentors of the like and what first came to mind was the PVS…the personal vision statement. I told him (about the LEI PVS) “This is something that I’ve seen a lot of encouragement and a lot of fruit come out of in my own life.” It is very applicable to him. I told him about it and gave him some encouragement and some verses to look into that the Lord calls us to have a vision and to be in a direction, not just to be standing still… even the crucifixion and the resurrection demands a response—not just to stand still.


Question: Through the mentoring relationship and other involvement with LEI, what is something that you have learned about yourself as a leader? Has it given you any clarity about who you are as a leader? As you have unpacked the vision statement….and thought about living and leading in a way that’s by God’s grace for His glory and leading in all kinds of situations, has it given any clarity in understanding

Answer: It has definitely given me a lot of encouragement and a lot of support outside of my own perspective as to how much of a leader I really am and how the Lord has created me to be a leader and the natural impact that I can have on those around me by my work effort, the way that I lead by example, the way that I carry myself and the way that I listen to others. Those have definitely been highlights.

But It has also been a really big thing for me to get insights into my weaknesses…. I’m not great at confronting/handling conflict. But I need to not avoid it. I need to face it head on. I’ve seen a lot of fruit come out of that and a lot of good things.….   I’ve seen that I have the tools to handle conflict but that I just need to take that step- I don’t need to be passive about it.

I’ve seen the necessity to build relationships with other in order to have leadership, you need to have some sort of personal connection to build trust and it be a mutual relationship.

Question--- what would be good to LEI donors to know?

Answer- One of the great things that I’ve seen is how useful LEI mentoring relationship can be regardless of your spheres of influence whatever you are involved in—it has been impactful made me a better Young Life leader, it has made me a better leader of my house, I know it has impacted guys with girls, with families, with classmates, with their jobs this isn’t a one trick pony…


It can be applied to all areas of my life.  I know that if I were to continue these relationships or even if I were to be a mentor at some point the benefits and take-aways would change and they would be able to


Question- Anything that surprised you?

Answer-  Two big surprises were how close and how much of true friends my mentor and I have become. It is truly a friendship and it is truly mutual. Another big surprise is how it has been two-fold in that he, my mentor has been open and vulnerable


Question- Any wrap-up thoughts?

Answer-I wish I had started working and interning with LEI and with John earlier on. The time spent and the work I’ve done have just really given me a lot. It has compounded everything else that I’ve gotten out of LEI.


It has been a great way to end my senior year, my last semester and has definitely been a good transition to moving out of college!

More about Taylor...

I'm from Greensboro, NC- youngest of four children.

I became involved in Young Life in high school. At Young Life summer camp, I learned that there was a personal relationship available to me with the Lord of the universe, with Jesus-- and what he had done for us on the cross. That is when I first decided that I wanted that in my life. And it has been a roller coaster ever since.

I am a graduating senior at UNC. I am Exercise and Sports Science major with minor in Recreation Administration and Coaching Education.

This summer I will be working as an EMT at Windy Gap Young Life camp.

Next year: In September I will be in a 10-month Christian Leadership development program called the Raleigh Fellows Program. There, I will be working part-time, living with a family that is hosting me from the church, taking spiritual formation, theology and other types of professional development classes and delving into what it looks like to be a Christian in the workforce and how to combine faith and vocation and live a meaningful life.