Kind words about Dean Stelow and Reorient Spiritual Mentoring
I met Dean during a very difficult season of my life. I was walking through a faith deconstruction while working in full-time vocational ministry at an evangelical mega church. I barely felt like I could talk to my wife about what I was experiencing, let alone those in leadership at my church...I felt alone. I had read many of the books and I had listened to all of the podcasts, but I didn’t have any safe spaces to be vulnerable and give voice to what I was experiencing. But from the moment I met Dean I could tell he wasn’t like the other spiritual leaders in my life. The air around him emanated with a sense of groundedness and connection to real presence. When I opened up to him about my crisis of faith, he responded with a vision of a God large enough to handle my questions. Maybe this God could even be found in my questioning...and in this moment...and in the space between us. I was struck by a radical “okayness” that is still with me to this day. Through this conversation and many more, Dean invited me into a framework for God that was not interested in cheap certainty, but a God as boundless as the cosmos, in which we live and move and have our very being. With an expansive vision and his quiet joy, Dean truly helped me open my eyes to see that the entire universe is humming with divine presence of Christ.
Throughout my life I have learned how to put up walls in my relationships with people in order to help protect myself from being hurt. The sad thing was I never even knew why I would do it. Actually, I never even knew that I was doing it at all. I had a real fear of letting other people know the true me, and if I am being honest, I had an even deeper fear of knowing my true self. This impacted my relationship with my friends, my family, my wife and with God.
I met Dean six years ago, and I was immediately drawn to him. Dean quickly became someone that I continued to go to as a leader in my life. The more we got together, the more I was willing to open up to him. Dean became one of the few people in my life who knew everything about me. What made me so comfortable with him was that he never looked at me as someone who needed to be helped. He never offered me a quick fix for anything, and he never told me what to do. Rather, he would ask a lot of questions, listen closely and he somehow knew exactly how to draw out the best in me. Never before had I been so comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It seems that with every conversation that I had with Dean, he helped me tear down a different wall that I had spent years putting up. The process of becoming known was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. Dean’s mentorship in my life has been such a gift. What made it all possible for me was that Dean was so willing to be vulnerable himself, and led from an overflow of what was in his soul.
Over the years, Dean has become many things to me: mentor, advisor, life coach, and best of all, friend. He is extremely gifted in digging deep to the heart and soul of whatever pains you. Dean’s way of discerning the layers of an issue, helps to not only identify what someone may be struggling with, but it allows you, as a person, to recognize exactly where the root of the issue lies. Dean helped me for a number of years overcome the feeling of shame and self doubt when it came to overcoming certain problems and struggles. He also helped me by serving up extremely practical ways of recognizing when I was going to start battling with something. One of the first and most important steps that I learned, was to recognize why I was doing certain things and when. It all starts with noticing! Dean’s biggest attribute is that he simply loves and cares about people. That shines through in the way that he carries himself and goes about his days. That is exactly why he is so good at what he does!
Dean has mentored me for a number of years. His guidance has helped me grow immensely as a person. He has helped me understand how I am wired and guided me toward a healthier version of myself. I've never once felt shamed or defeated after our meetings, but always encouraged. Dean always seems to know the right question to ask or illustration to share to help me see what I am missing. More than just a good counselor, Dean is an excellent listener. He a natural gift to ask the right questions and wisdom to not provide cheap answers. Most of all, Dean has a deep desire to learn and grow that reflects in the way he helps others learn and grow.
Dean has been a mentor to me for over 15 years. A lot of life has happened in that time, some good and some bad. Through it all, Dean has always been there. There was a season when I wanted to walk away from my life's calling. I was hurt, exhausted and bitter. On a three day “spiritual retreat”, Dean's guidance was the catalyst God used to steady my heart.
Most recently, I walked through one of the darkest seasons of my life battling with depression and anxiety. This happened amidst an intense deconstruction of the way that I saw life, faith, God and myself. Through the entire journey, Dean was a constant source of wisdom and grounding. He always knew the right book or practice to recommend. He always listened and consistently brought me back to seeing the goodness in God and in myself. I’m so grateful for my friend and mentor.
Dean Stelow has been my mentor for 26 years. I am privileged to say that he has also been my friend all of that time. The majority of what I understand about God, the Bible and spiritual concepts has come from his faithful presence in my life. Having spent a lot of time in Dean's home through the years, I can attest that he is "the real deal" and practices what he preaches. Dean is always seeking to go deeper in his understanding and relationship with God. A better mentor could not be found. I would highly recommend Dean as a mentor to anybody that asked.
Meetings with Dean live and breathe outside the box. His glow in our conversation is inspiring and energizing. He is a thoughtful, creative listener and unique talent, able to analyze situations and formulate ideas into a practical plan of action. I’ve learned a great deal from him in regards to leading a group of people, specifically as a worship leader, but I’ve also applied his coaching in my recent music business venture. As a married father of six children he respects and celebrates personal life and treats all situations with integrity and sensitivity. He is trustworthy, kind and vulnerable. A skilled storyteller, growing from rich experiences of his own life. I’d recommend him to anyone wanting to grow as a leader, develop their business and or go deeper in their spiritual life.