Men Who Made a Difference
by Brett Clemmer
Published on February 7, 2024

Men Who Made a Difference

As we’re equipping men to become spiritual fathers, I want to take a moment to share the names of some of the men who made a huge impact in my life as I was growing up.

A Few Good Men

Bob W. was a retired firefighter from church who took me “fire chasing” when I was in elementary school. We would listen for fire calls on his scanner and race to the fires to watch the firemen work while he explained everything they were doing.

Steve M. was my junior high school leader at church. Steve got so enraged with us once that he actually cussed at us! We were terrible and I don’t blame him. But what I remember most was him apologizing the next week, taking responsibility for his words and anger. (We really did deserve it.) Steve was (and still is) kind, gentle, and profound.

Bob M. was my post leader in Christian Service Brigade (CSB). He encouraged me to get my various badges and celebrated each achievement. He made sure I learned from each project and wasn’t just trying to get another patch for my uniform.

Jake H. was the senior leader in Battalion (part of CSB). On one adventure, we climbed almost to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Then one of my friends fell through some ice in a creek that crossed the trail, and after getting him into dry clothes in driving snow, we very unhappily headed back down the mountain.

Jake was also the leader of a mission trip to Alaska I went on with 13 high school boys one summer. We renovated cabins for a Christian camp, chased (and got chased by) a moose, ate fresh elk meat, met a sharp shooter, and flirted with the girls that came to camp while we were there working.

Norm N. was my small group leader during my senior year in high school. We did a Bible Study series in group, but what I really remember are the beach trips in his Camaro and the conversations we had about life and girls I liked.

Paul B. was my high school group leader who led a mission trip to Morocco and Germany that I got to go on. One day in Morocco he took me with him to meet a tour company that was taking us from Casablanca to Marrakesh the next day. It was Ramadan and I remember Paul explaining why that was important to Muslims.

Paul also had an annual “sex day” (that’s what we called it) where he and his wife took the boys and the girls respectively and talked with us about, well, sex. I remember two things: first, the phrase, “the buck stops here,” with his hand, palm down, at his neck: “Don’t touch girls below the neck.” Second, the “anything goes” Q&A where you could ask Paul anything and he would give you an honest answer. We tried him, and he delivered.

Gordon M. was my pastor growing up. His preaching was challenging, fascinating, and inspiring. He could preach a sermon that the newest Christian would drink like milk and the mature Christian would chew on for days. As a young adult, he sat with me one afternoon at a NYC deli and helped me process some difficult feelings. He also modeled repentance and redemption in a way I’d never seen before or since.

The Influence of a Father

Bill Clemmer—the OG—was my dad. For as long as I remember, my dad was a force in my life. He showed me the importance of Scripture and prayer by being up every single morning before dawn to have his quiet time before heading into work. He led Sunday School classes and the evangelism ministry at our church. He discipled a ton of men right in front of me, and he invested in my spiritual growth, too. He discipled me “along the way,” engaging in long conversations on errands and road trips to go skiing. I really miss him.

– Bill and Brett Clemmer

The other thing my dad did, though, was he made sure I had men like Bob, Steve, Bill, Jake, Norm, Paul, and others—godly men—in my life so that I could learn from them.

Some of these men have passed. Some are relatively famous, at least in their communities. Most are just normal guys who invested time and energy in a sometimes obnoxious kid who definitely thought more highly of himself than he ought. They all loved and followed Jesus, and they wanted me to love and follow him, too.

If you are a dad, find godly men for your son to be around.

If you’re a man who loves Jesus and has some extra time, find a younger guy—junior high, high school, young adult, or a new husband or dad—and invest in his life.

The lessons I learned from these men have helped me live a vibrant life. They made my faith more resilient. They made me a better father and husband than I ever would have been. They have helped me live a mostly joyful and productive life.

Thanks, Dad.

Who are the men who made a difference in YOUR life?After growing up and going to college outside of Boston, Brett Clemmer met and married his wife, Kimberly, and moved outside of Orlando, Florida, where they raised two fantastic kids. Brett regards being a husband and father his two primary ministries. Armed with a degree in Psychology, Brett’s work career has included a counselor in a psychiatric ward, supervisor of a juvenile detention shelter, operations manager for a homeless shelter, and entrepreneur two times over in the financial services and software sectors. Brett joined Man in the Mirror in 2000 and has served as the president and CEO of Man in the Mirror since 2016. He has spoken to men and trained leaders for Man in the Mirror both in the U.S. and internationally. He co-authored, with Patrick Morley and David Delk, No Man Left Behind, which is now the basis for the ministry’s leadership training and discipleship coaching ministry. He also serves as an elder/lay pastor at his church in Sanford, Florida, where he enjoys teaching, leading a men’s group, and investing in the lives of his fellow pastors and the families in the church. Besides his family and church, Brett’s interests include reading and rock climbing, which is tough living in Central Florida! He also enjoys rooting for his Boston sports teams.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash


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