Tyler Brown’s Story Proves God Has Big Things Planned for You

Doug Bender

December 14, 2023 | 2 minute read

In school, I always got the lowest grades in English class. Reading, writing and grammar did not come naturally to me. I never could figure out where commas should go or why so many words fail to follow the rules. Even when I got to high school, I preferred physics exams over writing assignments. Yet, somehow, I now have a career in writing.

I also struggled with some extreme social anxieties in my younger years. I have clear memories of schoolmates coming up to me to say hello and I would just turn around and walk the other direction. I wanted to talk with them. I wanted to be friends. But everything in me was just filled with fear. I’m not sure what I feared, exactly. But I figured walking away and abruptly exiting the social interaction was the safest decision. Yet, somehow, I am also now a pastor whose job it is to talk and interact with people.

As I look back on my life, I can clearly see how God utilized my weaknesses to best serve him. What I currently do in my ministry work doesn’t line up with what I thought my strengths were. But perhaps that’s exactly what the Bible meant when it said that God’s power is made perfect in weakness.”

I see the same theme in the latest I Am Second White Chair Film, featuring Tyler Brown. I don’t imagine many people who knew or saw Tyler in his lowest moment ever thought that his life would amount to much. I doubt his coaches thought the guy who smoked weed instead of showing up at practices had much of a future. And I’m sure those who saw him homeless never thought, “One day, this guy will do big things for God.”

But God does not see people the way we see people. When we look at mistakes and see failure, God sees forgiveness. When we look at a person’s history and think there is no future, God sees the potential for new life. We look at weakness and see impossibilities. But God sees weaknesses and sees the opportunity to let his power shine through his people. 

When Tyler gave his life to Jesus he quickly signed up for Bible school and headed towards a life in ministry. While he found some usefulness in that educational process, he quickly learned that God doesn’t need a piece of paper from a school to ordain his ministers. I, too, went to Bible school and learned the same lesson. I enjoyed the process, learned a lot but what I learned most clearly is that God has his own training program. (And he can use anyone!)

Most of God’s work involves rather simple practices. He calls us to love our neighbors, to love mercy and to share the good news of Jesus with others. None of these activities take great skill or high levels of education. There are some simple tools or steps you can practice that can make sharing Jesus with others easier. (We provide some simple training here). But you do not need any special gifting or education to do big things for God.

If you’ve ever wondered, as I often did, if God can do anything useful with your life, I hope you watch the Tyler Brown film. Looking at my own journey, I can affirm Tyler is not the exception to God’s usual process. God loves to use ordinary, messed up and overlooked people to do extraordinary things. 

God has big plans for you, no matter your past, your lack of skills or your mistakes. Trust him. Follow him. Walk forward with a willing heart. And, of course, reach out for some help.

ias_2101 IAS Donation Ad V2_Email Banner Man


Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

Search for what you’d like to read about