The Art of Living on Purpose with Purpose

This post was written by Angie Hooie, a member of the INCM Blog team.

Ministry brings with it overwhelming needs and demands coming at us from all directions, and, many times, out of control schedules. Sometimes, I can feel like I’m operating out of the tyranny of the urgency instead of what is actually most important at the time. What I’ve found to be true is if we continue to operate out of the frenzied busyness that ministry life brings, that will lead to our eroding effectiveness, tired hearts, and burnout.

So, what’s been my solution to a more focused and effective workflow? I first came across the concept of “Intentional Living,” developed by Steve Hudson, when I was brand new in full-time ministry. Intentional Living is defined as a journey toward greater effectiveness in life and ministry based on a conviction that you want to maximize the gifts God has given you and the life God has entrusted to you for His sake.

Living intentionally, on purpose with purpose, is not about being busy or keeping busy. Let’s face it, we are all busy. Living intentionally isn’t even about activity, because activity doesn’t always equal results. It’s about greater personal effectiveness in the kingdom of God.

Accidental Living vs. Intentional Living

Accidental living is living moment to moment, feeling harried, doesn’t involve advanced planning. Accidental living is busy without any defined key priorities and allows life to make choices about your schedule. Accidental living does not distinguish between mission critical and what’s not mission critical.

In contrast, intentional living is a life with structure, seldom harried, and has mega advanced planning. Intentional living thoughtfully distinguishes between the truly important and other demands of life, schedules life around the key priorities, and has a mission that drives the schedule. 

There are 5 keys to living intentionally.

1. Guard Your Heart. It is part of your job to stay connected to Jesus. No one is going to do it for you. Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 4:19; Matthew 22:372.

2. Minister from Your Strengths. Intentional people understand how God has made them. They play to their strengths and find ways to shore up their weaknesses. 1 Corinthians 12:18-20; Ephesians 4; Romans 9:20-21 

If you don’t know your strengths, here are 5 questions and some assessments to help you get to know yourself better. Journal your responses and consider taking the inventories.

  • How has God gifted you? If you’re unsure, do a Spiritual Gifts Assessment.
  • What do you enjoy doing? What do you do exceptionally and uniquely well?
  • How has God made you? Consider investing in some personality assessments, including CliftonStrengths, Enneagram, and Myers-Briggs.
  • Passion – What do you care deeply about? What do you enjoy doing?  What do you want to get after?
  • What ministry calling did God give you?

In addition to knowing your strengths, you also need to assess your weaknesses. Here are some steps to help you live intentionally as you work on them.

  • Determine your most glaring weaknesses.
  • Practice using a strength to overcome a weakness.
  • Create accountability with a friend or family member to work on your weaknesses.
  • Just stop doing it. It takes 21 days to start or stop a time-wasting habit. Give it a shot.

3. Determine the Big Rocks. In Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he uses the illustration of trying to fill a jar with big rocks, gravel, sand and water. The order matters. If you start with the water and sand, the big rocks don’t fit. You have to start with the big rocks to fit all the elements in the container.

Likewise, intentional living requires us to name our own “big rocks” and make space for them in life. Your big rocks are the areas in your life that you believe you are wired for, made for, and are absolutely essential for you to do. These are your missions, vision, values, and principles.

4. Connect the Compass to the Clock. With intentional living, you will quickly realize a gap between what you want to do, and what you’re actually doing. In order to “mind the gap,” you need to “put the compass to the clock.”  “The compass” is how we lead our lives through our values, mission, vision, principles, and directions. “The clock” is how we manage our time through commitments, appointments, activities, and schedules.

5. Develop a Rhythm. Steve Hudson says that developing an annual plan contributes to a life intentionally lived around who God made us to be and what success looks like. These include:

  • Devotion – A daily unhurried personal time with Jesus
  • Rest – A weekly Sabbath when you can rest and refresh yourself focusing on God
  • Evaluation – A monthly spiritual realignment day where you take your tasks and ministry before God and ask questions about what worked, what didn’t and what needs to change.
  • Planning – An annual three-day retreat to pray and think through the past year and the priorities for the coming year. (I personally use the yearly Hello/Goodbye practice created by Jo Saxton and Pastor Stephanie O’Brien.)

For me, I schedule out my personal time with Jesus every morning, choose a day for spiritual realignment each month, and keep a Sabbath each week. I also make sure that I have accountability with this through my husband and my friends.

Conclusion

Intentional Living is thoroughly biblical. It is not a one-time event. It focuses more on the future than the present. It is a dependence on God. It is designed to help you fulfill your God given life mission. It is also an ongoing journey to greater effectiveness in life and ministry. I would suggest to you that being in ministry makes intentional living a top priority because the stakes are eternal.


About Angie

Angie has been married for over 21 years, and has 3 kids. She has been volunteering in children’s ministry for over 20 years, and was called into vocational ministry 7 years ago. She oversees 3 campuses and has been deeply involved in growing and expanding her church’s special needs ministry.

More Posts

Kids talking in a group

10 Scary Things That Today’s Kids Think

This article was written by Chuck Peters, Director of Lifeway Kids. My team and I have done a deep dive into research on Gen Z and Generation Alpha to help Kids and Student Ministry leaders better understand how we can best reach the next generation with the gospel. The research

Read More >

Creating a Children’s Ministry Assistant Job with Your Role in Mind

Ministries that are growing can encounter new challenges and opportunities. Throughout the history of God’s people, spiritual leaders have needed to expand their influence by raising up leaders to help maintain existing and new responsibilities. In Exodus 18, Jethro encouraged Moses to expand his leadership team by creating many assistant

Read More >

Planning Outreach Events for Greater Impact

A leader only has a few opportunities to put on events that impact their external community. You may only get 2-3 chances a year to do an outward-facing family-friendly event, inviting people from your town or region. Hopefully, these considerations will help improve the impact of your events.

Read More >

Three Reasons Ministry Leaders Can’t Ignore Digital Discipleship

This is an excerpt from “Time to Update: 7 Areas to Integrate Digital Discipleship into Your Children’s Ministry Strategy” by Brittany Nelson, creator of DeeperKidMin.com and INCM Partner. There are many positive and negative opinions about the next generation’s obsession with the digital world and how the digital world is

Read More >
INCM

Get Your Free Creating Moments Guide!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Join the list, and we'll send you more info on coaching.

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Join the list, and we'll send you the INCM Member invite!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Video Devotional & More!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Prayer Experience Guide!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Felt Safety for Kids Guide!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Trauma Assessment Resource!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Get Your Free Policy Review Framework!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Receive Encouragement, Get Exclusive Offers, and Much More

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.

Be the first to hear about the coaching release in 2020!

By submitting the form, you're opting in to marketing emails from INCM. Your email is 100% safe.