Most Christian leaders I know and read about want to have influence and impact for the honor of Jesus. These same leaders are always open to new ideas on how to better accomplish this. I’ve often said that if I get one new idea from a book I read, it was well worth the purchase. Carey Nieuwhof shares 6 ways to make a bigger impact with your life.

Originally posted by Carey Nieuwhof

So you want to make a difference—a bigger impact with your life.

I echo that. Most leaders want that. I do.

Here’s the question I wrestle with regularly these days: How will God use my life to accomplish something bigger than my pleasure, my comfort or my goals?

After all, without a higher calling claiming my time—a bigger sense of mission—that’s what I chase: my wants, my desire, my satisfaction.


Sometimes we think our significance is going to come from our work…and to some extent it does.

I’m one of the fortunate people who love what I get to do.

I know many people don’t love their work…which is tough.

Just know this about your job, as passionate or dispassionate as you may be about it: Your kids will never read your resume at your funeral.

As driven as we might be our jobs (and I’m driven by mine)…there is something higher: our calling.

Any idea what it is?

At the deepest level, it’s to love God and enjoy him forever. And for sure, it has something to do with serving others.

For me, it also means being an excellent husband, father, and friend. But eventually, your kids leave home…and then what—spend the rest of your life on date nights (although you should have MANY because they’re so awesome), lowering your handicap, soaking up the sun or winning your age category in a triathlon?

I mean, what’s your life about? 

To a large extent, you answer that question by how you spend your spare time. And yes, you have extra time. You’ve filled it up with something. 

Jon Acuff (an awesome follow btw) has chased his calling. Even while raising a very young family, he pursued his dream hard enough to be able to leave his day job for his dream job: he’s become a New York Times Best Selling author. Best yet, I know so many people who’s lives have been personally impacted by Jon’s writings.

It all started with how he used his spare time.

How are you spending yours

Here are 6 ways you can make a bigger impact with your life:


I have a friend who reads 40-50 books a year, while leading a large church full time and running a few ministries on the side? How?

He says he always has a book with him.

When he has 5 minutes or 10 minutes, he reads.

Whether you’re a reader or not, the point is excellent.

He fills the gap with meaning.

You have gaps every day.

  • When the kids are in bed.
  • When you’re stuck in traffic
  • When you’re waiting in line.
  • Between meetings.
  • While you’re waiting for someone to show up.

What are you doing with that time, other than checking Instagram or reading check out magazines that add zero value to your life?

Think. Journal. Pray.

Fill the gaps with meaning.


Any idea how much TV/Netflix do you watch?

It’s probably more than you’d like to admit.

I have never heard anyone say “TV changed my life. Watching TV is why my life is filled with passion and significance.”

But really…We’re giving those things a lot of hours.

Does binge-watching really make the world a better place? Will leveling up really leave a legacy?

I’m just asking.

We need to relax and enjoy, but in the same way that you are what you eat, you become what you consume.

So curb the junk.


The best quote on laziness I’ve encountered is this “Laziness is resting when you’re not tired.”

By all means sleep. Get 8 hours. 9. Seriously. Sleep is the secret weapon so many effective leaders carry.

And rest. Relax.

But there comes a point when resting stops being restorative and starts being self-indulgent.

Stop resting when you’re not tired.

Do something…meaningful.


Don’t miss point 3. Sleep. But do this by going to bed earlier, and then get up…early.

I wasn’t always a morning person, but I love being one now.

It’s when I do my best stuff.

I write messages, blog posts and write creative ideas down first thing in the morning.

Most of the people I know who are making a contribution with their life get up early.

Rising early is like beating rush hour traffic. You’ve got the road all to yourself.

Nobody’s emailing, texting or bothering you before 7 a.m.  As in pretty much nobody.

Your mind is fresh. It’s ready to go.

So go!


You’re going to need support on this journey.

People will call you driven. Crazy. Obsessed. Abnormal. Weird.

That’s okay. Let them not understand that you refuse to waste your life.

Not everybody understands, especially in this culture.

So find some friends who get it, and encourage each other. Whether they live in your neighbourhood or whether they live 1000 miles away is irrelevant. Just find some likeminded people.

And I have friends locally and all over the place who encourage and spur me on in life.

I love them and am so thankful for them!


You can’t be discouraged by current results.

Your impact usually can’t be measured now. So don’t be discouraged if you think you’re not making much of a difference.

Rarely will your 4-year-old stop you and say “Thanks for being such a wise father” or “Thanks for giving up ”.  If you expect the reward of parenting to come in the now, you’ll be badly disappointed. You might not make it to the end.

But inevitably as kids grow up, they often do come back and thank you for the investment they never saw when they were younger. And even if they don’t, well, you know you did the right thing.

So just keep doing the right thing. Every day.

Eventually, you’ll see the early indicators that you’re on the right track.

You may have to reset the course from time to time, but don’t despise small beginnings.

Keep going!