If you’ve ever wondered if your life or ministry is making a difference, read this.


Have you ever wondered if your life on this planet really makes any difference? Do you occasionally doubt whether or not you matter in the grander scheme of things? Maybe you’ll admit that you’re important to your spouse or your family or your close friends…but beyond that, you’re not too sure.

When I was a pastor I wondered things like this all the time, but my questioning mostly revolved around my role as a minister or my church. I knew I was suppose to be making disciples but I wasn’t always sure that I was. My church was suppose to be growing, and sometimes it was, but often it was not. I’d invest time in some person and then they would fall away, freak out, leave the church, or all of the above. Was my preaching really changing lives? Was I making a difference, did I matter?

I don’t pastor a church anymore. Most of you know that after almost 30 years I quit (I prefer to call it ‘retired’) and went into the field of coaching. You’d think that after seven years of coaching pastors and church leaders that questioning whether or not my life is making an impact would be long gone. But you’d be wrong.

Occasionally I still have my doubts. Sometimes a pastor’s church is so dysfunctional that I am at a loss as to how to help. Once in a while I fear that I am not really helping the ones I talk to that much. Add to this that they are paying me and sometimes I ask myself, “Are they really getting their moneys worth?”

Not too long ago, while thinking about this and journaling, the thought came to me, maybe it was God, maybe just me:

If only one life has breathed easier because I have lived, then I have lived.

Are you down in the dumps? Are you wondering whether or not you and your church is making a difference? If so, take some time to quietly and honestly make up a list of people you know that you have helped, people who breathed a bit easier after talking to you. This might be just enough to help you climb out of that dumpster.

If only one life has breathed easier because you have lived, then you have lived.