Can Purpose be a Problem? : Kelly Needham

Can Purpose be a Problem? - Kelly Needham - 69 - FrontStage BackStage with Jason Daye

As we are seeking to make a difference through our ministries, how should we navigate the tension between Kingdom ambition and Godly contentment? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Kelly Needham. Kelly has served in ministry for years as a Bible teacher, podcaster, and author. Her latest book is entitled Purposefooled. Together, Kelly and Jason explore how pursuing our purpose could potentially derail our ministry’s fruitfulness. Kelly also shares how a proper understanding of purpose helps us avoid sacrificing our well-being and instead, experience peace and rest as we serve.

Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!

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Additional Resource Links – Explore Kelly’s website now to discover her book, blog, and an array of valuable tools and resources designed to enrich your personal life and empower your journey in ministry.

Purposefooled: Why Chasing Your Dreams, Finding Your Calling, and Reaching for Greatness Will Never Be Enough – In her book, Kelly reveals how we’ve been fooled into chasing meaning in all the wrong places, identifies the source of our hunger for the extraordinary, and shows us the steps we can take today to build a purpose-filled reality without turning our lives upside-down.

Purposefooled Going Deeper Guide – Why Chasing Your Dreams, Finding Your Calling, and Reaching for Greatness Will Never Be Enough

Clearly Podcast – Jimmy and Kelly Needham help demystify the Bible and give you the tools to get out of the fog and see God for yourself. Clearly is a podcast where Scripture’s never dull, those tricky topics get tackled, and what’s blurry comes into focus.

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Key Insights and Concepts

  • Having meaning and purpose is essential, but misunderstanding it can be detrimental.
  • A worldly view of purpose usually is described by a verb and what someone does as opposed to one’s true God-given purpose, which is a Person… Jesus.
  • When your purpose is only defined by what you do, you can feel enslaved to that activity or accomplishment, which makes it difficult when obstacles arise.
  • In scripture, what is seen as great in the Kingdom is different than the worldly metrics that are often used to describe success.
  • Glorifying God and knowing Him is the first priority, secondary is serving others.
  • Fruitfulness will be grown in the lives of those who are abiding in Christ, not because of what they are doing, but because of who they are near.
  • Pastors and ministry leaders feel called to make an impact on their communities. This is good, but the impact must arise from the fruit produced through intimacy with God rather than the pursuit of achievement and accomplishment.
  • When people put themselves as the main character of their story, instead of God, it often puts pressure and value on their achievements rather than trusting the Lord and his purposes.
  • Technology makes it more tempting to chase results instead of Jesus because making comparisons to other churches and ministries is now so easy.
  • A ministry may look like it is struggling, average, or abundant, and regardless of its appearance, it still can be glorifying God. The key is honoring God and trusting God, no matter what the circumstances might be.
  • Jesus cares about the motives behind actions and that His people are following Him, not looking at the experiences or results of others.
  • Both the big and little acts of obedience are important. God sees the hearts of those serving him in ministry.

Questions for Reflection

  • How have I viewed my purpose and meaning so far? Do I feel like I’ve had an accurate view or a misunderstanding of it?
  • How would I describe the concept of “abiding in Christ”? What does that look like? How is this showing up in my life?
  • Do I ever feel enslaved to certain actions or outcomes? How can I find a balance between abiding in Him and doing the actions needed in ministry?
  • According to my understanding of scripture, what do I believe constitutes greatness in the Kingdom of God? How does that differ from the world’s metrics of success?
  • As a pastor or ministry leader, how do I prioritize staying close to God? How do these priorities impact the way I serve others?
  • What specific examples from my own experiences can I think of where fruitfulness resulted from abiding in God’s presence rather than solely relying on my efforts or actions?
  • As a pastor or ministry leader, how do I ensure that my desire to impact the community comes from my relationship with God rather than seeking praise or recognition from others?
  • How is our church impacting our local community? What is the source of this impact? Do we need to make any adjustments to the work we are doing? If so, what and how?
  • Have I ever struggled with putting myself as the main character in my own story? How can I shift the focus back to God being the main character when that happens?
  • How do I navigate the temptation to compare my ministry’s results with others, especially in the age of social media and technology? Is this something I struggle with regularly? Are there changes I need to make? If so, what will that look like for my life and ministry?
  • How do I currently view the concept of success in my ministry? How can I focus on glorifying God and trust Him more when it comes to perceived successes and failures? Do I find myself feeling at peace with my ministry, regardless of how others might perceive it? What adjustments, if any, do I need to make in this area?
  • Reflecting on Jesus’ emphasis on the motives of the heart, how do I assess my own intentions and actions in ministry? How can I ensure that I am following Him in all of it?
  • What acts of obedience do I need to be more mindful of as I strive to follow and glorify Jesus who is my purpose?

Full-Text Transcript

As we are seeking to make a difference through our ministries, how should we navigate the tension between Kingdom ambition and Godly contentment?

Jason Daye 
In this episode, I’m joined by Kelly Needham. Kelly has served in ministry for years as a Bible teacher, podcaster, and author. Her latest book is entitled Purposefooled. Together, Kelly and I explore how pursuing our purpose could potentially derail our ministry’s fruitfulness. Kelly also shares how a proper understanding of purpose helps us avoid sacrificing our well-being and instead, experience peace and rest as we serve. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Jason Daye 
Hello, friends, and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I am your host Jason Daye. And every single week I have the distinct privilege, the honor really to sit down with a trusted ministry leader and dive into a conversation all in an effort to help you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace a healthy, sustainable rhythm in both your life and ministry. And it is an honor, and I’m very excited about today’s conversation. And every single week not only do we dive into a conversation, but we also create an entire toolkit for you and for the ministry leaders in your local church to work through and to process through that helps you go deeper into the topic that we’re discussing today. And you can find that at We’re proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. And in there you will find resources, additional resources, you’ll find links to some of the things that we mentioned, you’ll also find a Ministry Leader’s Growth Guide. And this, again, will help you and the leaders at your local church develop and grow more deeply. And so we encourage you to avail yourself of that opportunity and check it out at And then our team at Pastor Serve, we love to walk alongside pastors and ministry leaders. And we are offering a complimentary coaching session. If you’d like to learn more about that, you can check that out at Now if you’re joining us on YouTube, please give us a thumbs up. And be sure to drop your name and the name of your church in the comments below. We absolutely love getting to know our audience better, and our team will be praying for you and for your ministry. Whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe or to follow because you do not want to miss out on any of these conversations. And as I said, I’m excited about today’s conversation. At this time, I’d like to welcome Kelly Needham to FrontStage BackStage. Welcome, Kelly!

Kelly Needham 
Thanks, Jason. I’m glad to be here!

Jason Daye 
Yeah, so good to have you with us. Kelly, you have recently written a new book. And in this book entitled Purposefooled, by the way very clever title. In this book, you tackle the idea of purpose. And for those of us in ministry, we really embrace the idea of purpose, right? It’s very much a part of who we are in so many ways. And, Kelly, in this book you advocate for caution when it comes to this idea of purpose because a misunderstanding of purpose can be a problem. And misunderstanding of purpose can actually be painful for us. And so Kelly, can you help us better understand, In what ways may we be fooled by this concept of purpose?

Kelly Needham 
Yeah, that’s it. That’s the question, the question of my book, the question of really the culture right now. If you just look around even and search on Amazon books on purpose, you’re gonna find hundreds and hundreds. A lot of us are asking the question. I think that, like a lot of things, half-truths are the trickiest. And we absolutely have purpose and meaning and not only do we have it, we need it to be okay, we need it to thrive. If you think about Viktor Frankl who wrote the book Man’s Search for Meaning about his experiences in a concentration camp, his conclusion was meaning keeps you alive. To lose a sense of meaning can actually affect you physically, and in his circumstance was a death sentence for some of his fellow concentration camp men that were around him. So we need meaning. The question is, where does it come from? And I think the reigning cultural theory is meaning comes from your verbs, what you do. What I do gives me meaning. By and large, we understand purpose to be what I was made to do. If you say what’s your purpose, most people are going to answer that with a verb. I was made to blank, to write, to pastor, to preach, I was made to be a mom, I was made to be a CEO or I have whatever we attach a lot of verbs to that sense of purpose. And I think that’s the problem. That’s where I would say we get a little bit off course. Because if we need to do something, to have purpose then we will always be enslaved to those things. I write books, right? I do think there are things in me that are giftings that God has given and entrusted and opportunities to write. But if my purpose is to write, then anything that gets in the way of my writing is like a huge obstacle. That’s my kids, if that sickness, if that’s an unplanned thing, like COVID. Now, I’m sequestered now to this corner of purposelessness, because I can’t do the thing I was made to do. And it feels that way to a lot of us. But I don’t think our purpose is in our verbs. I think we weren’t made to do something, I think we were made for a person. I think our purpose is a person. And I think you see that through all the pages of scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation and everything in between, you’ll see God say things like in Isaiah 43. These are my people who I formed for myself, not to do great things, but to know the great One. Which is why you see our very first command in the Scripture is to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength. Not to serve others, that comes second. First on the agenda is know me, because you’re made for me. Our purpose is a person. And that’s what I think is the truth that we’re sometimes missing, that can stabilize us through all of the ups and downs and shifts along the way of various verb changes that happen in our lives as we go through different seasons.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that Kelly. And when we think of this idea of ministry, as we enter into this, many of us really wrap ourselves around like you said, the verbs, right? Because we felt called into serving in ministry. And so we’re thinking about, Okay, well, what does that mean as far as what are we going to do vocationally? You know, what steps or what actions are we going to take? And oftentimes, when we think of purpose, we have these really idealized versions of what that might look like one day, right? And how God is going to use us. And we’re excited about that. But, oftentimes, our lives or ministries seem to fall short of these idealized visions of what it could be. So, as pastors and ministry leaders, how can we process our lives and our ministries in healthy ways, when things do not go as we may have thought or imagined they would?

Kelly Needham 
Well, I would say, welcome to the club, if that’s you, by the way. Even the most successful ministry leaders often have hidden failures that you can’t see and things that are not going well. So that I think is normative in a broken world, and just our expectations are usually sky-high. And that’s a good thing. We should expect big things from a big God, but he does not measure things the same way that we do. And when I think about even what I see, again, across the pages of Scripture, you see him calling John the Baptist the greatest man who ever lived, who was a man who had a very “short-lived” ministry that declined. And then he found himself imprisoned and beheaded. And Jesus would say, that’s a great man. You see him pull David out of the pasture, and go, that’s who I want, and everybody’s looking around going, what? This doesn’t make any sense. So God is clearly using a different type of measuring stick and what success is, what is impressive, what is praiseworthy, and what is magnificent. And I think what you see is that measuring stick that thing that is the thing that is impressive in heaven’s eyes is what is magnifying God, what is glorifying God, I think the glory of God is really the most valuable thing in the world, and therefore, the real thing that’s gonna measure a sense of value for us. And that means that there are people in the world who you and I don’t know about, who have very small numbers in their ministry, very small impact as far as numerical, measurable, visible growth, but yet, the eyes of Heaven may look and peek over and look down on that and go oh, that is the most impressive thing happening right now. That day laborer in India, who is trusting me day after day with hard things and sharing the gospel with who they get to walk beside each day, right? Or that parent who is just scraping by but is trusting me and preaching the gospel to their kids and leaning in, or that person suffering from that illness who’s offering it to me. I mean, we just don’t know and that type of, to get back to your question, how do we make it through the ministry expectations we had and when they’re failing? I have found I have to really retrain my imagination, steal it back from the culture a little bit from social media, what I’ve maybe seen as impressive and glorious, and go, Okay, God doesn’t see that way. Obviously. He weighs things differently. Who is he impressed with? I’m going to daydream about that a little bit, and then go, I’m going to find myself in the company of the saints who are after the glory of God in our own hearts and the lives of others today. It’s okay to long for something impressive. I think there’s an ache in all of us for grandeur and greatness. And I think Jesus honors that when people are asking about that, his disciples are asking about that, he gives real answers. But his answers are different. And so I have to retrain my imagination. And remember that ultimately, He is the valuable one, not me. And so far as my life shines a light on that, then my life is exceeding maybe the expectations even that I had for it, even if it’s not impressive to the world or Instagrammable. Or if anyone here knows about it. This audience will fade away. But there is an audience that will ask not just our Lord, but the heavenly, the watching heavenly realm.

Jason Daye 
Yes, that’s good, Kelly. And I appreciate that. I think that’s helpful. I do want to press in a bit because I think one of the things that we wrestle with in ministry is attention. And you brought it up there, this idea that we aspire, and view aspirations of grandeur and those types of things, and not necessarily in a selfish way, right? We stepped into ministry, we feel called into ministry. And so there’s this tension between what we might call a kingdom ambition, like, hey, there’s an urgency here, people are lost or struggling or broken. We know who can bring healing and wholeness to their life. So there’s this kingdom ambition, like, Man, I want to make a huge impact because this is real, right? We also have very important biblical teachings around the idea of contentment, right? And so we have this tension and they’re like sparring partners almost. Kingdom ambition and this idea of contentment. So how do we hold those tensions? How do we work through those senses of urgency and in wanting to share the Good News of Jesus and wanting to see people come to wholeness and healing in their lives, and feeling like man, the more of that I can do, in our minds think, hey, the more that I can do, the more people that come to Christ, the more people that get to experience that. So we have that on one side, but then we also have the contentment side of our ministry and our life. And we don’t want to burn out and we don’t want to destroy our families, because we’re chasing. So there are these two pieces. And sometimes it’s hard to discern, sometimes it’s hard to navigate, I think very much so in ministry. I can tell story after story, personal stories of myself and stories of so many other ministry friends, brothers and sisters serving the kingdom who have wrestled with that tension. So talk to us a little bit, help us with that tension.

Kelly Needham 
Yeah. Well, I think the desire to want to make a difference is a good desire. So I think it’s good to start there and say, the fact that we want our lives to count and matter for something is good. We were made pre-fall, in the garden, before Satan has entered in chapter three, Adam and Eve were given work to do, work that mattered. So, like, having work to do that matters and is making a difference is built into who we are. So I think that is good. But then you have this other tension post-fall, right, after sin enters, that we really can’t do anything at all on our own. So Jesus will say this in John 15, right, apart from Me, you can do nothing. So, again, we have kind of some bad news we have to deal with there of what does it mean that Jesus would look at human doing and say, unless it’s done through Me, it’s nothing. I mean, just think about that. Think about the human achievements in the world that are done apart from Christ, people that are not believers, that Jesus is looking at saying it’s nothing, which is a little scary for me. And it’s actually been a good thing to meditate on to go Okay, so there are things that I can do that are visible, impact other lives, leave some ripple effects. And in the final analysis in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus could look at it and say, it’s nothing. Ooh, that’s like not how I define nothing. I define nothing as sitting at home doing nothing. But right here you see in John 15 him saying, abide. Abide in me and you’ll bear fruit, to just be with him, to stay with him, to remain with him. He’s saying fruit’s going to come whether you try or not. But if you get away from me, no matter how hard you work, it’s going to be nothing apart from me, you can do nothing. Which tells me the only real doer in the world, making a difference is Jesus. That He really is the active agent here. He does not need us, but he has built us to be a part of it and wants us. So it is right to want to make a difference. But just again, his definitions are so different in what is actually making a difference, what is actually valuable, and what’s actually lasting. And that’s helped give me a category for knowing God is productive. Knowing God, being still in his presence is not a forsaking of impact on the world for the sake of Christ. Because he’s told me my first job is to essentially be a recipient, to be a receiver, to receive from Him, to be with Him, to abide with him, to make my main goal to just stay close to Him. And as I do, he’s promised that fruit will come in my life. Because that’s really what we want in ministry, right? We want fruitfulness. Real kingdom fruitfulness, right? But fruitfulness comes from being plugged in. And so as soon as my ministry endeavors, and I know pastors feel this, I’m married to a pastor. As soon as I have a book to write, and an article to write, and an interview to do, and all of that is stealing me away from time abiding with Jesus, there should be a caution flag waving for me to go, you can keep doing those things and they may look lovely, and they may be postable on Instagram, and other people may look at it and applaud it. But is the fruit there in the way that I would want it to be, in the way it’s going to last in the final analysis, as Paul talks about in Corinthians that it’s all going to be tested by fire? I want my work to stand. And that starts with abiding that starts with receiving from him and loving him. That means I have permission to do that, and an obligation to do that. And know that that urgency I feel has to go through that channel. It cannot bypass that. The urgency is real. But I am not God, I still have to start as a recipient of His grace, and his ministering to me to even have a chance at making an impact. It has to start with plugging in first.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that. And as we look at that, Kelly, it kind of brings us back to this idea, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, of trust, right? Because oftentimes, our ambitions and our intentions, as good as they are, oftentimes, we pull the trust from God and we put it in our own efforts, you know? And that’s why we feel that sense of urgency. That’s why it’s hard for so many of us to rest well, right? And I’m preaching to myself right here, you know? I mean, it can be challenging because we are thinking there are things that have to be done, you know what I mean? This needs to be done. This is good stuff that needs to be done. So, share with us a little bit about what have you found as you really dove into this idea of purpose, right? I mean, you spent a lot of time researching and writing. What is kind of the relationship that you’ve uncovered between trust and this idea of purpose that we wrestle with?

Kelly Needham 
I think when I make this shift from a cultural understanding of purpose, my purpose is something that I do, to my purpose is a person. One of the biggest things that’s happening in that shift is I am being dethroned as the main character in my life. If my purpose is to write, we’ll use that as an example, who’s doing the writing? I am. I am the main character in the story and therefore the pressure is on me to do it. I have to be doing the thing because I need to live up to my potential. I need to do the thing that I was made to do so that I actually accomplish all God has for me or intends for me to do in this world. I am now the main character, the pressure’s on. Better not screw it up. Better not do it wrong. Better have the impact that you want. And I think we feel that pressure. And I think because we’re in the main character spot. But as I meditate on the reality that my purpose is actually a person, I was made for God. That means he’s now the main character of my life, which again, the Bible attests to. He’s been active in our life before we were conscious before the foundation of the world, I chose you. He’s had thoughts and plans for us before we were able to form sentences. He is the main character in my life. And that means I am fully at his disposal, I am free to be used by him however he would prefer me to be used. If that means he would like to entrust me with suffering and illness and he would like for the next 10 years of my life to be filled with verbs of receiving care from others, that I’m now free to receive that from him, even if the world doesn’t see that as impactful, even if it doesn’t appear to make a difference. If the main character of my life is entrusting me with a detour like that, or a curveball, I’m free to receive that and trust Him that He has good things for me. And he intends to make every life fruitful, that is trusting him, right, in a life that’s abiding in him. But it also frees me to just spend ample time knowing him, being with him. My purpose is him. That means my life should be more about knowing than doing. It should be more about enjoying God and who he is than it is about doing something for him. Now, it sounds really lovely to say, but it’s actually terrible to practice. Doing feels so much better. It’s so much more fun to be in the main character role, at first. And then we get burnt out, and then we get tired. But it is fun to do for God. It’s really hard to know God, to spend our effort mining the depths of his character and who he is, and enjoying him, and giving our private worship to Him. But that’s priority number one for us who have been brought into the fold of Christ, he’s told us that. This is job number one. He doesn’t say love your neighbor with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength. He says love Me with all your soul, all your heart, all your mind. I mean, he’s giving the emphasis on give yourself to knowing me. And I think that implies a level of trust. Do I trust God as the main character in my story? Do I trust him enough to take a backseat, to let him be the one driving the twists and turns of my life? How many of us have started ministry with ambitions to do something and then it just turns left or right or up or down? You don’t expect to get pregnant, or your wife to get pregnant when she did, or you don’t expect your child to have that illness. You don’t expect to care for your parents or for this thing to happen in your church context, or that conflict to blow up. And it’s so hard when your ambition and your purpose feel tied to a type of activity because when that gets derailed, it can feel so disillusioning. But again, that all hinges on I’m the main character. But if I can let God take that seat and trust that he is in the driver’s seat, and he wants good for me, I can receive each season from Him and ask Him for the faith, to live that out, to trust him in it. And again, that’s what the Bible will, in the end, in the last days, right, this is what it will elevate. Not whose church grew the most. But who was walking by faith? Hebrews 11, right? Who is it upholding? By faith, this person did that. But if you read the verbs, pay attention to the verbs of what they’re doing by faith. It’s like the plainest things ever, mostly right? Abraham left home. Okay. Abraham and Sarah waited. Cool. That’s hard. You know, you see Abel offered something. He worshipped God, he went to church, and offered something by faith. I mean, all the verbs in that chapter are very, like, simple. But when done by faith, all of Heaven stops and applauds. And I think that’s what we have to remind ourselves that we’re after is not a type of worldly success with Christ tagged on to it, but a true Christian success that would say, God’s the main character in my life, walking by faith is the main goal. Whether my church looks impressive to the world or doesn’t, I’m not after that. I’m after and trusting myself to God, knowing that he will make every effort I entrust to him bear fruit in this life, or after I die, or in ways that I can’t understand until later. I think being after the fruitfulness matters. But gosh, we have to trust him along the way to take that seat as a driver. You know, that’s hard. That’s really, it’s really hard to do.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, yeah. Love that, Kelly. And that brings us to the place where we can rest, where we can relax, right? Because it’s not all tied to our verbs, our activities, right? So it’s like that fruitfulness, we can’t cause fruit to just, you know, pop out. We’ve got to trust God and we’ve got to rest. So it gives us in a way, doesn’t lead us to necessarily complacency, but it helps us not put the pressure on our shoulders because, you know, Jesus said, hey, you know, my yoke is light, he’s like, Hey, you’re not to carry that burden, right? So I love that. Now, one of the things that you lean into in your book Purposefooled, and you touch on is this idea of technology. And I think this is something that pastors and ministry leaders wrestle with when it comes to feeling like they’re making a difference. You know, I mean, feeling like they’re living out their calling, that sort of thing. And I know it impacts everybody, but I think for ministry leaders it can be really challenging. You have a rough Sunday or a rough weekend of worship gatherings, right? And then you jump on Instagram and you’re seeing these crazy, amazing things happening in other places. Friends who are in ministry or other things happening, and you just have feelings, that just don’t feel great. Right? So talk to us a little bit, Kelly, about this idea of technology and how you have seen technology shaping or swaying or impacting or manipulating in some way, our our feelings or understandings around purpose or making that difference.

Kelly Needham 
Yeah. Well, I think the biggest temptation I face personally with that, and I think would probably be true of all of us, is technology tempts me to follow results, not follow the man, not follow Jesus. You know, this is a little bit of what you see in John chapter 21, the end of the chapter in the book of John, where Jesus has just told Peter how he’s going to die. And he says, by your death, you’ll glorify Me. This is how you’re gonna glorify Me in this type of death. And he looks at John and says a lot about him, like, it’s looking at the other person next to you going well, what about that person? What about the fruit of their life? And we know John lives longer than all the other apostles. And Jesus says that, What is it to you if I keep them around till I return? You follow me. He reminds him Your job is follow me. And if I lead you to glorify Me in dying, then you do that. And if I lead him to glorify Me in living, then he’s to do that. The results are on my shoulders, I control that, not you. And that means some of us in ministry will glorify God in the death of our ministries. And some of us will glorify God in the abundance of growth of our ministries. And the temptation is, through technology, we’re now able to see those side by side in ways that we never were before. I mean, before technology, we were kind of running in our own lanes, you maybe were aware of other churches in your own local city, but that was pretty much it. Now, we’re aware of churches on the other side of the globe and ministries all over the place. And so the temptation is to look at those and go, but Jesus, I want that result. I’m going to chase that result, I’m going to chase that thing. And he essentially tells us not to do that. You follow me, and that could look like death, could look like growth, could look like a combination of both. That’s not for you to decide. I’m not asking you to decide that, to worry about it, to concern yourself with it, I’m only asking you to follow me. And I think in that implicit “follow me” is, kind of, “obey me”. The basics, right? Love God, to walk by faith, to abide with him, the basic commands we see in the scriptures, to love our families, to care for our cities, to forgive, like, are we doing all those things every day, those very clear commands? Then we can know we’re following him. And if that leads to something kind of average, in the world’s eyes, then may our hearts grow in faith to say, Amen. Let me be an average writer for God, if that’s what he wants from me, let me be a bad one if that’s what he wants for me. You know, I don’t know, but am I walking by faith, obeying Him, and following him? It’s hard to say it, but I want to be, I want to find myself in John chapter 21 with a “yes” in my heart. When I asked Jesus, what about my friend on Instagram, that when he says, Don’t worry about it, you follow me. What is it to you if I do something different with you? That he would grow in me the strength of faith to say, Yes, Lord, I follow you and I entrust my life to you, and you are free to do with it what you want because you bought it with your blood. And so you don’t need me. You just need that offering. And I have the hope of a future justification of my labor because I think we want to be seen in that and Jesus cares about it and he does say, One day all motives of man will be exposed. Which means we’re gonna see for real one day who was really walking by faith and they will be honored. And there may be people with huge ministries here on Earth, and when we meet them in heaven the tables will turn, right? We’ll see church leaders or ministry leaders that no one knew about on earth that we’re going to see such accolades bestowed on them. And we will love it and rejoice in it because we love the justice of God. But gosh, I just want to live with that in mind and not our earthly thing. So, that’s the temptation I feel with Instagram and with social media and technology is to chase someone else’s results instead of chasing Jesus, to run after him. I’m called to run my race eyes fixed on Him, not on my neighbor, and not on the fruit. But just on him. And let him decide what he wants to do with my life. Easier said than done. You need community, you need other people around you to bolster you in that. Can’t do it on your own. But I face that all the time. Anytime you step your foot into any kind of public ministry, pastoring, writing books, or any of that, you are putting your toe in the water of that temptation that’s always there to see results as the measuring stick and not Am I following him?

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s good, Kelly, I love that. As we kind of wrap down this conversation, it’s been absolutely incredible. I would love to give you an opportunity, Kelly, just to speak some words of encouragement to brothers and sisters serving on the front lines, you know, Kingdom workers. What words of encouragement would you have for them?

Kelly Needham 
Man, I would say this, please know that what you’re doing matters. That means if what you did on a Sunday morning in your church was you bent down and talked to a child who came in with their parent because you’re working so hard to not care about results, but to care about the people coming through your door. Gosh, would you know that that is weighty in God’s eyes and in the heart of a child or a parent? Or if what you did was made a hospital visit this week. That was part of what your congregation needed you to do. And it took away from a lot of the other time you wanted to spend that week, making your message just polished and perfect and all the ways you knew it could be great. But instead, you let it be average so that you could care for somebody in need because you knew that was your priority. Gosh, that matters. That is so valuable. You are pushing back darkness and choosing an otherworldly supernatural way, and not the way of the world. That all those little decisions that you’re making in your ministry decisions that are countercultural, and no one sees them, it’s in the motivation of your own heart. It’s those little decisions you’re making, that you would know that God sees, that he says in the secret there is an audience, right? That we’re called to care about those motives, because, in the secret place of our motives, God is watching. And he is pleased with those little acts of obedience, and they do matter to him. And so that would be my encouragement is to know that each little thing, gosh, does it matter? It’s so important. And God will not fail to use each one of those efforts to bear more fruit than you probably have even the ability to understand what and in which ways it will be fruitful. But it will. And to keep going, to keep being faithful to do those good works that are set before you knowing that God will make good on those offerings of worship, and he will make them fruitful. And even if no one sees but him. It’s so worth it. And it’s so valuable to him.

Jason Daye 
I love that. Great word, sister. Absolutely love that. Kelly, it’s been great to chat with you. Real quickly before we go, tell us, because you have a podcast along with your new book. What’s the best way for people to connect with you or connect with your ministries? Find your book?

Kelly Needham 
Well, you can, my husband and I do a podcast called the Clearly Podcast. So you can check us out there. And I am on Instagram and I wrestle with it all the time. So you’ll see posts on there of speech therapy I’m doing with my son, as well as like, oh, look, these books came in. And so I’m trying to tow that online in my life of the very strange mixed bag of verbs that I have and walk that out. So you can follow me there. And yeah, either of those places would be a good place to start.

Jason Daye 
Awesome. Excellent. And we’ll have links to Kelly’s podcast with her husband, and also to Purposefooled, her new book. So you can find that and ways that you can connect with her in the toolkit for this week’s episode. You can find that So we’ll have all those resources there for you. So be sure to check that out. Kelly again, thank you so much for making time to hang out with us, to share your heart. Thank you for just some deep words of wisdom and just reminders, gentle reminders, and encouragement for us as we serve in ministry. So much appreciated. So thank you for being with us.

Kelly Needham 
Thanks, Jason.

Jason Daye 
God bless you.

Jason Daye
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at That’s And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.

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