How to Harness the Power of Your Defining Moment Experience

Sep 13, 2022
How to Harness the Power of Your Defining Moment Experience

So, was there a situation or experience that started you on the journey to creating income outside the church through your own business or side hustle? How can you harness the power of this defining moment experience into your long-term success? We’ll talk about it in this edition of the more than a pastor show. Let’s get started.

Hello my friend! Welcome to the More Than a Pastor Show. I’m your host, Rich Avery. This is where we help pastors leverage your ministry know-how into sustainable income outside of the church, through a business or side hustle that’s right for you. So you can serve God and provide for your family, no matter what.

If you’re a pastor who feels called to something more in your life, work, and income, you’re in the right place! It’s great to see you today. Thanks for joining me - it really means a lot.

If you’re new to the show, you can learn more about me, get the show notes for today’s episode, and download tools and resources to help you launch and grow your business or side hustle at for episode 32.

So, was there a “defining moment” situation or experience that started you on the journey to creating income outside the church through your own business or side hustle?

Or if you’re not familiar with the term defining moment, you might be saying, Rich, tell me what it is…and I’ll tell you if I’ve had one or not.

What is a Defining Moment?

A defining moment has been described as a point in your life when you're urged to make a pivotal decision, or when you experience something that fundamentally changes you.

These moments often come to define us and shape our perceptions (our mindset or worldview) and behaviors (our actions). Life looked one way, and then something happened, and now we see life from a different perspective.

Defining moments can be positive or negative. Internal or external.

Defining moments can be big things like:

  • An encounter with God
  • A decision to follow Christ
  • Accepting our call to vocational ministry
  • A health scare
  • An injustice or wrong in the world
  • An accident or near-death experience
  • The loss of our spouse, child, or parent
  • The loss of a job
  • September 11 (which we commemorated just a couple of days ago)
  • COVID lockdowns

And they can be seemingly smaller, though no less significant, things like a:

  • Conversation
  • Frustration or discontent with a situation
  • Realization that we’re not satisfied with where we’re at right now in our life, and a desire for something more.

Of course the Bible gives us dozens and dozens of examples of people who experienced defining moments:

  • Adam and Eve
  • Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph
  • Moses
  • Esther
  • Ruth
  • Samuel
  • David
  • Isaiah
  • Elijah and Elisha
  • The Disciples
  • Paul

I’m sure you’ve had a defining moment that led to your decision to follow Christ and the acceptance of your call to vocational ministry.

But I wonder, is there a defining moment that has birthed within you the desire to create income outside of your church, through your own business or side hustle?

Perhaps something like a:

  • Situation or disappointment at church that has created discontent?
  • Frustration with your family’s current financial situation?
  • Realization that God is calling you to a different future…one where you’ll use your talents and skills in vocational ministry and in the marketplace?
  • Belief that the traditional church funding model is becoming unsustainable for many churches, and you want to prepare now for changes that will inevitably come?
  • Something else?


Defining Moments Don't Guarantee Our Success

Defining moments are powerful because they prompt a change or action within us. But they don’t guarantee our success.

Unfortunately, defining moments don’t automatically sustain us and keep us moving toward the future we desire.

Have you ever known anyone who went on a mission trip, and they had a defining moment experience that promised to change their life forever, and then a few weeks or months after the mission trip…nothing has really changed?

Or a student who goes to a youth retreat and responds to a call to vocational ministry, and then a few months later, ministry is the farthest thing from their mind.

Or someone responds to an altar call during one of your sermons, ready to surrender to God’s will for their life, and a few months later they’re back to “not thy will, but mine be done?”

How does this happen?

In each of these situations, someone had an experience with God, a defining moment which led them to respond to something new that God wanted to birth within them.

But they didn’t harness the power of that defining moment into long-term change.

So they got back home after the mission trip, youth retreat, or church service, allowed a little time to pass, didn’t identify or take next steps to translate that moment into long-term change. And soon, the change they committed themselves to is no longer on the radar.

How to Harness the Power of Your Defining Moment Experience

But the good news is that defining moments CAN be sustained long-term and launch us forward to our preferred future, if we can harness their power.

I’ve shared before that I have always dreamed of entrepreneurship, and wrestled for a long time, early in my ministry, with the question of whether God had called me to be a pastor or an entrepreneur.

I knew I had been called to be a pastor, and that call had been affirmed many times, leading to my ordination in 2005.

But I also had a strong sense that I was called to be more than a pastor. Because I had these entrepreneurial passions and interests that just wouldn’t go away. And I had a desire to provide more for my wife and 5 children than what my ministry salary could provide.

And then one day, during a time of desperate prayer over all my frustration and wrestling, God settled the question for me once and for all, when I felt him ask me, “Rich, where did you get the idea that I’m asking you to choose one over the other?”

It was, for me, a defining moment.

One where I received a vision of what my life calling could look like as a pastor and an entrepreneur.

But I discovered pretty quickly that doubts and fears can still creep in, even when you have a clear vision. And self-limiting beliefs can hold us back from pursuing the calling God has for us..

Thankfully, along the way, I discovered five steps that helped me harness the power of this defining moment and keep me moving forward toward long-term success.

  1. Define your defining moment. Grab your journal or computer and write out in vivid detail what the defining moment situation was, and how it made you feel.
  2. What changes or actions were being prompted by God within you as a result? And why do you think these are important for you?
  3. What feelings, emotions, or self-limiting beliefs could hold you back, if you let them, from achieving the change you desire?
  4. Who or what could help you overcome the things that could hold you back?
  5. What is the next step you’re reasonably sure you should take right now?

What do you think about these 5 steps for harnessing the power of your defining moment? Please share your feedback in our More Than a Pastor community on Facebook at

Well, that’s it for today’s show. Before we go, would you do me a favor and hit like, share, or subscribe if you haven’t already done so. Also, what topics would you like me to cover on a future episode? Please let me know.

In the next episode…

How Pastors Can Earn Extra Money With a Podcast

Until then, remember that you are more than a pastor. Saying yes to God’s call doesn’t mean you have to say yes to feeling stuck, broke, or unfulfilled in your life and ministry. Let’s work together to help you create the life, impact, and income you were made for.