“I didn’t know any better…until I read God’s word for myself and got under solid biblical teaching. It was then that I began to grow and truly understand God and His word.”
The first time that I heard about Allen Parr was through his incredibly sweet and driven wife, Jennifer. After a couple of years of not seeing each other, we linked up in Washington, D.C. and over dinner, she told me the story about a particular God-fearing and kind gentleman, whom she met at church, and who had stolen her heart! Jennifer was all smiles, what spoke to me from our conversation was that, this man she had met, was really showing her and teaching her about the love of Christ through his commitment to God. I was not only impressed my Jennifer’s grown as a person, but was impacted because I could see the hand of God at work in her life, and in her relationship with Allen.
Fast forward a couple of years, I was browsing through my Facebook, when I ran across a particular article, which led me right to Allen Parr’s website. If there is anything that I can say about Allen and his writing, it is that it is both passionate and impactful! In his blog articles, his Youtube videos, and even in the responses to this article, Allen is honest and candit about his truth. He shares his heart and convictions honestly and powerfully, and does so without feeling sorry.
In a world where we often tread ashamed about the gospel of Jesus Christ, Allen lives as a God-fearing man reading to share with you just how he believes it should be. I am so inspired by his ministry, and I am inspired my his relentless effort and ambition to share the great news that God has put on his heart. This is a man truly living a purpose-driven life. His personhood and story on purpose, embodies a quote my one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, which says, “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
We here at Unraveling the Mind are honored and proud to feature Allen Parr, as he divulges on what it means for him to live a passionate and purpose-driven life. For Allen, this is a God life, it is a Spirit led life, it a life weaves God at the center of who we are, and everything that we do. Allen passionately divulges how living a purpose driven life is about expanding the Kingdom; about making and growing disciples. Here is an inspiring and spiritually uplifting moment with Allen Parr, learning about God, and His purpose for our lives.
We want to learn your thoughts on purpose, and what it means for someone to live a purpose driven life? Generally as well as personally.
My idea of purpose may differ from many people’s idea of it. As a Christian, I believe that God gives us a purpose that fits into the advancement of His kingdom. I think this is where many people, even Christians, are confused. For example, I teach high school math. As good as I strive to be and as much as I enjoy it, that alone will never be my purpose unless I can identify tangible ways that I am either bringing people into the kingdom or helping mature those who are already in the kingdom. I’ve always said, “if an unbeliever can do the job I am paid to do as well as I can, then it can’t be my calling/purpose.”
Also, a purpose-driven life means that next to our marriage responsibilities (if we are married) that there is nothing more important in our world than fulfilling our God-given purpose. We often have it backwards. We give so much of our time, talents and treasures to our careers and give God our leftovers because our careers pay our bills. Living a purpose-driven life means that we understand that our life here is an infinitely small fraction of eternity and so we should be investing into our eternal future rather than our temporal lives.
Another misconception is that we cannot carry out our purpose unless God opens up the heavens and reveals it to us. Many Christians, such as myself, are blessed to know our very specific purpose within the body of Christ. However, until that happens we must be diligent about fulfilling our purpose as Christians which involves making disciples, loving and pouring and investing our lives into people.
How do your dreams fit into the grander purpose for your life?
I have several dreams. My first dream is for my wife to be able to confidently say that I am loving her as Christ loved the church. I dream to be able to model that love for the kids we will hopefully have one day in the future.
My business dream is to be able to retire from public education one day and use the gift God has given me to help students become more confident in math and perform better in school and standardized tests. Teaching math has always been a passion of mine. However, it pails in comparison to my passion for teaching God’s word. So, my dream is to have a business that generates enough income to free me up to fulfill my third dream.
My ministry dream is my wife and I to be able to travel and share God’s word across the world. As much as I value, serve and appreciate the local church, we as Christians need to be kingdom minded and be willing to go abroad if God calls us to go. My passion is to help people discover the joy in studying God’s word for themselves and encouraging them with the truth of His word.
I believe these three dreams fit into the grander purpose for my life because, as mentioned earlier, my overall purpose as a Christian is to know God and make Him known; to make disciples. This unique blend of business, which I call marketplace ministry, and the teaching ministry will allow me to connect with people inside and outside of the church and to make an indelible mark on eternity.
We also want to know how through living your purpose, you have grown, and how you are impacting others and your community through the process?
- I discovered my purpose in 1999. Since that time, I have grown spiritually in ways I could not have imagined. God has a funny way of calling people into ministry without revealing everything that we will have to go through if we accept this “dangerous” calling. I have been unemployed and have seen God provide in supernatural ways. I have been hurt by churches and have seen God restore my hope in the local church. I have been frustrated as a single man, waiting on God to send my wife, only to see how faithful He was to send an amazing woman to stand by my side. I have seen how God has blessed my tutoring business because I had the courage to step out on faith and trust Him with an idea I believe He gave me. I have grown in my understanding of what my gifts are and what they aren’t. I have also grown in my understanding of God’s grace. I don’t deserve the wife I have and God blessed me with an amazing woman of God. That is the grace of God.
- I believe I am using all of these experiences to help make an impact on others. Being single until I was forty years old provided a plethora of experiences that I am now able to bless others with. I am able to encourage people with my successes as well as my failures. Recently I launched an online Bible teaching ministry where God is using me to impact thousands of listeners/viewers/readers each week on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (youtube.com/thebeatagp and www.allenparr.com). Through this ministry I have been absolutely blown away at how God has allowed me to meet and interact with people I would not have otherwise came in contact with. I have been able to encourage men who have been hooked on pornography. I’ve been able to encourage people who came across my videos on social media and had turned their backs on the local church to return to church because I believe the church is the hope of the world. This is an exciting journey because each week I have no idea who will be blessed by the videos and blogs I release.
How did you discover your purpose, what has been your experience living it? What are you learning through the process?
I discovered my purpose in 1999 while I was working as an engineer at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, MI. At that time I had been secretly writing sermons in my quiet time with God but never had any plans of actually preaching them to anyone. While on a special assignment in Kansas City, MO I met a bi-vocational pastor who invited me to come and play the keyboard at his church. Through a series of conversations he asked me if I had ever preached a sermon. I said, “no but I’ve written several of them.” He invited me to preach at his church one Sunday. The feeling that I had when I stepped down from that pulpit after my first sermon was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. For the first time in my life I knew why God had placed me on this earth. About a month later he allowed me to preach again and God confirmed once again in an even stronger way that He had called me to preach and teach His word. I was immediately challenged with the question, “if money was not a concern what would you do with the rest of your life?” Should I stay in a safe job as an engineer or step out on faith, quit my job and go into ministry? I chose to enroll at Dallas Theological Seminary in August 2000 and have been serving in my purpose for the past 16 years.
There has been no greater experience for me than to serve in the very purpose for why God created me and saved me. It does not compare to anything I’ve experienced in the corporate world. There is something supernatural about knowing that God is using you every day to literally make a difference, whether small or great, in someone else’s life. The biggest lesson that I am learning and will continue to learn is to trust God. As much as that sounds like a cliché, it’s the truth. This journey of ministry is an adventure. I never know what God may require me to sacrifice. As much as I think I know what’s best for me, I am challenged daily to trust that He knows and desires His perfect will to be manifested in my life. I am learning that ministry extends far beyond the walls of the church and beyond teaching from a pulpit or in a classroom. It means being willing to get dirty and walk with people through life’s most difficult challenges. This starts at home which is my greatest platform for ministry.
What inspires you to everyday wake up and be purposeful? What have you felt to have been some your challenges? What have been your greatest learning moments?
What inspires me to wake up every day and live a life of purpose is knowing that there are countless people out there are the way I used to be. When I was in college I was religious but had no relationship with God. I grew up in church but my knowledge of God and His word was minimal. As a result, I got caught up in lots of seemingly spiritual experiences that were not consistent with God’s word. I didn’t know any better…until I read God’s word for myself and got under solid biblical teaching. It was then that I began to grow and truly understand God and His word. There are many Christians today that have the sincere, genuine desire to grow spiritually. However, in many situations they lack sound biblical teaching. What motivates me is the opportunity to provide solid, biblical, relevant and creative teaching that people can apply and hopefully experience transformation. Seeing people grow from a place of indifference to passion when it comes to God’s word is enough motivation for me to spend countless hours planning and preparing sermons, teachings, videos, blogs, eBooks and more to hopefully make an impact in someone’s life.
My greatest challenges have been to truly trust God to accomplish His work in me rather than trying to force things to happen at times. I am challenged with how to best manage my time between family, local church responsibilities, my own personal ministry, my tutoring business, my high school teaching job and my other hobbies and pursuits. Each of these is very important to me and deserve my best. Being able to give my best to each of them has been a difficult challenge.
Allen, thank you so much for the work that you are doing for the Kingdom. Thank you for taking heed to God’s calling for your life, and for ambitiously and passionately pursuing. I know that many others like myself are blessed by what you do, and thank you for sharing the life behind your purpose with us.
Please look out for our next #shareyourpurpose feature next week! If you would like to share your story on what it means for you to live a passionate and purpose-driven life, click here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Also, share with us your thoughts on what Allen has just shared on what it means for him to live a purpose-driven life.
-Unravel Away Artist-