“My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.””

Romans 15:20-21 NLT


The words ambition and pastor don’t seem like they would go together. When we think of ambition we think of people who are hungry to make it to the top of their profession. When we think of ambition we think of people climbing over people to become successful by any means necessary. Ambition is defined as an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.

When the object of ambition is anything but God, ego gets in the way and the pursuit leads to vanity. As believers we should take heed to Jesus’ advice, “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

Paul said that his ambition was to go preach the Gospel where no one had been. The mission statement of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek was to “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before” I think this is similar to Jesus’ mission statement for the church to go make disciples where there were no disciples.

Many pastors have been comfortable with their mission being to go where churches are growing and take their members. We have been comfortable fishing from the aquarium instead of going in difficult places.

I have a congregation member who loves to fish in new places. He uses his “maps app” on his phone and wherever there is blue water on his app he pulls over to walk through brush to see if there are any fish. He charts new territory. When was the last time as Christians that we charted new territory and got uncomfortable to reach new people for Jesus?

My ambition as a pastor is to:

  1. Go to places where the Gospel is needed. Most of the domestic violence in my community takes place in the apartment communities surrounding my church. It would make sense to go there. We have to find out where the people are hurting and go there. On Monday when school starts back we should go to schools heavily populated by Latinos and serve as a wall of protection so their parents can register them without fear that ICE will arrest them. Go where the pain is.
  2. Go where they haven’t heard the Gospel. Many people would like to run to plush suburban landscapes to reach those who can contribute to our bottom line, but what about the masses of abandoned poor who are hopeless? When David became king and had a cave ministry it states that those who were in debt, distressed or discontented came to David and he became their leader. People who are in crisis are more open to the Gospel than those who are comfortable.
  3. Make disciples of people who have been forgotten. Jesus reached people other religious people overlooked. He had tax collectors, fisherman, prostitutes, and outcasts as his disciples. When they preached with power the crowds were astonished that these unlearned fisherman spoke with so much authority. Some of the best disciples are the people society rejected. 

My ambition as a pastor is to go after what every other pastor avoided; the road less traveled.


 

Dear God,

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. God grant me the power and resources to help your people more. It is not the well-off who need a doctor, but the sick. Father, equip me to go after the people Jesus went after. But do me one favor, when I reach them give me the ability to help them live life the way you intended through Jesus who promised to give them life and life more abundantly.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen