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Ambition in the church
Pastor Mark Jeske
by Pastor Mark Jeske
May 22, 2021

These are hard days to be in authority in the church.

We live in an age of severe antiauthoritarianism. It seems as if nobody trusts institutions any longer. Some of that skepticism is deserved—stories abound of pastors who sexually abused their young parishioners and of supervisors who protected the abusers and covered up the crimes. Some church leaders have disgraced their ministries with adulterous affairs and embezzlement.

Still—God’s church needs leaders, needs structure, needs overseers. In spite of our many human failings, the soul-saving work of the church must go on, for God doesn’t have a Plan B. The church will always be the most effective place to learn, receive the sacraments, worship publicly, pray en masse, and be mentored in your serving. That means that Christians still need to recruit, train, and encourage leaders for tomorrow. For all the obvious weaknesses in the organized church, the only alternatives are a disorganized church or no church at all. 

Humility in church workers is a good thing. But, you know, we need ambitious people too. Ambition can be selfish, but in a godly way it can just mean that a person wants to use God-given gifts. St. Paul agreed—he told his young trainee Timothy, “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1). Whom do you know that you can encourage to go into full-time ministry? Whom do you know who is serving well and whom you are convinced could serve at a higher level?