Jump directly to the Content


When aspiration and pride mix, the result may yet be ministry.


The very word conjures conflicting images. Parents want their daughter's fianc‚ to be ambitious enough to support their princess. Yet voters are generally suspicious of candidates they perceive as politically ambitious. No minister wants to be perceived as ambitious in a self-centered way. Yet what pulpit committee would seek a complacent pastor with no discernible ambition?

Pastors wrestle with it: What's good about ambition? How much is necessary, and how much is too much? Is raw ambition ever extracted from holy ambition, leaving only pure ministry motives?

Or, more profanely, will we ever quit worrying about having as many in our Sunday school as that Jubilee Center of Joy across the street?

Spotlight on Ambition

We've all wrestled with ambition, usually grappling with this slippery animal in the dark. The many pastors I talked with recently shed some light on the beast. Most confirmed there is a benevolent side to ambition.

"If personal ambition is defined as getting a good education, ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

My Favorite Vacation
My Favorite Vacation
What kind of vacations do pastors most enjoy? We asked five ministers to share their most memorable excursions.
From the Magazine
Is It Time to Quit ‘Quiet Time’?
Is It Time to Quit ‘Quiet Time’?
Effective biblical engagement must be about more than one’s personal experience with Scripture.
Editor's Pick
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Learning to walk under the weight of ministry's many hats.