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Pastoral Ambition: Does success chip away at our souls?

In the summer issue of Leadership we told the story of Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California. Over six years Oak Hills jettisoned its consumer-driven methods to focus more on spiritual formation and deeper community. Today, the leaders of the church are pleased with their radical turnaround despite the turmoil it caused and the thousands who left. Kent Carlson is co-senior pastor of Oak Hills Church. In this post he discusses the shift in pastoral values in recent decades, and how we have come to view ambition not as a sin, but an asset.

I want to talk about pastoral ambition. I do so with some apprehension.

A few years ago, our church was "successful" enough for me to be invited to a small, elite group of pastors of large churches who were being mentored by one of the more successful and talented pastors in the country. It was a heady few days for me. I got to mix it up with some of the biggest names and up and coming stars in the large church subculture. I felt very important.

At the ...

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