The Age of Ambition
Image: Ivo de Bruijn /

This past spring, in Leadership Journal, pastor-of-pastors and writer Eugene Peterson was asked what concerns him most about the current state of the pastoral vocation. If I could be so bold as to summarize his response in one word it would be “ambition.”

His distress over the concept of ambition amongst pastors seems to be connected with it as a priority. "I'm alarmed that we measure things by what the world counts as important," he said. One can imagine the "things" Peterson speaks of: numbers, money, influence, sex appeal, and power, just to name a few.

We are guilty of this sin, for sure. The evangelical landscape is marred with scars of our ambition: burned out ministers, adulterous pastors, isolated leaders, and the collapsing of organizations that got out of hand by over-reaching. At least some of these problems find their roots with what Peterson called ambition.

Ambition for all

The problem of ambition is not a problem the church ...

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