Ambition is a dirty word among many Christians and church leaders, although Paul uses it in Romans 15:20:
And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation.
For Paul, ambition is a good thing when rightly motivated, directed and applied. And for today’s worship leaders, ambition is a good thing when rightly motivated, directed and applied.
- Are you ambitious to lead your congregation in worship songs, so they’ll think you’re cool? Bad.
- Are you ambitious to lead your congregation in worship songs, for the glory of God? Good.
We see why Paul was ambitious to preach the gospel in the previous two verses:
For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:18-19)
The only thing Paul wanted people to notice about himself was “what Christ has accomplished through me.”
This weekend as you lead worship, don’t feel bad about being ambitious. Don’t hesitate to pursue excellence. Don’t shirk from choosing the best, most solid worship songs you can find or write. Don’t apologize for insisting that your team members come prepared, that they play to the best of their ability. And don’t hide the fact that one reason you put them on the team is because they possessed that ability.
Be ambitious. Just make sure your ambition is rooted in a desire that Christ be magnified, for the edification of the church, the witness to those now outside the family of God, and the delight of God Himself. This is holy ambition.