There is something about the evangelical Christian subculture that has begun to bother me. Not just a little, but a lot.
Ambitiousness is perhaps the most taboo of all temperaments here in the church. It is the most suspect of all motivations. It is the biggest turn-off to unambitious churchgoers that I can think of. It is the eighth deadly sin, the one that makes pride seem like a passive, mushy, emotional imbalance by comparison. It’s the thing that Hitler had. So it’s the thing that church planters shouldn’t have.
Not so fast.
This week I’ll be giving you 4 reasons you must be ambitious.
REASON NUMBER 1: AMBITION MAKES ‘VISION’ CONCRETE
Everybody and their pet polar bear talks about vision vision vision. But so many times, our vision becomes abstract. And to the degree that it remains abstract, it cannot maintain a tight relationship with this afternoon’s goals.
Try it. Start with something “visiony.”
We long to see the neighborhoods of our city flourish.
Nice. Sounds like something I’ve said a couple hundred times. Translate this into an ambition, however, and you all of a sudden have a better idea of what to do on Tuesday afternoon.
We want to plant one community group for every 1,000 people in our city until every neighborhood in our city has a gospel presence of word and deed.
Yikes. That would take 68 community groups.
We have 5 community groups. That means we’re 7.3% of the way toward our ambitious goal. However, in the next 6 months, it would be very realistic for our groups to each multiply, yielding 10 groups, or 14.7% of the ridiculous 68-group goal.
So, what do you do on a Tuesday afternoon? You take a fresh look at who you have in leadership of your community groups. You ask yourself how well you’re equipping them to lead. You challenge each of them to identify, equip, and release an apprentice to multiply into 2 community groups. And you set before them the ambition to saturate the entire city with community groups—specifically, 68 of them.
The Apostle Paul had a vision to preach Christ where he had not been preached. His ambition was to see churches planted, grown, and multiplied across the Roman Empire as far as Rome itself and even to Spain. And that meant that he gathered a team, apprenticed church planters, made disciple-making disciples, released them for ministry, and repeated this in strategic cities across Europe. His letters pulsate with this audacious ambition. Actual places and people are peppered throughout his epistles, demonstrating that his vision had concretized into an articulable ambition.
Make your ambition known. People might think you’re crazy. But you’ll be much more compelling and focused as a church planter if you name your goal, ambitious though it
may must be.
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