This is a guest post from Rob Wilton, Lead Pastor of Vintage Church in New Orleans. You can follow him on twitter @robwiltontv or check out his blog at www.robwilton.tv.
Ambition is tricky. On the one hand it can lead to amazing accomplishments. On the other hand it can lead to amazing catastrophes. Personally, I love being around people that have an extra gear. I honestly struggle when I find someone that is fine with the status quo and has set their cruise control. Ambitious people refuse to settle. These people look a challenge in the face and attack. These people see an obstacle in front and climb. These people are told its impossible and still go.
Recently Jesus has been teaching me a lot about ambition. For most of my life I have tried to “take the hill”. I’ve had this gear that takes challenges head on. Planting a church in New Orleans has been difficult but I’ve loved every minute of it. My greatest struggles have come from an understanding that most people in New Orleans don’t know Jesus. My ambition has led our church family into some great accomplishments, but my ambition has also led us into some catastrophes.
This past week I discussed with my staff, other church planters, and even my parents about ambition. These conversations came because I had allowed my ambition to get out of hand. I am so thankful for the friends, peers, and family in my life. As the Enemy had begun to mislead my thoughts these people came in and spoke truth in love. What the Enemy intended for evil, the Holy Spirit and His church redeemed for the Kingdom.
Here are three simple reflections/lessons that I learned through this process:
1) Ambition’s Goal: Charge God’s Hill
I love my Mama. She called me this past week and spoke some unbelievable wisdom in my life. She basically said this in the power of the Spirit:
“My Rob Roy, you have been plowing for Jesus in a very difficult city for the last decade. You have received some difficult scars and the strain has worn you down. I love that you have always charged difficult hills but my fear is that through this struggle the Enemy will lead you to charge his hill instead of God’s hill. Heal, my son, and stay focused on God’s hill.”
Wow! I can’t believe I have such an amazing Mama. I don’t think I have to expand on this. Too many people are charging the wrong hills. What has God called you to do?
2) Ambition’s Accountability:
Get In Community God designed us to know Him and accomplish His purposes. That is a powerful statement but it isn’t complete. God designed us to know Him and accomplish His purposes in community. The very essence of the Holy Trinity is a testimony of community. The church is a designed reflection of this community. Every person has a unique calling upon their life. This calling however is never allowed to operate outside of the connection to the church and also the edification of the church.
This past week I made some decisions that operated outside of this important truth. I worked alone and against my community. Those who love me and are closest to me pursued me behind closed doors and held me accountable. It was very clear that I had a weak moment and that I needed to repent and let Jesus redeem. I am so thankful for the accountability of my community and I am so thankful for God’s grace.
3) Ambition’s Reality: Content But Never Content Vintage Church just experienced the largest gathering and response to the Gospel in our history. I am so thankful to Jesus for all that He did. Before this Sunday I was challenged by one of my pastors with the following question. “We have been praying for a great harvest. What happens if less people come and no one gets saved?” On the one hand I hate this question. On the other hand this is a great question.
Let me explain. No one knows the plans of the Lord. In Christ we have all that we need. No matter the circumstances, we should be content in Him. Because my ambition is full tilt, I need to always be reminded of this truth. Jesus is enough. In suffering or in blessing, Jesus is enough.
However, because I don’t know the plans of the Lord and because I know my responsibility in the Lord, I can never be content. We prayed for 800 people and 100 responses to Jesus this past Sunday. Jesus almost gave us this prayer. We had 550+ in attendance and 60+ responses. I’m so thankful for this but I know that there a ton of people in our city that still need Jesus. How can we ever be content with 60…100…1,000…100,000? There are way more people than that who are in need of Jesus and we have His saving message.
In order to keep a balanced perspective our church staff has adopted the following statement: ALWAYS CONTENT IN THE LORD, NEVER CONTENT ON MISSION.
Ambition is tricky. I pray these reflections will serve you well.