Well school started earlier than I thought. I awoke to an e-mail in my school inbox telling me that my first week assignments were ready to be viewed and were due Sunday night! Anyway, hopefully my studies will inspire some great thought provoking blogs over the next 16 weeks. I am hoping to blog about what I am learning, to challenge you, my readers, as I am being challenged. This is the first post on that. My first assignment deals with ambition. The question is asked “why do so many worship leaders seem to suffer from selfish ambition?” While I know plenty of worship leaders who are ambitious, but for the glory of God, we are all human, and even the most well intentioned person will suffer from selfish ambition sometimes. Here is my response:
There are two ‘syndromes’ that worship leaders in today’s American Pop-culture. The first is ‘The Rock Star syndrome”, in this case they desire to be up front playing and singing to be seen, this is how I first started in worship as a High School student. The second is “The Artist syndrome” (for lack of a better term at the moment.) The artist has a lack of self-esteem but feels comfortable behind a piano or guitar, with their eyes closed singing and playing. The artist’s ego and self-esteem get a boost when they ‘perform’ well and the congregation and Pastor compliment them. There may be other ’syndromes’ that worship leaders suffer from, but in my experience, however limited, these are the two most prevalent. Their ambition in getting into worship is to be seen and to have their ego boosted, while ‘worshiping’ God. The brokenness of man in sin causes our ambition that would, before the fall, glorify God and do His work, to glorify ourselves. In essence we make ourselves a god, and in a sense we serve mammon instead of God in this way. J. Oswald Sander’s suggests, in Spiritual Leadership, that Christ teaches that ambition centered on self is evil. Christ teaches that our ambition should be to develop our God given talents and gifts, not to glorify ourselves, but to glorify God. If someone has a gift for music and an ambition to use that gift to lead worship, well would that ambition not be glorifying to our God and not to the servant? If someone has the gift to create amazing clay sculptures and structures and creates them for the glory of God, does that ambition to create not Glorify God? The difficulty really comes from the fact that we cannot always see the true heart ambition, we can only judge whether we think their ambition is toward the glorification of the God that gave them their gifts, or themselves.
How do you struggle with ambition?