Humble Ambition! Sounds like an oxymoron, but not when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
To be ambitious for the lost is demonstrated in a Christian who puts the needs of others before themselves. Paul says ‘in humility, consider others better than yourselves’ (Phil 2:3). This is not a statement of worth – it is a statement of purpose. As Christ did, the Christian can and should humble themselves in order to be a servant of others – even to the point of loss.
To be so captured by the gospel of Christ that you willingly sacrifice your own interests for the sake of others and the glory of God – is ambitious.
Let me offer five suggestions for putting this into practice at Church (thankful that so many in our Church family are shining examples of this principle)…
- Turn up for others – when the body is weary, the weekend has been long, the working week beckons – turn up at Church for the sake of those who will be there – to love and encourage them (and in the least so that your absence is not a discouragement to them).
- Sit with others – having others as our focus when we go to church should influence our behaviour in all sorts of minor ways (like where you normally sit). Look for the person who you know least, or the person who you know is going through a hard time, or the person you have not seen for a while – and sit with them.
- Welcome others – if our focus is on the other person, we need to be on the alert for the newcomer – before, and after the service. Church could be a strange and big environment to some, and so we need to do what we can to make them feel wanted and welcome. Be a friendly shadow, ready to step in to help when confusion or uncertainty seems to appear. Introduce them to others, invite them to supper, or dinner or for a coffee during the week , or find out more about Jesus (5pm Church runs courses called ‘JesusWORKS’), and definitely back to church the following week.
- Listen to others – there is a lot of opportunity to listen at church (but the opportunity is not always taken up). Listen to what is read and preached – actively, enthusiastically and with a view to learn and talk about it with others. Pick an aspect of the sermon you found particularly stimulating or challenging or even incomprehensible and use it as a starting point to listen to others about what they heard.
- Praying for others – this is a key area where we can act for the sake of others. During the service you can pray for others around you, for the Bible teachers, for the newcomers, for those who are serving in a formal way to make church happen (including those behind the scenes – parents room, audio and video ministry, supper, youth group, ushering etc.). As you talk with others after church, if opportunities arise where something could or should be prayed for – then pray right there and then.
Go on be ambitious – humbly.