Sanctified Ambition: Attempting Great Things for Our God, Rev. Carl Leyrer
God’s Word tells us that we are to follow the example of Christ’s humility. “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). You see examples of this humility throughout his ministry. In the Upper Room, Jesus fills a basin with water, wraps a towel around his waist, and begins washing the feet of his disciples (John 13). Our Savior teaches us volumes about servant leadership.
Moreover, we see Jesus rebuke those disciples that wanted positions of power in an earthly kingdom. “Whoever wants to be great amount you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (Matthew 20:26). These words rightly register in our hearts and minds.
However, should these words keep us from wanting to do great things for our God? Recalling the parable of the talents (Matthew 25), perhaps the better question is: “Should we want to do anything less than great things for our God?”
We are servants (whether called workers or lay leaders) in service to the congregation. However, we are also in service to the Lord of the Church. Is there room for sanctified ambition in that service? When something is “sanctified” it is set apart for holy purposes. There is no place in the church for worldly ambition—an ardent desire to achieve personal distinction or fame. But through his Word, the Spirit works in us to create an ardent desire to bring distinction to Christ’s name. The Spirit makes our ambition holy.
As called workers and lay leaders, our Lord deserved nothing less than our best effort. That implies leadership, and leadership implies casting a vision. It is a leadership implemented with a servant like attitude. It is a leadership that seeks nothing except the glory of the Lord. This session is about that type of leadership, one that demonstrates sanctified ambition. It specifically focuses on the following:
- Choosing your vision. What will move your congregation forward?
- Casting your vision. How do you communicate it to your people so that they buy in?
- Prayerfully setting your goals. How might we demonstrate sanctified ambition by dreaming big?
- Developing your strategy. What is the game plan? What do we have to do to make it this happen?
- Implementation. How do we lead and manage the people with whom we serve?
- General tips on leadership. What are some best practices?
Rev. Carl Leyrer
Pastor Carl retired in September of 2018 after 45 years in the ministry. Of those 45 years, 42 would be spent in Hispanic work beginning with his vicar year as the first student from the seminary sent to Mexico to learn Spanish and then to Puerto Rico as part of a pilot project. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Corpus Christi, Texas to start a congregation among the Spanish speaking population. From there he served in Colombia, South America, Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and, for the final 20 years, in Doral (Miami), Florida where he was called to develop a new approach to Hispanic ministry. Flipping the traditional paradigm, Pastor Carl started the mission effort in Doral with a school. The school had three basic goals: Daily teach the students the Word of God, produce a mission field by reaching the parents through the children, and be revenue positive. The Lord blessed his vision and what is now Divine Savior Ministries has a school of almost 1000 students in Doral with a growing congregation of over 400 souls. What started in Doral has grown to four additional campuses: Delray Beach and West Palm Beach in Florida and Sienna Plantation (Houston) and Santa Rita (Austin) in Texas. Pastor Carl is the author of Communicating Christ, our synod’s first Audio Visual Bible Information Course. He is married to Connie Rodriguez Leyrer and they have three grown children: Synia, Synara, and Pastor Carlos, president of Divine Savior Ministries. Presently, Pastor Carl is working half time for WELS Multi-Language Publications in conjunction with Latin American Missions on the Academia Cristo 2.0 project.