Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Esposito, Jason


The problem that this project addressed was the impact of ambition and ambitious leaders in relation to team effectiveness. In response to this problem the researcher explored the biblical foundations of ambition and ambitious leadership, with special interest in one’s ambition being aimed at knowing God more fully, fulfilling God’s mission, and glorifying God. He reviewed literature related to CliftonStrengths, team leadership, and the practice of the first-among-equals in teams with attention to the CliftonStrength of Competition and its connection to ambition. He conducted two case studies by way of interviews with four pastors who had Competition as a top five CliftonStrength and six pastors who did not. From the thesis findings the researcher developed a set of eight strategic principles of successful team leadership for the ambitious pastor.Of these eight principles, four of them were shared principles among all team leaders with an additional four principles being uniquely geared for the ambitious pastor to lead teams most effectively. The shared principles of team leadership for all pastors included being aimed at God (knowing God, glorifying God, fulfilling God’s mission), providing stability, relational investment, and growth investment. The four unique principles for the ambitious leader included building trust, promoting unity, setting an example through one’s work ethic, and creating, measuring, and celebrating wins. When applied, these principles would positively impact the team leadership of an ambitious and competitive pastor.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis