Conducting ministry today has been considerably impacted by an exceptional increase in disruption, polarisation and fragmentation in society.
Disruptions, like the floods and cyclone over a three-week period in New Zealand at the beginning of this year. Polarisation, like cultural conflicts over gender determination. And fragmentation, like the dissolving of church services as-we-knew-it to in-person, online, live or later worship gatherings. Ministry in the post-lockdown world has placed immense pressures on church members and leaders alike.
As we came out of COVID lockdowns I became increasingly convinced of the need for the attribute of “grit” in myself, my family and friends. The complexity and intensity of ministry challenges had me searching for godly grit. I looked at several sources, yet it was the grit that Jesus had in His ministry that stood out above everyone else.
Here are descriptions from two grit specialists. Angela Duckworth states that grit has two key elements: passion and perseverance. Jon Acuff describes grit as the “stubborn refusal to quit”. If resilience is bouncing back from a tough situation, grit is pushing through a series of challenging situations to completion.
Jesus presents a superior “grit” that is founded in joy, purpose and hope. At age 12, His passionate joy for His “Father’s business” (Luke 2:49) keep Jesus ministry-focused for three days straight. At his first public Scripture reading He presents His purpose, and repeats this throughout His ministry (Matthew 4:18,19, 20:20; John 10:10). It is at the cruel cross that we fully see the hope that sustained Jesus to complete His mission. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2, italics added).
May the grit Jesus had, which was grounded in passionate joy, clear purpose and enduring hope, encourage you “not to grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).