I am coming to understand that true GRIT is the essence of disciple-making: the process of helping people follow Jesus.
GRIT is an acronym. Effective disciple-making must be:
Jesus’ strategy with the disciples was Relational. “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4.19) “[Jesus] appointed twelve that they might be with him…” (Mark 3.13)
Jesus also was Intentional and his goal was Transformational. “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
And of course, making the disciples fishers of men was a Generational strategy. The generational piece is critical. We must teach in such a way that people can pass it on. That’s what Paul wrote to Timothy in his very last letter.
“The things you’ve heard from me commit to faithful men who shall teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2.2)
Consider Hebrews 7.23. The context is how Jesus is superior to the Old Testament priests, but here’s a simple (and, I think, slightly humorous) truth:
“There were many of those priests since death prevented them from continuing in office.”
That’s as good a reason as any to invest in the lives of others! Each of us is here for a limited time only.
GRIT helps us remember the characteristics and is itself a characteristic of the kind of effort required. Daniel Pink makes the following statement about “mastery” in his book Drive, and I think it applies well to relational disciple-making:
Mastery is a Pain. Mastery takes effort over a long period of time, is often not much fun, requires lots of mundane practice, and takes grit…The determination to work over a long period of time without seeing much short-term improvement is required. (Emphasis mine)
The problem is that we all want shortcuts. Jesus chose to work in depth with just 12 men. We want to do it faster. Can’t we just put 1,000 people in a room and lecture them for one hour a week? Can’t we just develop sure-fire materials that will get the job done? The short answer is, no, not any more than one can teach people to play the piano by taking them to concerts or giving them a book. It takes a teacher (R) who guides the student to the appropriate exercises (I) which, when practiced over time, result in skill (T). The teacher herself went through that same process (G).
Contrasting the big ineffective splash versus doing small things that really matter, Greg McKeown in Essentialism: The Deliberate Pursuit of Less writes:
Instead of trying to accomplish it all—and all at once…start small and celebrate progress. Instead of going for the big, flashy wins that don’t really matter, pursue small and simple wins in areas that are essential.
Paul has all the elements of GRIT in 2 Timothy 2.1, 2.
Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (T). And the things you’ve heard from me among many witnesses (R), commit to faithful people (I) who will teach others also (G).