Leadership GRIT

EDITORIAL

Transformation | Derwin L. Gray

Derwin GrayHave you ever been betrayed by someone on staff? Have you had to make the hard—but right—decision, and has it cost you a friendship you thought was never going to end? Have you ever been misunderstood, slandered and unfairly criticized? 

If you have not experienced any of these scenarios, you will. And if you want to last in ministry—not just survive, but thrive—you will need to cultivate leadership GRIT. 

God Is Good.  

There will be seasons when ministry is hard. I’ve celebrated 100 people being baptized on a Sunday and cried through a difficult staff challenge on a Monday. Having a circle of wise ministry leaders speaking life over you is necessary. When it’s dark, it’s easy to forget what Jesus told you in the light. God is good. Jesus is for you. And the Holy Spirit is carefully and patiently forming you into the image of Jesus in the hard times so you will live a life of integrity (Rom. 8:28–39).

Remember Your Calling.

When ministry is challenging, remember that Jesus called you, not man. First, you are called to be a beloved son or daughter of the Father (Rom. 8:14–17). The Father’s first and most important work of ministry is not what he does through you, but what he does in you.

“God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin” (1 Cor. 1:30).

Second, you are called to testify to the gospel of grace. As Paul wrote, “But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). I’m learning that testifying to the gospel of God’s grace means that suffering will co-mingle with unexpressed joy (1 Thess. 1:6). And in those moments of being stretched out on the painful cross of ministry, the Holy Spirit is resurrecting humility and holiness in me. 

The most important gift you can give your family and church is your holiness. If I am not disciplined enough to lead myself, I am unqualified to lead others. 

Indwelling Life of Christ 

During one heartbreaking season, I found myself face down on my bedroom floor, crying out to God for help. As I cried out, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I was the dwelling place of King Jesus, who defeated sin, death and evil, lived in me and that I was more than a conqueror (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:37). Rely on Jesus. He is the throne of grace and mercy in your time of need (Heb. 4:14–16).

Tough Times Don’t Last.

Can you imagine the congregation you planted turning their back on you? What about getting beaten up multiple times, being shipwrecked or facing danger from robbers? Or going without food, being cold at night, having great concern over multiple churches, and eventually being beheaded, all for following Jesus and being a ministry leader? This is what the apostle Paul experienced (2 Cor. 11:21–12:10). Yet, he finished his race of grace with gospel-toughness. How? Paul knew that for him to be gospel-tough, he had to embrace his weaknesses so the power of Christ would be perfected in and through him. You are never stronger than when you are on your knees in weakness. It is when we are at our weakest that Jesus is the strongest.

Derwin Gray
Derwin Grayhttp://DerwinLGray.com

Derwin L. Gray is the co-founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church in South Carolina. He also is the author of How to Heal Our Racial Divide (Tyndale Momentum).