TiO 45 – Grit – The Secret to Success (Week 1)

The Main Idea

Success in our endeavours does not take luck or good fortune, it takes grit. What is grit? It is your ability to courageously start a task and then see it through to completion. It is your commitment to developing the skills to make your success possible.

Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)

Q1: Tell a story about the longest your ever prepared for something or the longest (duration) project you ever worked on.

Q2: Did you ever accomplish a task where somewhere in the process you considered giving up? Tell that story.

Q3: Contest: Divide into two groups. Try to name as many things that you can which develop or change over time because of grit—small bits of dirt or stones.

Dig a Little Deeper

In his message, Todd spoke of the characteristics of success. While these apply to all areas of success in our lives, as members of the community of Jesus-followers, our most important goal is moving his Kingdom forward—the declaration of the Good News of the restored relationship we can have with God through Jesus. So, success for us is progress in moving his Kingdom forward.

Paul is the model for what Todd called gritty service. And Acts 20:17-24 is a prime example of how Paul lived his life and saw success in his ministry.


Read Acts 20:17-24 together.


In this passage, Paul’s final message to the elders of the church in Ephesus is delivered. Paul clearly wants to make an impact but also to give some key ideas in terms of what ministry success—their ministry success—looks like.


Q1: Without specific reference to this passage, think about what you know of the Apostle Paul. What is he known for?

I think we can generally agree that, in our minds and in the history of the church, Paul is know for some big things. But this passage in Acts 20 does not focus on big things. Instead, he talked about some essential characteristics of his ministry that he wants to reinforce in their minds: presumably things that Paul would like them to emulate.

Q2: Read Acts 20:18-21 again. What are the attributes and actions that Paul talks about?

Q3: Read verse 24. What are the attributes and actions that Paul talks about?

Paul goes on in chapter 20 to leave some final instructions.

Read Acts 20:25-35 together.

Q4: In verses 25-35, what are the specific instructions that Paul leaves for the elders at Ephesus?

Next Steps

In his message, Todd talked about two kinds of service: the mundane and the spectacular. Spectacular service is characterized as: challenging, life changing, and requires God’s help to accomplish. However, mundane service, the kind of service that moves us slowly towards a goal is often simply just characterized by one thing: showing up. That’s how Penny Oleksiak got to be an Olympic gold medalist. Sure she has some inmate potential that gave her the raw materials to be an Olympian. But mostly, she got to be a gold medalist by showing up every day and swimming for hours on end . Not very glamorous, but it was necessary. But think about all the other people who had to show up every day in order for her to reach her goal: all the people who maintained the water and the building in which her pool sits, her parents who took her in the early morning to practice, her coaches who trained her, the people who opened the facility every day.

Sometimes success in service is just about showing up. Sometimes that showing up means that slowly you are working your way to something big. But sometimes it means supporting the big work that God is doing.


Q1: Are you serving at Riverwood? If so, how does what you are doing move the big work of Riverwood forward?

If you are not serving at Riverwood then consider the following:

Q2: Is there a ministry that needs to be done that you can do while you are trying to figure out where you “fit”?

Q3: Is there a ministry that you are well suited for that you can show up and be faithful to on a regular basis?

Q4: Is there a gap that you see in Riverwood’s ministry offerings that you might be called to fill by starting something new?

Talk and pray together about where your grit is best put into service at Riverwood.

The Depth (for optional study)

In this section we are providing an in-depth look into the scriptures that the message came out of. There are two critical steps in good interpretation of the Bible. First, we try to understand what the author meant when he wrote the words and how that would have been applied by the original audience. Second, we then take the principles that the original author was trying to get across to his audience and we apply those principles to our own lives. You may want to read some of these passages yourself and/or have people in your group read them together.

Acts 20:17-38 (New Revised Standard Version)

17From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. 18When they came to him, he said to them:

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. 20I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. 22And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. 24But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.

25“And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. 26Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, 27for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 29I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. 31Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears. 32And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. 33I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 34You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. 35In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

36When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. 37There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship.

Psalm 90:17

Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!

Psalm 118:24-25

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!
O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!

 Nehemiah 1:11

“O LORD, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man!”

This prayer was spoken by Nehemiah as he considered coming before Artaxerxes, the King of Babylon to ask him to allow Nehemiah to take a group to the city of Jerusalem and repair it.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (exercise self-control: show up)

Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.

Zachariah 4:1-6 (not by your own strength but by the strength of God)

The angel who talked with me came again, and wakened me, as one is wakened from sleep. He said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it; there are seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And by it there are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” He said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

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