Tenacity Needed!

Seth Godin’s blog on Saturday, November 2, challenged:

“Tenacity is not the same as persistence. Persistence is doing something again and again until it works. It sounds like ‘pestering’ for a reason. Tenacity is using new data to make new decisions to find new pathways to find new ways to achieve a goal when the old ways didn’t work. Telemarketers are persistent, Nike is tenacious.”

His closing illustration reveals what many already know, Godin is a marketer. His usually-brief daily blog often proves insightful. Frequently I can see places where his insights transcend marketing.

A friend recently asked a group of Disciple Making Movements practitioners “what spiritual traits are needed to persevere until traction and finally multiplication happens?”

I replied, “A willingness to fail forward. Perfectionism prevents the risk-taking, trial-and-error learning that each new people group demands. Like a world-class tailor, there are basics of measuring, fitting and sewing that always apply. But each person is unique and that suit is going to hang differently. Ripping out seams and re-doing the work is often required.”

Intentionally passing on a biblical worldview to your children and grandchildren is not a “one-size-fits-all” endeavor. It will require “tenacity” as Godin defines it. We must be tenacious in reaching the goal of seeing the next two generations of our family owning a biblical worldview–relishing living under the reign of Christ! ” Tenacity is using new data to make new decisions to find new pathways to find new ways to achieve a goal when the old ways didn’t work.”

Current statistics on young people “leaving” church reveal that “the old ways didn’t work.” Will we become entrenched and persist in doing them harder, longer, faster, bigger, etc.? Or will we be tenacious and learn to make new decisions so we can  find new pathways in order to find new ways? Don’t be surprised when those new ways reflect Deuteronomy 6!



  1. Great food for thought. I can apply this in two areas of my life. Perhaps this is why God has allowed 2 of our kids to return home temporarily after college and why we are working among an unreached group. We relish the faith-centered discussions we are having with these two young adults these days.

    With one’s kids, however, even diligent and tenacious (as you define it above) demonstration of a Biblical worldview will not produce faith unless the Lord intervenes in the life of that child. Is not faith itself, a gift, not from parents, but from God?

    Would you not say too, that flexibility of thinking and prayer have to be part of a tenacious plan to reach people? Trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result is lunacy ! 🙂

    Thanks for this post, John.



    1. Carolyn, I certainly do not think any parent can save their children, themselves or anyone else, without God working in them and through them. But God’s Word does say that it is God’s passion to save people. He wants them saved more than even we do. Within this desired salvation is a love relationship. God wants us to want to love him–not because he has overwhelmingly forced us, but because we long to know him and walk with him.

      Jesus’ story that is often called “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” (Luke 15) rocks my mind. The father gives the younger son his inheritance. He lets him go. He does not go to the far country to find him (unlike the woman with the coin and the shepherd with the sheep). He waits for the son to come to himself. But when the son returns, the father sees him while he is still a ways away. Maybe he just happened to be looking that way. I like to think he often scanned the horizon in hopes of seeing him. Then the father runs to him, hugs him and starts the party.

      This picture of God shapes my parenting. My children are adults. They make their decisions. I am not responsible for those choices. I long for them to walk in the path of faith. I relish news that they are. I rejoice in their trajectory. Both love Jesus and are living their faith, not mine. But God did use me and their mother to influence them in ways we could not fully anticipate.

      Every parent shapes the worldview of their children. Every one of us!

      We can be intentional and passionate to model for them a vibrant biblical worldview. Or we can haphazardly hope they get one from other places. I know your course on these matters. Keep on keeping on!


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