DCL 5.4 Instruction | Take a Risk – There is No Other Way to Fail Forward

In this DCL module, the sessions presented by Tom Atema do not entirely follow the notes.  Tom decided to share on the subject of ‘Failing Forward’ from his own experience. The video has been included in full to use at your discretion.


Video Presentation: Tom Atema, VP of International Ministries and Strategic Partnerships, EQUIP


Risk must be evaluated not by the fear it generates in you or even by the probability of success or fail­ure, but by the value of the goal. Every noble goal was reached because someone dared to take a risk. The less you risk, the greater your risk of failure. Ironically, the more you risk failure – and actually fail from time to time – the greater your chances of success. Let’s contrast some traits of those who refuse to take a risk with those who are risk-takers:

5.4-Instruction-Take a risk

Remember: It is better to try something great and fail than to try nothing great and succeed.

If risk-taking can produce great potential results, why don’t people embrace it as a friend? They resist because of one or more of the following traps:

1.  The Embarrassment Trap: they don’t want to look bad.

2. The Rationalisation Trap: they second-guess everything.

3.  The Unrealistic Trap: they don’t like the price tag.

4.  The Expectations Trap: they whine that their load is too heavy.

5.  The Fairness Trap: they wait for the perfect time.

6.  The Timing Trap: they wait until they feel like taking action.


If you are succeeding at everything you do, then you are probably not pushing yourself hard enough. In other words, you are not taking enough risks.


Remember: You risk because you have something of great value you want to achieve.



  • Think of an example from your own life of a risk that paid off. Now, ask yourself if there was ever a time in your life you did not take a risk for fear of failure. Into what traps (above) have you fallen?


Biblical Case Study: The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

In Matthew 25, Jesus shares the story of the man who gave his goods to three of his servants before he departed on a journey to a far country. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one. After a long time away, the man returned and met with the servants to settle accounts.

The servant who received five talents, as well as the one given two talents, reported to the master that they had been able to double the amount originally placed in their care. The master was overjoyed and praised them for the wise investment of resources entrusted to them.

The servant who received one talent reported no gain on what was given to him. Even though the servant acknowledged that he knew his master would expect an increase, he reported that he hid the talent in the ground. The owner sharply rebuked him. The punishment was severe. What was his mis­take? He tried to play it safe! Because the servant refused to be a risk-taker, he forfeited everything. God has not called us to play it safe.

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DCL Instruction Media and Notes © EQUIP Million Leaders Mandate Volume 2