DCL 5.5 Instruction | Introduction

“Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplications, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”

(2 Chronicles 33:12-13)


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


The idea that you can make failure your best friend may seem odd to you. But the truth of the matter is that failure is either your friend or your enemy, and you are the one who chooses which it is. If you whine and complain every time you fail, then failure will remain your enemy. But if you learn from your failures, then you actually benefit from them and that makes failure your friend.


All of us can benefit from our wins. The important thing is to learn to profit from our losses. To turn losses into profits, you must have a teachable attitude and ask the following questions every time you face adversity:

1.  What caused the failure?

2.  Was what happened truly a failure?

3.  What can I learn from what happened?

4.  Am I grateful for the experience?

5.  How can I turn this into a success?

6.  Who can help me learn the most from this experience?

7.  Where do I go from here?


Biblical Case Study: Jacob (Genesis 25:26-32:32)

Jacob seemed to have strong leadership potential early in life. He wielded great influence in his family. Sadly, he had some serious character flaws. He conned his brother out of his birthright and deceived his father into giving him a special blessing that rightfully belonged to his brother, Esau. Esau hated Jacob because of his deception. Jacob fled from Esau in fear of his life. Later, Jacob fled from his father-in-law, Laban. While on the run, he learned that Esau was looking for him. Jacob was at the lowest point of his life. He now honestly faced his failures.

Alone with God, Jacob admits his deception. As he wrestled with the Angel of God, he turned a crucial corner in his life. He broke physically when the Angel dislocated his hip, but he also broke emotionally and spiritually as he told the truth about his weaknesses. In the process of facing his failure and seek­ing God’s favour upon his life, he failed forward. Jacob the deceiver became Israel, a prince with God. He committed himself to serve God rather than himself. He was made usable through brokenness. Adversity and failure helped him prepare to serve God more effectively and lead people. From that moment on, Jacob began to fulfill his God-ordained destiny.

DCL Meditation and Inspiration Media and Notes © Willow Creek Association.
DCL Instruction Media and Notes © EQUIP Million Leaders Mandate Volume 2