DCL 5.5 Instruction | Work on the Weakness that Weakens You

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

We all have areas of weakness, you may even have a weakness not listed above. Here are some sug­gested steps you can take:

  • Talk to a trusted friend and ask him to help you evaluate yourself in the area of weakness.
  • Put yourself on a growth plan to turn that weakness into strength. The plan may include books, seminars, or finding a mentor.
  • Put your plan into action and stick with it for at least a year.
  • Ask your trusted friend to evaluate your progress from time to time.

Often we know there is a weakness, but we either fail to take corrective action, or we take the wrong action, or we fail to follow through on the growth plan. We need a trusted friend or mentor to help guide us through the process. Otherwise, we might take action that is detrimental.


Here is a humorous list of options for dealing with a dead horse. Unfortunately, none of the proposed actions will solve the problem, which illustrates the pitfall of taking action that is not beneficial.

1.  Buy a stronger whip.

2.  Change riders.

3.  Appoint a committee to study the dead horse.

4.  Appoint a team to revive the dead horse.

5.  Send out a memo declaring that the horse is not really dead.

6.  Hire a consultant to determine the seriousness of the problem.

7.  Harness several dead horses together for increased speed and efficiency.

8.  Rewrite the definition of a live horse.

9.  Declare the horse to be better, faster, and cheaper when dead.

10. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

There is only one effective solution: When your horse is dead, dismount!


Biblical Case Study: Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:10-20)

Manasseh reigned for 55 years as the King of Judah. The Word of God declares that he did evil in the sight of the Lord. The Assyrians captured him, bound him with chains, and carried him away to cap­tivity in Babylon. The Bible records that in the depth of his failure, he repented of his sins against God. He cried out to God for mercy and forgiveness. In his brokenness and shame, he determined that he would faithfully obey God for the remainder of his life. He failed forward. Notice what happened:

1.  God heard his cry for help.

2.  God brought him back to Jerusalem.

3.  God restored him as King of Judah.

4.  Manasseh destroyed the foreign gods and idols.

5.  He repaired the altar of the Lord.

6.  He worshipped the Lord with sacrifices of thanksgiving.

7.  He commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.

8.  The people worshipped the Lord their God.


If there is hidden sin in your life, repentance and God’s forgiveness is the only remedy. If you have other weaknesses that are hindering you on the success journey, you must be willing to take action to bring about improvement. Far too often, we wait until we are deep in the pit of failure before we come to our senses. John Maxwell gives the following insight:

People change when they…

  • Hurt enough that they have to
  • Learn enough that they want to
  • Receive enough that they are able to

Perhaps it was hurt that brought the prodigal son to his senses.



  • Take a moment to think upon the Luke 15 prodigal son. How did he learn from his fail­ures? How can you make failure your best friend?


Biblical Case Study: The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32)

Luke 15 is often called the “lost” chapter. It records the stories of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son. The coin is carelessly lost, the sheep is ignorantly lost, but the boy is willfully lost.

  • The younger of two sons insisted that his dad give him his inheritance. Note the steps on his jour­ney:
  • He wanted his independence.
  • He wasted his inheritance.
  • He committed iniquity.
  • He reached a point of desperation.
  • He longed for a better life.
  • He made a decision to return home.
  • He accepted full responsibility for his wrong choices.
  • He asked for forgiveness.
  • He failed forward.




Are you hurting today? Is it because you have disobeyed God? Is it because you have allowed a failure to keep you down? Is it because of a recurring mistake that you have ignored? Is it because of a weakness that you have failed to take steps to correct?


What steps will you take to solve the problem? List the steps and prayerfully commit to take action.

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