How to climb out of the D2 Pit…and how to lead others from despair to grace – Part 1

Last week I talked about the concept of “D2” – a reference from Mike Breen’s “Building a Discipling Culture”.  Today I want to expand on this discussion and share some of my very own art work!

When we, or someone we are discipling, hit D2 it’s like falling into a pit.  What happens when you fall into a pit?

  • You feel stuck
  • You get frustrated
  • You lose sight of the destination
  • You feel isolated
  • You feel like a failure
What happens if you stay in the D2 pit too long?  You eventually lose hope and, in time, make yourself as comfortable as possible.  (Notice how our stick man goes from standing up to sitting down watching TV.)  This is where many leaders and churches find themselves at the moment.  They can recall the glory days when God seemed so close, their faith was so real, and there was joy and fruit overflowing from their lives.  But, those days were a long time ago, and while they go through the motions of life and ministry, they no longer expect God to show up in power.  At least not for them…
Here’s another thing all of us know about D2 – we much prefer D1 when everything was new and exciting!  D1 is that honeymoon phase we enjoy when our church implements a new program that promises to cure whatever ails us.  D1 is the excitement and determination we feel in January as we begin that new diet and exercise plan.  D1 feels great – all of us love D1!  
The only problem with D1?
  1. We lack the experience to navigate the new goal skillfully
  2. We haven’t built up the muscles needed to sustain the new vision
  3. It is ALWAYS followed by D2
So, one of the ways we deal with the hardship and disappointment of D2 is to shift back into a new D1.  We have become addicted to the new and shiny.  Feeling stuck?  Try this new product, this new pill, this new program!  We have become the children of Israel who want to go back to Egypt…
What do we need to climb out of the D2 pit?
We need a leader, a coach, or a mentor to serve us.  How?
  1. We need to be reminded of the vision.  Since we are in a pit we have lost sight of the destination.  Our coach, standing on level ground, can still see the promised land.  She can describe it for us in detail.  And, as she speaks words of vision back into our soul, we remember why the journey is so important.  The vision, now refreshed in our mind and heart, fuels us to begin the long climb out of D2.
  2. We need our coach to stay with us.  We need her time and attention.  There is no place more lonely than D2.  The realization that we are not alone, not forsaken, and possessing enough value for someone we respect to wait for us breathes hope and grace into our despair.
  3. We need the leader we are following to remind us of God’s grace.  One of the reasons we are stuck in this pit?  Self-reliance.  We believed that if we were committed enough, tried hard enough, pushed long enough, we would eventually get there.  In our zeal to serve God and do something important for him, we lost sight of the Gospel.  We forgot that without Christ we can do nothing, and that only through Christ can we do everything.  
This morning I read 2 Corinthians 4:7:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
The best and brightest of us are only clay jars.  So, let’s not take ourselves too seriously.  Instead, let’s take God more seriously!  Only God changes hearts, only God brings dead things back to life, and only God can build his church.  Our part?  We trust him and not ourselves.  Period.
Find the grace, follow the grace.  Soon your feet will be back on level ground.

2 Responses to How to climb out of the D2 Pit…and how to lead others from despair to grace – Part 1

  1. the 3dm Leadership team at covenant hope church In battle creek just come out of our last immersion learning community. it was a good experience and we learned a lot we have also concluded we are indeed as a church in d2 right now as was some of our leadership actually most of our leadership. we can see our selves turning the corner and getting on with d3. it will for sure take a lot of work and a lot of reevaluating and a lot of good communication with our congregation. we hope to use the gold nuggets that we found while we were digging around in the pit of d2. we plan on getting back together sometime next week to debrief and to put into practice those things that we took with us and get rid of those things we left behind.

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