Gospel Centered Growth

The Five D’s – How to Overcome Antagonism and Build Cooperation



What follows grew out of my recent experiences in intentional, interim ministry. After a three month period of getting to know individuals on both sides of the past issues, I came to a dead end. Any attempt at dealing with their issues was likely to enliven past feelings of acrimony. The divides in their opinions and feelings were too broad and deep. At this point in their history, any attempts at discussions would only aggravate their situation. And yet, it was time for them to begin their movement forward.

As I reflected on this dilemma, I recalled that such situations need a “process–form” for guidance and control. I have a number of tools that provide such processes but these are better suited to less emotionally charged situations. I needed something new. I also needed something, which would be so transparent that all (or most) of them could comprehend what I was saying and make personal application of its meaning, both for them and their congregation. And then, it struck me, “It needed to have a sense of humor to make it palatable.” Humor would make it more accessible and meaningful for them.

What emerged from this contemplation – and much prayer – was The Five D’s. They are simple and direct. They guided our discussions over the following months, helped us lay a foundation for our work, and provided guides on how we would do this. They appeared, to the members, to be eminently reasonable and unbiased – and caused us to act reasonably and free of major biases. They are:

  1. DUMB: The principle of limited knowledge.

  2. DIAGNOSIS: The principle of needing all the facts.

  3. DISCERNMENT: The principle that significant issues lie beneath our facts.

  4. DEVELOPMENT: The principle that we need to grow in faith, understanding, and skills before we act.

  5. DO: The principle of knowing how to act.

I used these five D’s in a sermon, providing brief explanations and a humorous application to the congregation. In the pages that follow, I shall repeat the brief comments I made in the sermon and then expand on its value in developing the people and the congregation. I shall also refer to specific tools needed to make a full application of these principles.

May God bless your contemplation on what follows.

In Christ,

Rev. Karl Koch




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