Saturday, May 05, 2007

Missional Dip

Seth Godin has a new book, The Dip. I've ordered it, but it doesn't ship until May 10.

Here are some quotations about the topic of the book.

From the book description at the Amazon site:

"Maybe you're in a Dip-a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it's really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try."

"Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt-until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons. In fact, winners seek out the Dip. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for getting past it."

"Losers, on the other hand, fall into two basic traps. Either they fail to stick out the Dip—they get to the moment of truth and then give up—or they never even find the right Dip to conquer."

From an interview with Guy Kawasaki:

"What's the worst time to quit? When the pain is the greatest."

"The willingness to quit when you get off track pushes you on the path to mastery."

"When you copy something that's already on the other side of the Dip, you've already lost."

From an old essay at Fast Company:

"Fundamentalists decide whether they like a new piece of information based on how it will affect their prior belief system, not based on whether it is actually true."

Here's my summary of what Seth is trying to say:

  • Any accomplishment that is really worthwhile gets difficult before there is a "pay off."
  • But not all difficulties are created equal.
  • Some difficulties are essentially dead ends.
  • The "trick" is to be able to tell the difference.
  • The bigger the dip, the greater the pay off.
  • Each person, or organization, must discover what challenges should be faced and what obstacles are simply too big to overcome.

This requires a little translation to apply to missional Christianity. But here are some observations I would offer:

  • Missional living is the ultimate "Dip."
  • There is no quick pay off, no short cut.
  • But the eventual reward is incalculable.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ministry.
  • One of the most important disciplines for a congregation is to learn to say, "No."
  • It is a mistake to copy what another congregation did to get to the other side of the "Dip."
  • The reward for getting to the other side of the "Dip" is not
    • Getting big
    • Becoming famous
    • Speaking at seminars
    • Telling other people how to do it
  • The reward for getting to the other side is
    • Participating in the viral spread of God's kingdom
    • The opportunity to encourage others to survive the "Dip"
    • The opportunity to "risk it all" to cross another "Dip"

So what do you think? What would you add? What do you take issue with?

Here's an even more important question: Does this sound like something you'd be willing to spend your life for?

Pastor Rod

"Helping you become the person God created you to be"


Maria said...

The idea of "dip" reminds me of Wolfgang Simson's visual for people going through a paradigm shift from institutional to organic church. You've probably seen it -- two mountains with a deep valley between them. That place of wilderness or disorientation or just plain old pain seems universal when God is moving people into something new.

Missional Jerry said...

Rod you beat me to it

Reviewing seth's book before it hits!


Pastor Rod said...


Yes, this is a familiar concept. Seth is good at helping people comprehend the implications of what they already "know."


Pastor Rod said...


You sound like a Guinness commercial.



Anonymous said...

Senovia IWU
I believe that you should always put your faith in God while doing your best at your job, education, and family. However as long as you know you did your best you should never feel like a looser. I do not see anything wrong with a congregation implementing something they have seen at another church. I see it as a congregation seeing something good because it is of God, and not just to get to the other side of their “Dip.” As long as my “Dip” is getting closer to God and accomplishing my dream, yes I am willing to spend my life for it.

M. Pease said...

I know that it's a bit irreverent, (or is that irrelevant) but I haven't been able to think of anything on this subject except the cover of a Johnny Hart book "Dip in the Road".

I can't seem to get Blogger to accept the html tag for the link, so if you want to see it you'll have to "cut and paste"

Anonymous said...

I would like to get to the other side by being a disciple for Christ. That I should at all times try my best to stay on track with God’s words that the Devil is always busy, but we must stay focus in help and teaching others.

Linda J. IWU