react(ive) or proact(ive)

A couple of weeks ago I was in a few all-day meetings.  After the first half of the first day, I was totally engaged.  By the time we were in the 2nd half of that day, I was realizing that there was a lot of original thought flying around the room and that none of it was coming from me, or at least none that I was saying out loud.

Photo by CJ Dayrit on Unsplash

From there, it was just a series of introspective thoughts on why I felt totally engaged but wasn’t outwardly engaged.  For the moment, I have boiled it down to the tension. I feel between being reactive and being proactive.  As a production person, so much (OK, most) of what I am responsible for is a reaction to someone else’s ideas.  You tell me the idea, and I’ll react to it and as we say around here, enhance it.

The problem for me is that for production to become the most effective, I need to learn how to be proactive as well.  Instead of being in reactive mode, I need to start thinking beyond just how to get things done and onto what could be done.

Here are a few thoughts based on my journey over the last couple of weeks:

Being reactive keeps me in my production box.  If all I do is react to people’s ideas, the only questions people will ask me is about how I can get things done for them.  “Tell me what you want and I’ll do it.”

Thinking proactively expands my influence in my environment.  If I am imagining what could be, and sharing my ideas about things other than production, my opinion could help to influence more than just my immediate ministry, but possibly the larger church.

Being reactive keeps me in a “WHAT?!?!” mindset.  When I react to ideas, I can tend to poke holes in them, and talk about reasons why it can’t work.  And for some non-production type people, my reaction can be interpreted as reactionary and negative, perhaps even an overreaction.

Thinking proactively puts me in a “What if” mindset.  If I take the limits off of my responses, now I am imagining possibilities.  They might all stink, but asking “What if…” helps to expand the discussion, looking for solutions.  For the non-production person, this feels more like we are in this together.

As technical artists in the church, how can we move from reaction to proactive action?  How could things be, instead of how they shouldn’t?

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