Three Options

Conditions don’t make us; but what we do with them does. Seth Godin wrote that we have three options in any situation: we can react, respond, or initiate. I think he is right. Humanly speaking, that is probably the extent of what we can do. The most crucial thing isn’t what happens to us but what happens in us. 


As we climb out of COVID, the question is – what are we going to do in the situation we find ourselves? Here are our three choices.

We can react (bad). Our “knee-jerk” reactions are seldom the best. They are often emotional, and we regret the things we do and say. The Apostle Peter was often impulsive. He was the first to jump out of the boat, overconfident in rebuking Jesus, and promised he would never deny Christ, to share a few examples (Matthew 14:29-30;16:22-23; 26:33). During uncertain times, it’s easy to overreact. James warns us to be “slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).

We can respond (better). To respond means to think about the effect of our decisions. The danger is that we respond in a way that is too comfortable and safe. As we come out of COIVD, it is tempting to put things all back in place. My caution would be not to do “what we’ve always done” or let the expectations of others set the agenda. We should respond in faith and expectation. We need God’s wisdom and direction for the future. James tells us that if “any of us lack wisdom, we are to ask God” (James 1:5-6). We need to look to God for his wisdom and direction.

We can initiate (best). This pandemic has disrupted our routines so that we now have the chance of hitting the reset button. There is no better time to initiate things than right now! Here are a few of my suggestions:

  1. Keep things simple. Be slow to restart past ministries.
  2. Be willing to say “no” to the things that haven’t been fruitful. This will take courage.
  3. Say “yes” to something new that has promise!    
  4. Commit to a hybrid ministry. We now can reach people in person and online.  
  5. Rethink building use. During COVID, we did without our buildings for a number of months. While we still need a place to meet, we need to think about how our buildings can be used for outreach in our communities. 


The way we interact with our circumstances impacts our ministry. We all need to react less and initiate more. What are the steps that God is asking you to take in the coming weeks and months? What are some things you think should be initiated during this time?

I’d love to hear from you!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Dave Kenagy says:

    I wonder if a renewed emphasis on “Membership” might be in order? Rather than making membership a wide and easy gate where all comers give perfunctory assent to a short form “belief statement” after an “orientation luncheon” what would happen if we spent several months in teaching and discussion from the Discipline or even the Bible (!), required formal interviews with the pastor and the P/P Committee and the like? Would we attract and retain people of unity, commitment and devotion or would we risk becoming a closed cult of weird Jesus followers? And which of those “should” we be? Are the pressures to grow our numbers forcing us to make membership “easy” ? If so, do we end up paying a price later in divisiveness, low levels of commitment and little joyful experience of genuine Christian community?

    Liked by 1 person

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