By David Cotner

As a local church pastor, the whole of 2020 had me playing the game of “Reaction”. Are you familiar with this frustrating game? The rules of this game go something like this: 1) Disaster or crisis strikes, and 2) As a Christian leader, you are to react to the situation by generating a plan that will effectively navigate your people through the situation…And oh, by the way, your plan better be bathed in prayer, saturated with wisdom, and executed with all the decorum of a dolphin swimming towards a gorgeous sunset. It’s a horrible game indeed.

2020 had all of us leaders (inside and outside of the church) playing this sad game of “Reaction”. From the global pandemic that touched our country in March, to the race riots that erupted in May, to the election debacle that ensued in November, leaders have been reacting and reacting and reacting.

Well, now is the time to play a different game. As we enter this brand-new year of 2021, the madness continues, but we can choose to play a different game. Let’s call this game, “Proactive”. This is a much more stimulating game. The rules here are simple and straightforward: 1) Analyze the current political and cultural scene, and 2) As a leader, proactively generate a plan that will effectively navigate your people through the situation. Such a game is far better than the game of “Reaction” because it truly gives you time (one of our most precious commodities) to think, pray, and process with true wisdom and decorum.

So, what’s the current political and cultural scene? Well, this Monday, January 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Potential flashpoint? I think so. Also, Wednesday, January 20 is Inauguration Day. Potential for crisis? You bet.

Here is how I, as one of the pastors of Prairie Flower Baptist Church in little Washington, Iowa, plan to proactively lead my precious church family through the difficult and dark days that are potentially upon us. If all hits the fan next week, the Leadership Team of Prairie Flower has already decided to initiate “Operation Passionate Prayer” on Wednesday, January 20. This “operation” will suspend all our regular Wednesday evening ministries and simply call our church people to pray and fast all day for our country, culminating in a corporate night of prayer at 6:30 PM on that day.

It’s a simple plan. No flash and no bang. But it’s a plan that has been generated before the situation strikes, not after…It’s been proactively spawned, not reactively rushed. It’s such a great feeling. And I do hope that all of our fears concerning next week are nothing more than a modern-day Cuban Missile Crisis, but we are proactively prepared nonetheless.

So, are you a leader? Do you have people under your care? Are you analyzing the current political and cultural scene and proactively leading? Or are you still in the frustrating game of “Reaction”? Try this new game of “Proactive” instead…You’ll be glad you did. And yes, God is sovereign. And something can come flying in out of nowhere and we’re right back in the frustrating game of “Reaction”, but a guy can be optimistic, right?

David is a husband and father of three beautiful children. He currently serves as Lead Pastor at Prairie Flower Baptist Church in Washington, Iowa. If you’d like to connect with David, you can reach him via email at: