Last week, I was in Galveston, Texas with Ministers, Youth Directors, Christian Educators, Seminary Profs, PCUSA leaders, and friends. I relished the opportunity to learn, be inspired, and have the chance to do some coaching. It was the annual APCE conference.
Early in the week, a group of us in GA, SC, and FL gathered to work on an event in Nov. 2019, that will focus on ways that improv can be a tool in ministry.
MaryAnn McKibben Dana, author of God, Improv, and the Art of Living, will be our speaker for the event. The leadership team has decided we are going to spend the next few months practicing the art of “YES, and…”
I have used the “YES, and…” tool before, but this time I am challenging myself to be more intentional, to find ways to use “YES, and…” more often and perhaps in some new risky ways.
So often when we face realities, we shut down options by saying “but.” Approaching life improvisationally requires you to build upon what is there, not to shut it down. Saying, “We need to buy a new washing machine, but we can’t afford it,” shuts down the options of replacing the washing machine (a “must-need” in my house). Saying “and” instead permits you to dream about other alternatives.[Yes, my husband and I did negotiate the purchase of a new machine on 2/10, “thanks be to God,” and Lowes gave us enough options that we were able to find a basic machine and not deplete our savings.]
As a result of reading this book, and preparing for our fall event, all of us are now more aware of how often we use the word “but,” and how often “and” is a much better replacement. Saying yes, “and,” means being open to risk, being open to God’s presence in the midst of the uncertainty.
The kind of uncertainty, and a risk that makes my washing machine improv feel like an opening exercise. It is a simple YES, and compared to, say (you fill in the blank).
MaryAnn describes Jesus as a master of improvisation and encourages us to seek out God’s “YES, and” in scripture.
I invite you to join me in the Yes, and…challenge. There are no trite or easy answers offered to life’s hard questions – only an invitation to seek out God’s “YES, and,” and be open to where that leads.
Keep a notebook or journal about your “YES, and” encounters.
- What surprised you?
- What did you discover about yourself?
- How did the use of “YES, and” open opportunities?