Our society is becoming increasingly consumer driven. We consume massive amounts of information each day. Devices such as laptops, smartphones, and now tablets have given us not only a desire to constantly consume information and entertainment, but the ability to do so. We are the “always on” generation. While driving in the car or flying in the air or while in a country halfway around the world, I have immediate access to the dietary and rudimentary details of the lives of hundreds of my friends and acquaintances. I can immediately answer almost any question on nearly any subject with a quick check of Google or Wikipedia. More than any culture in the history of the world, we have constant access to information on any subject we desire. And we consume that information like a blood thirsty vampire.
But in the midst of that rise up producers who manufacturer large amounts of data and art. Proportionately, this group is small. Yet, these same devices that allow to constantly consume also allow us to become a generation of producers. In fact, I think they demand it. At the rate that information and entertainment are consumed, there must be a group of people who rise up and produce something of value. Notice that I didn’t say produce something, but something of value. That is the challenge, for the amount of producers of content grows daily thanks to things like Facebook and Youtube, but the world of producers of quality content is growing increasingly smaller, at least in my observations.
I noticed the same becoming true in my personal life and especially in ministry. For a while I silently devoured books, blogs, and any other source of information for the sole purpose of consuming that information. However, no matter how much knowledge I acquired, it provided no value to the world in general until I produced something from that knowledge. Things such as improvements to the way we do ministry at our church, to my increasing involvement in our local community, to this blog and my interaction on other people’s blogs are all by-products of that shift in focus. While I recognize that some of my contributions lack value, I hope that at least occasionally I produce something that has a positive impact on the world around me.
So, are you a consumer, idly receiving information for the purpose of self-satisfaction? Or are you a producer, consuming enough information to make something that contributes to the betterment of the world around you?
I challenge you today to be a producer. Contribute to the conversation. Implement a small change or an entirely new strategy in your ministry. Start a blog. Write a song. Whatever it is, produce something that is worth consuming.