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Juggler-ministryJuggling is an art.  And it’s fascinating to watch.

My role in ministry is a constant juggle.  There are always projects, special events, team building, volunteer recruiting, personnel conversations, refining conversations, encouraging conversations and “I’m frustrated!” conversations. The plate is always full.

Should it always be this way?  Great question. This is all I’ve ever known, so I’m going to say yes. The trick to navigating all of it is in the juggling.

Here are 3 things I do to juggle well:

  1. Juggle the tough stuff first.  Although it seems to make sense that you would pick up the smaller balls and juggle them first, maybe to warm up and get your bearings. That may be true in real life juggling but in juggling ministry work, pick up your big clubs first. These are your “hard conversations”; your creative, out-of-the-box strategizing; your “big rock” tasks that move your ministry forward.
  1. Don’t worry about what you can’t juggle. If you start with the big rocks, then it’s easy to see you won’t be able to juggle the smaller, more immediate, you-don’t-understand-the-weekend-is-coming kind of tasks. But you’ll find there is always someone looking to jump in and help you with these tasks. There is someone that will see that ball lying on the ground and ask the question, “Why is that ball on the ground? Why isn’t someone juggling it?” To which you can reply, “It’s waiting for you!” A task left undone reveals a need. A project left unmanned reveals a leadership void. Look for someone around you to empower to lead these projects. You never know where that could lead.
  1. Pick it up again.  Every juggler drops an item. It happens. They just pick it up and start juggling again. So many times i set myself up to believe that I can’t afford to drop a ball. Then I do. And you know what I’ve learned? The world did not come to an end! The church didn’t implode, and my ministry didn’t fly off the rails! I just dropped a ball. So I learn to apologize … sincerely. I pick it up. And begin juggling again.

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children’s ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tenn. 

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