Recently I saw a commercial featuring marathon joggler Michal Kapral, who set a world record in running a full marathon while juggling, otherwise known as joggling. While in a pastoral transition I could relate to the high pace of life while trying to keep multiple balls in the air. See Michal talk about this … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDd07tyMwzA
Pastoral ministry is much like juggling while running a marathon. There are certainly times of fatigue and endurance. There is as much mental stamina required as physical, oh, and spiritual stamina too! What most people may not realize is that every pastor I know, whether serving in a one pastor church, or those serving in a multiple staff churches, every pastor is running and juggling multiple things while trying not to let one of those balls drop. And when a ball does drop, there’s the grief of people focusing on the one ball bouncing alongside rather than the successful juggling and running act being performed right in front of their eyes! This criticizing the imperfect circus act can feel very isolating.
I find the same is true in my walk with Jesus. Why is it that before becoming a Christian, I didn’t feel good enough for God apart from Jesus, but now that I’m in Christ, I don’t feel good enough for God with Jesus? I’m also focused on the one ball bouncing alongside this miraculous event of the Holy Spirit functioning within me? The Holy Spirit’s ministry in me makes me look like I’m running and juggling at the same time!
While in a pastoral transition we often find ourselves juggling a few new balls on top of the usual. There’s the ball of insecurity that comes with a new position or the lack of one. There’s the ball of new problems and/or new responsibilities to face. And then there’s that big medicine ball of fear that comes with a transition. Ever tried to juggle a medicine ball and two tennis balls?! We have to learn to administrate new things to get this ship back to safe harbor!
When life is moving too fast and there’s too many balls to juggle, I’m reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus says Martha is worried and upset about many things, including her project partner. But Mary is at peace and enjoying what is most important, a forever friend.
So in joggling pastoral transitions, may we overcome the tendency to be discouraged, worried, or upset about things like our project partners, and may we enjoy the forever friends that He provides along the way.
Oh, and way to go, you juggle and run really well!