Group Juggling

My favorite team building activity is called Group Juggling – maybe you’ve played it. The group stands in a circle, and the action starts with one ball being tossed from person to person until everyone has caught and thrown it once. Everyone has to then remember who threw them the ball, and who they threw it to, because the goal is to keep that pattern going and slowly add as many balls as possible without dropping any of them. It’s way harder than it sounds, with balls flying everywhere, and no time to think between catching and passing the ball along. But when the group’s concentration finally locks in and the balls stay in the air, the excitement and energy of the group is palpable.

As the fall season has gotten into full swing here at church, I’ve found myself saying that I feel like I have a lot of balls in the air. It’s a common expression we use to describe the feeling of being one misstep away from dropping something. But when I take a look at the work I do here, I’m realizing that it’s a lot more like group juggling than it is like individual juggling. As an individual juggler, my goal is to know exactly where all the balls are in the air at any given time. But in group juggling, I may have no idea what’s happening on the other side of the circle, but I trust that they’re doing what they need to do over there, and I focus on my one piece of the process – catching a ball and tossing it to someone else.

I’m discovering that that’s what a good portion of my job here in the church office is like. I serve as an information hub; someone asks a question, and I either find out the answer or I point them to someone who can help. Day to day I don’t really think about all the work that each of you does around here until I have a reason to find out some detail, or check on the timing of something, or ask how things usually work. And when I do ask those questions, I discover this whole beautiful group juggling routine happening behind the scenes. There are people changing lightbulbs, designing banners, distributing flyers, driving mail to the post office, and so much more all the time here. And when the concentration of the community locks in, and the projects and events are in full swing, the excitement and energy of this place is palpable.

In gratitude for every member of community’s group juggling act,

Mariah Pepper

Office Manager


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