Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The plane now landing...

I used to think plate-spinning was a fine metaphor for parish ministry. I was wrong. You can train others to spin plates and can spin more that way. Allowing a few plates to crash to the floor in the early days of a new post is much better than having a seizure from running backwards and forwards too fast and too long but no-one told me that.

I am now working on the air traffic controller metaphor. Tasks need to be racked, stacked and packed (from Die Hard 2 I think but don't let it worry you) and brought in to land one by one. Some of the planes are disappointments but are usually followed by joyful ones, small ones, big ones and well you get it. All need to be dealt with (landed safely). You need a vision for getting your own planes (pro-active ministry) to line up with the interruptions (reactive ministry).

Planes crashing to the floor is a bad thing. Plates isn't. Today's planes have included interviewing some fine people for a job in our church, receiving the disappointing news that three key people are unable to come to the Alpha celebration supper tonight, going to said supper and hosting it and dealing with some routine phone messages and emails about stuff.

The varied life of a minister is what is most attractive about it. Last week I was taking a funeral, varnishing some benches with a load of young people, reading most of Genesis and thinking through a forthcoming project whilst being available when needed. This week I get a quiet day, a celebration meal with thirteen or fourteen young adults and a chance to tidy my desk a bit.

You need to keep alert (you want your air traffic controllers alert I imagine) but there are gaps between planes to be enjoyed.

2 comments:

anna p said...

But air traffic makes an error potentially fatal....and as one who takes herself way too seriously already, think I better stick to juggling plates.

(And not even ministerial crockery, at that, so if I drop a few saucers it's of non-eternal significance. Right?!)

Kathryn said...

"Allowing a few plates to crash to the floor in the early days of a new post is much better than having a seizure from running backwards and forwards too fast and too long but no-one told me that."
I rather suspect I needed to read that. Thanks Steve