• Plate-Spinning Management
The fine art of “plate spinning” is a sort of a juggling act where you keep as many plates (real or plastic) spinning as you can on top of sticks or poles. If a plate stops spinning, it will fall and break, so you have to visit each plate as it slows, to speed it up again. The more plates you have, the more frantically you must dash from plate to plate to plate to keep them all spinning. Figuratively, you are frantically busy keeping track of lots of things. This is like another similar phrase from juggling…“Having a lot of balls in the air.”
How many plates can you spin at one time?
The trick is to keep the old-one spinning, while you add more. But, at what point do you let one plate stop, in order to add another new spinning plate? The truth is, practically, you can only keep so many plates spinning at one time, successfully. So why do we keep adding more spinning plates, while holding on to the ones that have stopped? It becomes cumbersome to add more sticks and plates and still keep up with the older spinning activity.
This management exercise is tricky business (pun intended). It gradually becomes a great diversion of effort, rendering you “incompetent” or maybe frustrated with all that you have begun for the sake of just adding still one more program activity.
The remedy is simply to select a few things to concentrate on that you really can manage, thus, avoiding the imbalance of tireless effort and a “circus-like” program to manage all the spinning plates. We may be assuming that only we are qualified to spin the plates we started spinning. Another solution is to delegate! That is, have others join you in spinning plates, either to help you spin your plates or you encourage them to have their own set of spinning plates. Your children’s ministry does not have to look like a three-ring circus! But having to do everything your self is a solvable-management problem— if you are willing share the sticks and plates.
Here are four solutions that might help:
1. Hand off some of the routine tasks, so you can concentrate of the more strategic tasks that require your unique role.
2. Try to enlist volunteers to assist you in specific repetitive tasks a couple of hours a week. If you get enough of them this might prove that you need part time paid help in your ministry.
3. Be clear about what you want helper to do. Provide some training and let them take some responsibility for some of the ministry.
4. Create a small group, that you can call your Admin Team. Get them all together and share the vision of how they can help make it happen for the children’s ministry.