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Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Four or five foam balls, small stuffed animals or other soft objects for throwing

Description of Activity

Invite participants to toss a foam ball or other soft object to one another while naming tasks and people that demand their time and attention on a daily or weekly basis. Explain: The person catching the ball will name one task or person from congregational life, home life or work life to which or whom they must attend. After naming the task or person, they should then immediately toss the ball to another person, who will also name something or someone that calls on their time and attention.

Encourage participants to go as quickly as possible, but be aware that some people find it easier to think under pressure than others do. Once a rhythm is established, add a second tossed object, then a third and a fourth in turn. Adding additional tossed objects will require participants to watch in several directions for the next ball and think quickly of tasks or people to name. Continue the game for about five minutes or until everyone has had a chance to speak a number of times. Participants may feel mild stress due to the speed of the game, the number of objects and the increased difficulty of thinking of things to name. They may also respond with laughter and silliness. In any event, the point will be made that everyone carries multiple responsibilities and is required to pay attention to things coming from many different directions.

Ask participants how they felt as they played the game. Did the game feel stressful, or silly? Did they respond more to the requirements of the game itself, or more to the naming of the demands upon their time and energy?

Tell participants that, as leaders, they need to develop ways to care for themselves in both body and spirit, because (1) their well-being is essential to their continuing the work and (2) their approach to self-care sets a tone for others in the congregation. Part of self-care includes telling the truth to oneself and others about the responsibilities we hold and carry.

Including All Participants

If any participants cannot throw an object around the room, have participants call out the name of the next person who must answer. For example, "I take care of bill paying for my parents. Bill, you're next." Encourage everyone to be random in calling on the next person, so other participants cannot anticipate their next turn.

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