Have you ever received an epic thought from an unexpected source? I recently read, “The closest distance between two people is a good laugh.” This statement straight from a fortune cookie launched an expansion of my understanding regarding the value of humor to the heart of Gospel ministry. The more I consider this thought the more I realize that it has regularly been the ministries of those who tastefully (no pun intended for the Chinese food lovers) merged lightheartedness with God’s weighty truth that have highly impacted me.
May I give you a few cautions of ministry humor:
Note: Don’t become careless with your funny side!
- Sarcasm is NEVER an effective means of communication.
- Attempting to constantly be “the funniest preacher/leader” will undermine your authority and God’s message.
- All-serious, stoic ministry produces an uncomfortable, distant, lifeless flavor of ministry.
- Trying to impersonate or duplicate the humor of another person is rarely a fortuitous decision.
- “Demeaning” jokes should ONLY be focused upon your shortcomings and blunders, not your wife, children, or fellow church members.
May I give you a few connections of ministry humor:
Note: Don’t underestimate your funny side!
- A natural, heart-felt sense of humor on your part allows others to ENJOY relating to you week in and week out.
- A willingness to laugh at yourself provides a refreshing, humble tone to your ministry.
- Well-placed humor provides a rhythmic cycle of edification, break, edification, break that provides sustainable attention during regularly scheduled teaching and preaching.
- Freshly-acquired, humorous narratives provide a continued rapport for the well-tenured pastor, veteran evangelist, life-long missionary, and multi-generational Sunday school teacher.
- Most importantly, Spirit-refined humor allows every Christian to enjoy Gospel connections with complete, unregenerate strangers at door-knocking, grocery stores, water coolers, and church services!
Have you allowed “comedy” to be relegated to only late night, carnal entertainment? Ask the Lord to infuse your ministry with a sanctified sense of humor. Humor does not equal ministry, but can greatly enhance ministry! Proverbs 17:22 states, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Too often in ministry we who are supposed to be ministering are really just discouraging the people God has entrusted to us. In the ministry there are a lot of dark and disconnected moments where we only have two choices-laugh or cry; I choose to laugh more often for the sake of those that know me.
Are others just “humoring” your mundane ministry or enjoying your upbeat ministry? If you perceive that your day-to-day ministry lacks vibrant connection, erect the bridge of humor over which the Holy Spirit can cross to the hearts of those for whom you fervently love and pray. The first few moments after a “shared laugh” are some of the sweetest opportunities in ministry-buy them up! Please remember its about much more the “fortune cookie” humor of life; the joy of the Lord is your strength as you seek to relate to those who are estranged not just from you but from God.
What “cautions” would you add to my list?
What “connections” would you add to my list?
Excellent thoughts. I would add that racist jokes are inappropriate at all times and only hinder our gospel message. Also that many people are offended even by harmless jokes (to the teller) about certain parts of the country. I hate that everything is so sensitive and politically correct these days – but if the gospel is our message and not the joke, the joke is not worth telling if it discredits or shuts down the hearer to the message.
That is a insightful thought to add to the “caution” list. The last thing we want to do is create additional barriers because of our regional, racist, or just ignorant insensitivity. We want to make sure it is a GOOD laugh! Thank you, Brother.
Thanks for the post, brother! I appreciate your balance on the subject. As trivial as a subject like this may seem to some, I believe it is very important. I think teenagers especially respond to humor. I’ve found that teens are constantly evaluating people to see who is “real.” The right kind of humor can really help them open up and let you touch them with the Word of God, without doing any disservice to it either.
Thank your for your encouragement and how this thought applies to youth ministry. Have a blessed day!