Issue #25: A Case For Using Humor in Your Preaching
I sat in Bridgestone Arena to watch comedian Nate Bargatze perform for nearly an hour. The largest gathered crowds in that arena’s history (19K+) laughed as he told stories and pointed out absurdities in life. Comedians are a gift from God, but that’s a post for another day.
Are the sounds of laughter heard from your church services on Sunday mornings? If so, why? If not, why not?
The question this raises for our consideration is: what role does humor play in preaching?
I believe that humor can have many positive effects on our preaching, including making us more relatable as shepherds to the flock. That’s the subject of today’s newsletter.
Fearful of Funny
My uncle pastored from the time he was in his twenties until he died in his sixties. I heard him preach multiple times, but never saw his funny personality show up in any of those occasions. He was the life of the family gatherings throughout my childhood. He enjoyed laughing, joking, and having a good time.
But when he preached his demeanor was somber and serious. To be clear, preaching is a serious matter, and the truths of Scripture should never be handled flippantly. But preaching does not require somber or sour to be effective. In fact, our preaching should come from a place of authenticity to who we are as individuals.
If you are a funny person, it is okay to let that come out in your preaching. You can guard against it becoming a distraction. But you should also guard against suppressing it out of a belief that it isn’t becoming of someone preaching the Word of God.
1 Actionable Tip
Let your natural personality show in your preaching. If you are a funny person, don’t be afraid to let that come out in your sermons. Just guard against letting it dominate.
There is a church in our area that is known for its “funny pastor.” The church doesn’t teach doctrine at a deep level, and the prevailing theme when people talk about the church on social media platforms is how funny the pastor is. It’s okay that the pastor is funny. But nobody should want that to be the prevailing characteristic of your ministry.
Humor has a place in preaching and teaching. Jesus was funny. Paul was funny. The reason humans laugh and enjoy humor is because we are made that way by God. Humor not only warms people to the communicator, but it can also be used to deliver truth. It is a delivery method that sneaks in the backdoor sometimes.
Using humor can make you more relatable to those you shepherd. Use it joyfully and wisely.
Opportunities for Next Steps
1. Student Minister Leadership Lab. We are excited about pouring into student ministry leaders with a practical workshop style event. Join us in Nashville August 3-4th for coaching and practical help for leading an effective student ministry. Register here.
2. Personal Coaching. If you are a pastor interested in personal leadership coaching, reach out to email@example.com and he can detail out the process and opportunities.