We’ve Gotta Start Taking Humor More Seriously
By Doug Hutchcraft
Psalm 126:2 and Job 8:21 directly link laughter as a result of God’s blessing. Even so, humor sometimes gets a bad rap in church and ministry circles because we’ve seen it used so many times in ways that don’t glorify God. When utilized within God’s boundaries though (see Ephesians 5:4 to read how much God doesn’t laugh at bathroom humor), laughter is simply too great of a gift and too powerful a communication weapon to not harness for God’s glory.
Laughter is one of God’s greatest creations.
Used creatively and effectively, it can attract people from all walks of life to His truth and, ultimately, the Gospel. I’ve seen God at work through humor firsthand. It’s one of the reasons more than 30,000 young people from 90 countries have prayed to receive Christ on The Doug And Jon Show. It’s a primary reason 115,000 Facebook fans keep us in their news feeds. Yes, we share the Gospel – but we win a young person’s trust first by sharing some laughs.
Laughs break the ice.
When communicating, in some cases, you’ve got maybe 30 seconds before a person, especially a young person, decides whether they relate to you and will listen to what you have to say. When you start a conversation with a shared laugh, you can break down invisible walls in an instant.
The theme of the current Youth Leaders Only Digital Box is Humor & Fun: Tickling The Universal Funnybone Of Youth Ministry. In addition to getting all the newest Christian, worship, and mainstream music, you get articles, Bible studies, and many other great resources when you join YLO!
Laughs change negative perceptions.
We live in a world full of people that believe Christians are all Mr. and Mrs. Judge-ingtons. Their perception is we want to yell at them because they have sin in their lives. One shared laugh at our own shortcomings can communicate we’re not all the sticks in the mud they perceive us to be.
Laughs can help effectively communicate hard truths.
Recently I taught at a church from Proverbs 4:23 on guarding your heart. I used a funny illustration about how there’s a stretch on Interstate 40 in Texas that assaults your nasal cavity because of all the cow farms in the community. Somehow though, the folks that live there don’t smell it because they’re used to it. From there, I turned the corner into Christians not being able to “smell” the kind of entertainment that is offensive to God because we’re so accustomed to it. I call communicating hard truths this way as “putting velvet on a brick.” You don’t water down the hard truth — but you get people thinking about it on a deeper level because you delivered it in an entertaining and unexpected way.
Not every truth in God’s Word is appropriate to illustrate with humor, but it’s wise to consider utilizing humor in ones where it works. So laugh a little, and invite others to crack up with you! It’ll bring a bright spot into their day, and it might even give them a glimpse into the joy that comes from following such a great Savior.