Oct 07 2009

Can There Be Anything Funny About Outreach?

Published by at 7:57 am under Clean Comedy,Outreach

Author Os Guinness once posed the question, “Is there a place for the court jester in the kingdom of Heaven?”

Over the years, I have tried to build trust with pastors and church leaders by not only being funny and making sure my events are enjoyable, but also by treating comedy as a legitimate outreach tool. To me, an outreach event should be geared toward opening the mind of the unbeliever, even if it’s just a crack.

Comedy breaks down inhibitions.  Laughter opens the heart, especially when it’s the laughter of recognition.  My humor about skirmishes with my wife and children is felt universally.  When people are laughing hysterically at me and at themselves, I’ve gained credibility; I’ve earned their respect.  So now when I start to share about how it used to be, how far I’d fallen, how I’d almost lost everything, they are with me.  They get it.  They can also relate.  Maybe they were never on the brink of divorce and total despair, but each of us has had those really low times when we weren’t sure we’d ever again be lifted up.

Nothing opens up people’s hearts and minds more than when they can relate to the tragic suffering of a fellow human being they respect.  Once I have that opening, I know they are ready to hear whatever I have to say.  I’ve got the credibility and legitimacy to speak to them.  When I tell them how far I’d fallen, they are with me.  And when I tell them how God lifted me up, they stay with me.

The first time I took a chance and shared my testimony, I was very nervous, even though I felt God had laid it on my heart to do it.  I received an e mail that evening following the show from a gentleman in attendance.  He wrote, “Thank you for sharing your story.  You and I have been through very similar things, and the fact that you got up in front of 1500 strangers and shared your struggles gives me the strength to share them with my wife tonight.  Thank you for your honesty.”  Since then I’ve received many stories about people who brought their unchurched friends to see my comedy performance, who wound up being moved to join the church.

An outreach event should engage as many different age demographics as possible, and nothing brings together multiple generations like comedy.  Nearly every night, I can look out in the audience and see three generations of families enjoying a good laugh together.  Christian musical concerts are typically subjective and age-specific, but hilarious, clean comedy easily transcends age, gender and background.

Comedy opens up the opportunity to share the love of Christ with people who might never have otherwise set foot in a church. Is there a place in God’s kingdom for a court jester?   You bet there is.

What kinds of outreach events have made a difference for you and/or the people in your life?

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Can There Be Anything Funny About Outreach?”

  1. Joe Durikaon 18 Oct 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Jeff,

    I am so happy to see someone else who feels that entertainment in the name of Jesus is outreach!

    At my church, I often refer to myself as a “Fool for Christ,” especially when someone asks me to be sprayed with whipped cream, pelted with water and flour, or (and I’ve actually done this) had half my head and face shaved off as ways to minister to kids.

    I’ve similarly been used by God in our adult ministries (you may not remember me, but we met this past weekend at Messiah College…I mentioned using your “brownies in the bedroom” bit as the basis for a sketch for our Married Life Live events).

    I am often disappointed that churches don’t use comedy and drama to convey the message of Christ to those who might not otherwise listen to a sermon. I pray that God continues to find ways for me to use my gifts and my willingness to be a “Fool for Christ.”

    Thank you for your contribution to the cause of Christ! Your show on Friday night was awesome. Sorry if I laughed too loudly!!

  2. Laura Caudleon 05 Mar 2010 at 8:38 pm

    We would love to talk to you about visiting our church when you are in the area. What are your rates and will you be in the western area of North Carolina in 2010?

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply