Why Pastors Need a Sense of Humor

My favorite art store often brings in master teachers for classes on various kinds of art. In two weeks, they have an amazing watercolor artist doing a conference lasting several days and costing nearly $500. On the website the artist lists materials registrants should bring with them. It will not surprise one to learn the materials are specific, numerous, and somewhat expensive. But the last item in “things to bring with you” was this:

A good sense of humor.

That’s a dead giveaway that the artist will be fun and the class enjoyable.

But it started me thinking…

What if churches added that little note  as a scroll across the bottom of their websites?  “Bring a good sense of humor.”

Doing so would send a message about that church, wouldn’t it?

It would signal that these people do not take themselves too seriously. Yes, they take the things of God with the greatest of seriousness. But not themselves.

Going into the ministry? Bring along a Bible, a theological education, a willingness to work and serve and love, and a good sense of humor. You’ll need them all.

A good sense of humor is needed in all things, particularly in a body like a church. Churches are typically made up of people at every level of maturity and immaturity, spirituality and carnality, where the leaders (the pastor and teachers) have to package their teachings in words and images understandable to everyone. A good sense of humor could make a world of difference.

Funny things are going to happen at your church, whether you like it or not, whether you plan for it or not. So, leaders should stand ready to roll with the punch and to let your funnybone have its moment. Doing so will ease many a rough spot in church relations.

I‘ve told on these pages of the 9-year-old who spoke a word of praise in a worship service that brought the house down. The previous Friday night, the local football team had made a trip 350 miles up the highway to take on the number one ranked high school team in the country and had beaten them decisively. So, that Sunday morning, toward the end of a lackluster service through which much of the congregation had dozed, the leader was giving prayer requests. Then, he said, “Does anyone have a praise report? Something you’re thankful for?” At this point, the kid woke up. He said, in a voice so loud that all could hear, “We kicked Hoover’s butt!” 

It was a wonderful moment. I only wished he’d said that at the start of the service.

Tense moments, hilarious sayings, tech breakdowns, embarrassing incidents, and awkward happenings–hereafter referred to as SGOIC, “stuff going on in church”–are going to come up. It’s just the nature of things. After all, your congregation of a mixture of humanity is going to be doing some things not everyone will like, approve, or understand. The leadership is going to be pushing some program or event that some will not appreciate but which is a necessary part of kingdom work. The sound system will go out, the baptistery will leak, the power will go off, the organ will blast your eardrums into the next county. The kid being baptized will cannon-ball into the water, a member of the choir will trip and take out the row of tenors entering behind him, and a dog will wander into the building.

When that happens, a healthy sense of humor allows leaders to keep it all in perspective, not to be overwhelmed by it, to keep their cool, and hopefully to keep their jobs and fall asleep on schedule that night.

Laughter is the only appropriate response to the SGOIC.

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SOURCE: Crosswalk
Joe McKeever