One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel messing with the prophets of Ba’al. In a prophetic cage match, Elijah is incredibly sarcastic saying things like, “Scream louder…maybe your god is asleep…or using the bathroom.” That’s funny.
There are other examples of humor in the Bible…from wordplay to images. And the Bible itself has lots to say about laughter.
So why are so many church services laugh-less? Why do so many sermons never make people smile?
You might not be the a comedian, but here are some reasons you should work hard to add laughter to your sermons and church services.
1. Humor disarms people. When people laugh, they put down their defenses. And when they unfold their arms, they engage a little more. That’s a good thing.
2. Humor engages men. If you want to reach men, tell funny stores or share some good jokes. You don’t have to turn your sermon into a Comedy Central special, but adding some fun will engage guys. If you think that’s superficial, you don’t know how men think.
3. Humor builds bridges and helps you find common ground. One of the best things you can do in your sermon is find common ground with your audience. People in the church don’t think you live a real life anyway, so when you find funny things in common situations, you show how you can relate.
4. Humor covers mistakes. Let’s face it…there are going to mistakes in the flow of the church service. Things won’t appear on the screen at the right time. Learn how make light of some things.
5. People love to laugh. People come to church with a lot on their mind, and while every message doesn’t lend itself to laughter, talking about hope and grace and Jesus ought to be a positive thing. Weave appropriate humor into your message and make people happy they went to church.
6. Laughter is a welcomed surprise in church. Anytime you can surprise and delight people, it’s a good thing. Since people don’t really expect to laugh or have a good time in church, you can exceed their expectations with a little laughter.
Witty comments, intentionally told jokes, sarcasm, stories, light-heartedness, making fun of yourself, funny pictures, laughable quotes – all of these things can add humor to your message.