It’s Time for Some Pastoral Laughter for a Change

Why you should enter the pulpit with a smile.

I know, I know—“ministry is serious business.” If I hear that one more time, I think I’ll gag. I fully realize that too much humor can be irritating, even offensive.

By BerLin (Nikon) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I recognize that it can be taken to such an extreme that it is inappropriate. But doesn’t it seem we have a long way to go before we are guilty of that problem?

I think so.

The final result of a joyless existence is as follows:

  • Sad
  • A superhigh-level intensity
  • Borderline neurotic anxiety
  • An absence of just plain fun in one’s work
  • A lack of relaxation
  • The tendency to take ourselves much too seriously

Each of us may be a conservative minister, but do we really have to look like one? Always so serious? We need to lighten up! Yes, spirituality and fun do go well together.

Scripture speaks directly to this issue, you know—especially the Proverbs:

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. (Proverbs 15:13)

Amazing how that proverb goes right to the heart of the problem (no pun intended). We’re not talking about a person’s face here as much as we are about the heart. Internal joy goes public. We can’t hide it. The face takes its cue from an inside signal.

Where Your Face Gets its Cues

A well-developed sense of humor reveals a well-balanced personality.

Maladjusted people show a far greater tendency to miss the point in a funny remark. They take jokes personally. They take things that are meant to be enjoyable much too seriously. The ability to get a laugh out of everyday situations is a safety valve. It rids us of tensions and worries that could otherwise damage our health.

It’s also a healthy part of your pulpit ministry. Take it from one who knows: your congregation wants to hear you laugh more often!

As you enter the pulpit this Sunday, take a smile with you. Better still, a laugh. You think I’m exaggerating? If so, maybe you’ve forgotten another proverb:

A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Isn’t that eloquent? Literally, it says, “A joyful heart causes healing.” What is it that brings healing to the emotions . . . and healing to the soul? A joyful heart.

When the heart is right, a joyful countenance accompanies it!

What do you think? Do you laugh in the pulpit? You can tell me by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Linda Thrower

    Excellent words to live by …it’s my favorite vitamin and preventative medicine that keeps me healthy, level-headed, and frankly sane. The ability to laugh and find the joy in everyday life….who knew? It’s advice that we want to encourage in everyone.
    Have a joyful day,

  • jim carlin md

    it was 1950-pleasant retreat church outside tyler tx-dad’s first church after a long hospitalization and a yr sabbatical to write a masters thesis-the worst freeze devistated the 5th yr of a rose crop-nurseries lost billions-
    dad told the official board that if they cut the salery the church would never get a perminent pastor-stewardship sunday was difficult-a woman sitting behind mom handed mom a linnen handerchief to put in the offering-mom opened it-a 50 centpiece was inside-it was all the couple had-that year i learned the meaning of unconditional giving.

  • jim carlin md

    nothing new will come into my life
    till i am grateful for what i have
    thanks chuck for all your words

  • I laugh as often as I can and try to get the folks to laugh with me. It does the heart good.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Bill. So few pastors laugh out loud! Thanks for hold up your end of the body of Christ. 🙂