Years ago, I’d get in trouble for laughing in church. Now I get to write things to try to make everyone else laugh in church. Don’t tell me Jesus doesn’t love irony. Here at GCC, our leaders and arts team truly believe in the power of comedy to connect people, ease tension on tough topics and, most importantly, open up hearts and minds so they’re ready to receive the truth of the gospel. Here are seven quick tips and examples that might help you get that combover-sporting, easily offended, scowl-wearing elder to loosen up and let that potluck potbelly shake like God intended.
1.) Hyperbole – Exaggerated characters make it safe to call attention to behaviors that are outside the character of Christ. Sample: Our leaders wanted to call attention to how our culture is tribal and has made sports and entertainment our new religion. They longed to help our people move from just a “fan” of Jesus to a fully committed follower. So in the fall at the height of college football (we live in Notre Dame-ville), we developed a series called “Not a Fan”. This piece “Fansanonymous” was written with exaggerated characters to illustrate some of the concepts in the series.
2.) Fish Out of Water – Place a character in a scene where he is out of his comfort zone and trying to figure out his place. This is a common comedy technique you’ve seen in several films like “Mr. Mom”, “Big”, “Elf” etc. Everyone chooses a character to “ego-identify” with in a scene. This is a vehicle for helping people discover the truth of what the speaking pastor is trying to deliver. In this sample, we were doing a family series and were aware that single people often feel left out when we address topics on marriage and parenting. One of our teaching pastors is single and wanted to devote a weekend to letting single people know that they are valued, that the church is their home, and that family comes in many forms. He also wanted to help married people understand that singleness is not a state to be corrected or looked down upon. Thus—“The Single Guy.”