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I’m sure at some point you have worked on a project for a camp, retreat, or a conference intending it to be funny and then had someone watch it or read it and look you right in the eye only to say…that’s not funny. You immediately take it around to other people on your team and show them and some think it’s funny and some don’t. You begin to think back on all the time you spent creating the project and your stomach gets a little queasy. In that moment you have to decide to scrap the project or push forward with all your hard work.

Funny is hard to measure because it’s completely subjective. Just sit around a room and watch a “funny movie” with a group of people and watch different people respond to different things. Talk to a group of people about your favorite sitcom and listen to them let you know that they don’t like it. It’s just hard to know when something will be funny for your audience.

Funny is hard to measure and that’s what makes using it in the context of ministry all the more adventurous. We know it’s good for people to laugh. We know when people laugh they begin to let their guard down and are open to our message. We also know that when something we think is funny is not funny it has the potential to shut people down mentally. We had this experience with a video series we made for middle school camp this year. The kids really did not like it even though we intended it to be funny. We killed it on the second day. It just was not working.

We need more fun in the ministries we lead! I believe humor is a gift from God, but because it’s a powerful tool we have to use it carefully. Here are some reminders as you create “funny” elements for your environment…

  1. Know your audience and target them // Different age groups need different kind of humor. Take time to learn what makes your target audience really laugh.
  2. Before you invest time to create get feedback on the idea // Seriously, your idea may be gold but it may be terrible. What is funny to you may not work for you team.
  3. Before you use an element in a service get feedback // Feedback can help you know when to use something and in what context. Don’t be afraid of honest feedback.
  4. Have the courage to say no // There are just times when something is funny but it does not belong in the environment you have created. Say no when you need to say no.
  5. Funny demands risk so create with courage // Please please please keep thinking outside the box and create great fun moments in your environments.