These are my notes from the first half of the 3rd main session (each main session was actually two totally different talks) at the Orange Tour in Austin. This session was a dialogue between Reggie Joiner (founder of Orange) and the comedy duo Tripp and Tyler.
I’m going to try and write this in the first person to make it more readable, but this entire post is a paraphrase of the session from the Orange Tour.
So often in church-world, we feel we need to defend the idea of fun in church settings, but if you look at the language used in the Psalms of how people relate to God, it’s fun language.
Scripture doesn’t make excuses for having fun. It’s casually mentioned as a part of our relationship with God. When you look at how we relate to other people, here’s the reality:
HERE ARE FOUR REASONS FUN IS IMPORTANT IN MINISTRY:
1) Fun Convinces Kids That You Actually Like Them
So often in ministry, we have fun for outreach events but, when it comes to weekly ministries, we’re very serious. It’s almost a bait and switch. If you’re an outsider, we want to have fun with you but, as soon as you’re on the inside, the fun stops.
So often, we’re taught that we’re supposed to love people, but we’re not taught how to like them. We enjoy and have fun with the people we like.
Kids won’t think we love them unless they think we like them. They won’t think we like them if we don’t play with them. – Reggie Joiner
2) Fun Connects What Has Been Disconnected
Fun breaks down walls! It just does.
So often in church we push people away, and create sides and divisions. Whether debating politics, theology, denominations, or the color of the rug, we find ways to divide. However, in comedy clubs, everyone connects through laughter. In a movie theater, you see an incredibly diverse crowd all connect through laughter.
When you have fun with people it breaks down barriers, and creates commonality!
3) Fun Fosters Resilience
Fun reminds us that there is something beyond the suffering and trials of day to day life. More so than ever we are exposed to the pain of this world. Technology gives us limitless access to the suffering happening across the globe. Fun gives hope! There is more to this world than the negative.
They shared a story of a time they received a letter titled, “Your comedy saved my life.” Which was unexpected because most people don’t start doing comedy to save people’s lives. In the letter, a woman recalled the story of how her husband had passed away, and she couldn’t escape the cycle of constantly replaying the images in her mind. Then, she discovered Tripp and Tyler on YouTube. The thing which helped her escape repeating her husband’s suffering was their comedy. It reminded her that there is more to life than the bad.
Laughter is an instant vacation – Milton Berle When Tyler referenced this quote, he was very clear that he is not a quote guy!
4) Fun Authenticates Forgiveness
There is a very obvious tension in the room when there are two people who are at odds with one another. Sometimes it’s so thick that things become unbearable. When there is someone you truly haven’t forgiven, it’s hard to have fun with that person. Which is why when you reverse this scenario, fun authenticates forgiveness.
One of the most powerful things you can do after someone fails and needs forgiveness is have fun with them. It affirms the forgiveness.