Does God have a Sense of Humor?

Today’s Chicago Sun-Times has a wonderful story titled “Churches Using Humorous Signs to Spread Gospel.” It talks about how some pastors are putting signs outside their church with messages like, “Under same management for 2000 years,” and “Stop, drop and roll doesn’t work in hell.”

Over the years, I’ve had to communicate crisis communication messages that have been associates with both religious matters and work I’ve done for personal injury attorneys. And in almost all instances, I was never able to use humor, except once as it related to the ACLU warning public schools about using the expression, “Merry Christmas.” For that media announcement I used the message, “The ACLU Grinch Who Wants to Steal Christmas.” 

In the case of working with a personal injury attorney, we positioned him as a consumer advocate with a message about home premises liabilities: “Check the Safety of Your Property for Ghosts and Goblins this Halloween.” So I’m a big advocate of taking touchy subjects like religion and bodily harm and finding a way to bridge your message to the media and public. And I’ve kept in mind three simple rules:
  • Everyone cares about their personal safety and life and death issues. It’s a safe bet; everyone wants to know how to protect themselves now and are curious about what happens to them after they die.
  • Find the justification for the most subjective issues. Life after death? Heaven or hell? The churches mentioned in the Sun-Times article have done a great job of finding messages to get people through their doors. Now, they need to provide the evidence that the gospel of Jesus Christ is real and not a fairy tale.
  • Humor can be a safe way to start the discussion about a more serious matter. As someone who spent many hours in dingy bars working on my stand-up comedy routines at open mics, I can tell you there’s a lot of pain in the lives of comedians. I learned that I could talk to these people about joke structure and then move into more serious personal matters and share my faith. I found myself “preaching” at some colorful night spots.

So whether your message is outside a house of worship or on the home page of your website, keep in mind humor can be the key to reaching people to open discussions on some tough topics.