You Don’t Need to be Funny. You Need to be Passionate and Dependent.

Monday Preaching Reflections

I have noticed a tendency in many young preachers, church planters, youth pastors, new communicators to embrace an  “I need to be funny” mentality. Listening to them, one get’s the impression that they agonize over how they need to “connect” with people at some “funny-bone” level in order to prove themselves or their message as relevant. 

More often than not, the effort comes off strained and clunky no matter how many giggles and (sometimes) nervous laughter occurs within the congregation. 

There was a time when I went through the same battle in my spirit. I thought that as a communicator of God’s truth, I owed it to my hearers to not be boring and I wrongly supposed that the means to keep that from happening was to be funny. I was wrong. I have been preaching for the better parts of 35 years. I taught preaching at the seminary level for seven years. Here’s my best advice on humor in the pulpit.

  1. Love God;
  2. Love the word of God;
  3. Love God’s people;
  4. Be humble and vulnerable and
    humor will happen naturally, effortlessly and effectively.

Fall deeply in love with God, wrestle with the text. Be malleable to the Spirit of God. Let God develop in you what the Puritans called “a blood-earnestness” about what his word says and what the gospel of the Kingdom demands and, AS A RESULT, your preaching will be relevant, inspiring and and productive for the glory of Christ and will contribute mightily to the equipping of the saints. And, humor, appropriate to the message, will creep into the messages.

Get back to your study. Get down on your knees and stop obsessing over “how can I make them laugh.”

One thought on “You Don’t Need to be Funny. You Need to be Passionate and Dependent.

  1. Pastor Marty;
    I agree with what you say here. I had visited a church a few years past and a preacher during “prayer” felt the need to be funny as he was praying. For me it was uncomfortable as I am one that believes being funny during prayer is not necessary. To me I believe we are to be serious and vuneralbe before the Lord and joking during prayer is not being that.
    Thank You,


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