The concert the other night was at a local church. And there was that moment, like at all church concerts, when the preacher comes out and makes some type of gospel presentation. He didn't encourage walking the aisle or anything (thankfully), but he did have the crowd rolling as he tried to convey the truth. Really funny guy.
But there was one little joke/story in the middle of what he said that made me realize that he was about to lose everyone. He had us laughing and thinking, and then he didn't know when to stop. I was distracted because he told one too many jokes.
Why do preachers strive to be funny? The only thing I could think positively about humor is that it breaks down barriers and gets people to listen. And the reason a preacher would need to use humor is because he is speaking to people he doesn't really know.
The pastor at the concert was talking to many who were not members or attenders of his church, and for us the humor did work to get us to listen. So his humor is understandable.
But don't we know of preachers who are week-in and week-out funny? Humor seems to be a huge part of their approach. My thought: they must not know their people very well. There must be a barrier that must be crossed to get them to listen. Yeah, I know it can be other things, like people want to be entertained or whatever. But I think my point is still true, humor in "the pulpit" is so popular because relationships are not, because love is not obvious enough.
Though it seems to "work," is humor really necessary and helpful to open ears? Didn't Peter in Acts 2 use the crowd's questions about tongues and accusations about the sin of the crowd to break down barriers?
I think we need a real discussion among pastors to see if humor isn't a bandaid on a bigger problem, because my dad doesn't need to tell me a joke before he gives me advice. I'm always listening because I know he loves me.