Thursday, May 21, 2009

Humor and Church Health

From my dissertation:

As discussed above, humor can aid in building relationships. Because of this, it is no surprise that a significant relationship exists between humor and vitality in a Christian faith community (Schwarz 36-7). Participants in participating churches were asked to respond "true" or "false" to the following statement: "There is a lot of laughter in our church." Sixty-eight percent of participants in "high-quality" growing churches responded "true." Only thirty-three percent of participants in "low-quality" declining churches responded "true" to the same phrase (36-7). In a study of how apostolic churches reach secular people, one of the principles of an outreach focused church was to speak the language of the people (Hunter Church for the Unchurched 161-2). A church or a preacher neglecting humor is not speaking an important genre of the English language. Humor is a gift that first belongs to the church (Wiersbe 275). Healthy churches are led by healthy leaders. Leaders need a sense of humor to be able to understand, cope, and live through disappointments, failures, and surprises (Jones 33). Thriving teams enjoy each and laugh together (Groeschel 77-8). Sacred humor is one of God's gifts to humanity and can be offered as one of humanity's gifts to God in worship and in building relational solidarity among people.

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