If Pastors Were More Like Stand-Up Comics

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Preachers and comedians both regularly present original material in front of live audiences on a weekly basis. Despite this similarity, most everything else about these two professions is quite different. But imagine if church leaders had more in common with comics.

  • Every scripture reading would end with a punchline
  • The worship band would stay on hand to deliver occasional rimshots
  • Preachers would have to work on their Moses impersonations
  • Worship set design would always include a plain brick wall for the backdrop
  • Every church would have a sermon series called “What’s the Deal with Airline Food?”
  • The ushers would have to escort out hecklers
  • Pastors who went over their time limit would get played off stage
  • Church set designs would focus mostly on brick walls
  • The two-drink minimum would include the sacramental wine
  • Every sermon would end with a standing ovation instead of a prayer
  • Audience members would get mocked for not adding money to the offering plate

As funny as this might be, it’s not far from the truth for Jonathan Herron, a former comedian and now the lead pastor at Life Church in Michigan. His book, Holy Shift, discusses how churches can use comedy and humor to grow leadership and build an audience.

Truthfully, pastors really could learn a thing or two from comedians. A stand-up comic has to know his audience, be an energetic storyteller and constantly produce new material. All of these are also the mark of a good church communicator.


What are some other similarities between preachers and comedians? How could sermons be funnier?





Robert is one of our regular contributors. He is a communications professional and freelance writer. After serving as communications director at two Atlanta churches, he now works in marketing for Make-A-Wish Georgia. Carnes also volunteers as the social media lead at Vinings Church and contributes to a number of church communications blogs.

Read all posts by Robert.