Pssst… I want to tell you a secret. It’s a secret I rediscovered early on during the chaos of 2020. It’s a secret that saved me. I mean it. As a senior pastor, consultant, and father of four children, I needed energy. More than I had. More than I could seem to find. Until I rediscovered what I’m about to share with you.
The really cool thing about my secret is… it’s fun.
That’s it! That’s the secret. FUN.
I make my ministry fun.
I make work fun.
I convert household chores into fun.
It’s like the day I discovered black soy sauce. I put that stuff on everything now!
(Author’s Note: If you haven’t experienced the sweet, sticky yumminess of black soy sauce, stop reading this blog right now and google it. Better yet, go order it from Amazon right now and then come back to this blog. No need to send me messages of thanks. I’m sending you a preemptive “You’re welcome.”)
What was I saying? Oh yeah! Fun! I put that on EVERYTHING – and it gives me more energy than any caffeine infusion ever did.
If you, too, could use some more energy in your days, let me share three quick ways to add fun to any ministry, task, or situation.
- Be silly.
This isn’t for every person and every situation but having a little silly in your ministry is often a gift to others.
- Wear a fake moustache or silly hat to your next meeting.
- Invent a secret phrase that you and a few others have to use at least 3 times in your next meeting.
- Wear something really ugly and secretly enjoy everyone’s reactions.
- Record a 15-minute video of your standard Zoom background view but at the 14-minute mark, poke your head into the frame for 5 seconds. Then use that video as a virtual background in your next Zoom meeting.
*If you need more silly ideas, ask that one friend you have. You know who they are.
- Pregame or postgame your fun.
Let’s face it – there are a lot of things in ministry that are not inherently fun. And if you try to add fun to these not-fun things, it won’t work. It just won’t.
For example, I can’t affect a southern accent and wear an oversized cowboy hat to officiate at a funeral. (Trust me. I live in the midwest. That move does not go well!) I can, however, take time before or after an energy-depleting task to insert some fun. For me, singing along to my favorite music in the car with animated enthusiasm is easy to insert between appointments. For you, it could be a simple 15-minute diversion of coloring, dancing, or teaching yourself juggling. The purposeful insertion of fun just before or after energy-depleting ministry can be a sort of quick charge for your ministry battery.
- Just ask.
The next time you are planning a church event with others, just ask the question “How could we make this more fun?” The great thing about this approach is that you don’t have to come up with the fun all by yourself. You’re outsourcing the fun! It also communicates the value of fun in our ministry work – and that we all need it. Fun ministry is more attractive to the people we serve, probably because it energizes them, too. And, if you are planning something alone, just call up that same fun friend who has the best silly suggestions and ask them how to add some fun to your event.
I once heard fun described as “active Sabbath.” Fun is an action that gives you rest. We have a lot of work ahead of us to be the Church in the coming summer and fall. You could likely use some rest embedded in your work. You could likely use a new way to recharge your batteries. You could likely use some fun. (And maybe some black soy sauce too! That stuff is so good!)
Reverend Rob Dyer is Senior Pastor at First United Presbyterian Church of Belleville, IL. Rob has spent the last several years working in the areas of community missions and leadership development in southern Illinois. He has worked at both the local church levels as well at the regional level bringing churches, businesses, service agencies, and individuals together for addressing hunger and homeless issues. Before becoming a pastor, Rob had a successful career as a software developer and manager working with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. And many years before that, he was an NCAA college mascot. He is used to organizing large numbers of people for transformative experiences, even if it means putting on a tiger costume. Rob lives in Belleville, IL with his brilliant and supportive wife, Sarah, and their four children.