When God led us to start New Vintage Church, we resolved to keep it fun. We wanted laughter to be commonplace. Our staff meetings are characterized by laughter–lots of it. We love to make fun of one another and be made fun of. We regularly enjoy watching/listening to comedy and tend to find what’s funny in nearly every situation. We love to make humorous videos to illustrate message concepts or make announcements. We. Love. To. Laugh.

Mission? That is always to be taken seriously–and we do at NVC. In fact, we can take it so seriously we need laughter all the more. Mission is better pursued with laughter. It keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously–while we take God’s mission seriously.

Without fail, whenever I’ve traveled as a speaker/consultant outside of my church home, I’ve noticed a correlation between laughter and church health. Churches that don’t laugh much (or where laughter is discouraged) tend to have more conflict and more fragile community than those comfortable with laughter.

Here are four reasons to keep church fun:

1. Having fun together builds community. Praying together, serving together, mourning together, worshiping together–all of these help bond Christians to one another. So does laughter. Having fun together connects people in a way nothing else can.

2. It enhances your church’s “friendliness.” People like flying Southwest because they are obviously having fun as they go about their job. Here’s a question: Do people who visit your church leave sensing your people like each other? They will grant you love each-other for a while because they assume Christians love one another. Like? That’s another matter. Who wants to join a community that doesn’t like each other?

3. Providing opportunities for laughter is a form of pastoral care. Have you ever heard someone say, after laughing, “Oh…I needed that.” Life is extremely heavy these days. We need to remember that, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov. 17:22). In it’s own way, laughter feeds cheerfulness of heart. If joy (a prominent theme in Scripture) is a Fruit of the Spirit, perhaps laughter can be thought of as a fruit of joy.

4. Laughter as witness. Wouldn’t it be something if we could say:

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, 
   our tongues with songs of joy. 
Then it was said among the nations, 
   “The LORD has done great things for them.” 
The LORD has done great things for us, 
   and we are filled with joy.” (Psalms 126:2-3)

I know the humor police may be nearby, exclaiming, “What about lament?” “Worship isn’t about entertainment,” and other things. So, let’s add our caveats here. Obviously lament has it’s place, and of course worship isn’t about ‘entertainment’ (whatever one means by that). However, having been to hundreds of churches, I’ve never seen one where laughter had an inappropriate place. I’ve been to many in which it had virtually none.

Laughter is a good thing. It’s a godly thing. It will bless your church.

Note: D.J. Iverson, Youth Minister at New Vintage Church, created the ad above for our forthcoming Nerf War Youth Ministry event. The elderly lady pictured is Mae. She attends New Vintage and, yes, the photo is real. When April comes…she’s going down in Nerf War.